This article will explain what a user experience agency does. What is usability testing, and what does user experience testing (ux research) look like?

What is user experience?

The term user experience can be understood quite literally, as the combined experiences of a user. The term is usually mentioned in the context of digital products, software, applications and various systems. It can also be used to refer to issues of improving the usability of products and spaces in the real world. Synonymous with the term user experience are phrases like usability, functionality and optimization. User Experience is quite a voluminous field that encompasses not only purely designer activities but also optimization tasks, workshops and tests. All of these UX activities and activities are aimed at improving, optimizing, but also standardizing a given digital product or process, in a way that allows users to navigate the given environment freely, in an understandable and informed manner.

What does a user experience agency do?

The agency researches, analyses and optimises user processes and digital products. A user experience agency has in its resources both a set of specialists, designers and the relevant specialist tools for ux research, usability testing and the design of optimised user processes and scenarios. We can divide these in general terms into:

Non-material tools:

  • applications supporting organizing workshops and surveys (shared documents, spreadsheets, calendars for example: Google Workspace)
  • applications supporting conducting of research and surveys (Miro, Figjam, and also Google Workspace)
  • software for designers (Figma, Sketch, Adobe suite, Axure RP)

Material tools:

  • a research room equipped with whiteboards, cameras and sound recorders
  • specialised recording tools: eyetracking glasses, motion cameras, mobile eyetracking glasses, sound recorders.
  • a pen and a notebook 🙂

Does the user experience agency do usability testing?

The user experience agency designs, plans and conducts usability tests. Usability tests are a crucial user-centred research technique. They aim to verify how a user uses a particular system, process or application. In opposition to usability tests are expert tests and audits, which are carried out by specialists in a particular industry, without the use of target users. A user experience agency can carry out both usability tests and expert audit.

Does the user experience agency do user experience research?

Certainly, the agency carries out different types of research, depending on the type of product and the company’s target group, system or application. We can divide user experience research into quantitative research, e.g., CAWI web surveys and street surveys, and qualitative research, e.g., IDI unstructured interviews and focus group interviews.

What are the credentials of a user experience agency?

The user experience agency in its core offering should have the following:

  • research skills and workshop-presentation competencies, 
  • competence in developing and implementing a user experience strategy in the client’s organisation or project,
  • competence in recommending and setting up the production pipeline for a project,
  • competence in designing static prototypes (Wireframe, Low Fidelity) and clickable prototypes (High Fidelity, User Stories),
  • skills for designing User Interfaces, i.e. intuitive and modern user interfaces in digital products,
  • skills for designing identification and navigation in real-world spaces, e.g. cities, public buildings.
Core competencies of user experience agencies

What is important when selecting a user experience agency?

When selecting a user experience agency to optimise, research or create a product from scratch, in addition to the business and financial aspects, it will be worth looking at the following elements:

  1. Readability and understanding of the agency’s website. If the agency has a website that you don’t understand and find unreadable, then it is likely that your product will ultimately take a similar shape.
  2. Full range of competencies. If an agency does not have a dedicated department or specialists in the core competencies described above then it is likely that your product will not be executed with full responsibility and it is unclear what the end result will be.
  3. Portfolio and client level. It is a good idea for the agency you start working with to have a portfolio of deliverables and Clients that inspire your confidence. An agency does not necessarily need to have a folio of realisations from your industry. Often when an agency enters a new industry it experiences the first time and this is where the best insights and innovations are born.
  4. The level of knowledge and experience of the professionals. When entering into a relationship with a user experience agency, it is worth asking for a list of specialists along with their BIO and CV to verify their level of expertise. It is worth paying attention to completed design studies, courses, language skills and the most advanced project on which the specialist has worked.