Think about a situation by which your organization should quickly redesign its cell app to incorporate AI options like picture recognition, customer support chatbots, and residential screens tailor-made to person preferences. Nevertheless, your funds is tight, and your in-house designer hasn’t labored with AI options. Coaching shall be costly and time-consuming, and can distract your designer from their core duties.
Given your timeline and restricted funds, you resolve to rent a contract designer who focuses on AI and has intensive expertise implementing the options you want. When the freelancer joins your workforce, they apply learnings from earlier tasks and rapidly ship a research-informed prototype. After a quick technique of testing and iteration, the brand new options go dwell, and the challenge concludes on schedule and beneath funds. This isn’t a dream—I’ve seen eventualities like this play out for 15 years as a contract UI/UX designer, throughout which I’ve partnered with numerous shoppers akin to Royal Financial institution of Canada, Xello, and Rocket Houses Actual Property. I’ve additionally been a part of a number of time-sensitive, cash-strapped tasks requiring specialised abilities and insights. It’s all the time inspiring and gratifying when my work positively influences my shoppers’ merchandise and their in-house designers.
As extra extremely expert staff flip to freelancing, enterprise leaders are seeing that productiveness and creativity improve once they work with impartial expertise. Let’s look at three of the most important advantages that freelance designers can carry to your organization.
1. Entry to Rising and Specialised Abilities
Freelance designers are inclined to work on quite a few tasks and sometimes purchase new abilities to handle their shoppers’ extremely particular design issues. Stewart Pressney, Toptal’s Design Matching Crew Lead, says that entry to specialised abilities is without doubt one of the principal advantages of hiring freelance designers. Based on Pressney, impartial consultants are particularly efficient when corporations carry them on for various levels of the design course of. “You’ll be able to have somebody who’s nice at ideating and developing with ideas cross their concepts off to somebody who’s good at implementing and creating pixel-perfect designs,” he says.
Freelancers are additionally a superb selection for exploring cutting-edge traits and know-how. For example, you may rent a freelance illustrator who focuses on 3D modeling and rendering to create photos that make your digital content material extra compelling and simpler to know. Or you could possibly have interaction a freelance UX designer so as to add AR/VR options to your e-commerce app.
Take into account generative AI brokers like OpenAI’s ChatGPT: These applied sciences have immense potential to remodel digital services and products for the higher, however in the event you’re at a startup or small firm, you could wrestle to draw design expertise with AI abilities. In such instances, impartial expertise can be a terrific technique to fill the abilities hole and reap the pace, effectivity, and customization AI affords.
2. Elevated Innovation and Creativity
For corporations of any measurement, numerous views are important in discovering efficient options. As Toptal product designer Eric Müller Moreno says, outsiders have “extra freedom and openness to speak about harsh truths,” including that impartial specialists can uncover organizational inefficiencies which will have hindered earlier design efforts. Having consulted on product improvement and design technique for Common Music Group, Deloitte, and the United Nations, he has the uncommon perspective of an business veteran who has partnered with organizations of all sizes.
For example, Moreno was employed by a subsidiary of a distinguished media model to refine the dwell beta of its robo-investment app for buying shares and ETFs. The app costs customers based mostly on the funding kits they select. When Moreno got here to the challenge, there was an MVP and a small person neighborhood, however the display screen group was clumsy, and the app supplied restricted decisions for investing. Most of all, it didn’t replicate the maturity and distinction of the guardian model.
In some methods, the answer was hidden in plain view. “What I made a decision to do was, actually, simply comply with the [parent company’s] model information,” Moreno says. “There was good work accomplished. It was fairly concise … we simply wanted to raise it.”
To do this, the workforce developed subscription-based funding kits. Customers may choose from a number of funding methods, unfold their investments throughout sectors and fund sorts, and resolve what proportion of their portfolio they wished allotted to every. The app’s algorithms then monitored and managed the portfolio, leveraging an AI agent to make sure diversification and safety towards draw back dangers.
The challenge started as a beauty intervention, however Moreno’s perception into the subscription fashions of SaaS merchandise outdoors the fintech sector elevated it to a brand new degree. His wide-ranging design experiences knowledgeable new options, together with thematic buying and selling choices, an funding dashboard, monetary purpose setting, and an improved onboarding move. And, the choice to carry better transparency to the fee mannequin contributed to a 144% improve in income per person, a 275% improve in belongings beneath administration progress, and a 40% improve in total product progress.
3. Value Financial savings
One purpose corporations may hesitate to rent freelance designers is perceived value. At face worth, an impartial expertise’s hourly price seems greater than an worker’s. However corporations hiring freelancers don’t need to pay for 401(ok) plans, well being and incapacity insurance coverage, parental and medical go away, inventory choices, or efficiency bonuses. Moreover, most freelance designers work remotely on a per-project foundation, which means corporations can theoretically additionally get monetary savings through the use of smaller workplaces and never paying underutilized full-time workers throughout lulls within the product improvement course of.
Companies also can rent impartial specialists to fill short-term roles which are sometimes carried out by high-earning workers. For instance, Jake Kahana, a Toptal model designer, just lately partnered with an actual property company on an app design challenge that wanted to be accomplished rapidly. The company lacked the funds for a full-time artistic director, however Kahana gave the corporate the strategic management perspective it wanted at a price that labored for its funds. Overseeing a workforce of junior designers, he directed a fast-tracked effort to get the app up and operating whereas constructing belief among the many company’s shoppers that the design imaginative and prescient was grounded in enterprise objectives. Kahana entered the function with vetted experience and effectively delivered an answer the company wouldn’t have been capable of afford in any other case.
Select the Proper Freelance Designer for Your Subsequent Challenge
Whether or not you want a graphic designer, UX researcher, or AI specialist, the advantages of hiring freelance designers are clear: Companies that achieve this are capable of leverage the nuanced abilities of design professionals who carry recent views to tasks—whereas retaining prices in examine. The designers, in the meantime, get to be extra intentional in forging their profession paths, having access to numerous and significant alternatives that may speed up their skilled progress. It’s a win-win state of affairs.
“As an impartial designer, you get alternatives to see totally different corporations, totally different organizations, and other ways of doing issues. You’re capable of be reactive in a means an in-house particular person won’t be. Professionally, I’ve had entry to tasks I by no means imagined I might have had,” Moreno says, pointing to his latest work on an AI-powered database for the United Nations. “If you do one thing like that, it actually offers you a way of goal.”