This week in ux-clinic: in-house vs. outsource UX
This week in the ux-clinic discussion group:
My UX group consists of 7 designers and a manager. In the last year our company has found new work with more front-end design. So we need new talent but they’re hard to find.
Currently we use freelance designers significantly – they are willing to do extra work (they’re usually not booked 100% and work on weekends), seldom complain about planning, don’t ask for any educational budget, time for internal meetings or complain about company design process.
Now, among our project managers the question has risen why we don’t continue hiring external designers instead of finding additional internal staff.
Who has faced this situation before and can tell me how they dealt with this?
– Signed, An “innie” in an “outie” org
A couple of years ago we faced a similar dilemma. Now we oursource all our design work among about 5-10 feelance designers (outies) / design firms, and maintain as staff of about 4 information architects. (innies)
It really comes down to what you feel comforatable oursourcing. We found that graphic designers are easier to find and easy to outsource work to, and manage, since work can be “parcelled”. IA work involves more client facing meetings, discussions and strategy, so it’s not really conducive to oursourcing and maintaining quality. It tends to be more involved and “messy”.
For me the differentiator decding if the company should use innies or rather outies is “number of versions” factor. If the project is a single version develop-implement-forget all of mentioned advantages play their role and there isn’t much on the other side. However if you plan to have another version you’ll probably need some changes in graphics also. And, let me guess, you’ll want to have it created with the same style, so you’ll want the same team of designers. With outsourced one you’ll face some issues with lack of time of your outie designers or even lack of interest in continuing the project. Of course you still can choose outsourcing scenario, but just calculate the risk before.
Personally, I prefer to have it under control, so I’d choose rather innies. With outie the only cards you have in the game is financial and eventually future partnership. With your own team there’re much more options.