How to write a great request for proposal (RFP) for UX design (w/Example Template!)

Entrepreneurship

Authors

Mario Stipetic

Introduction

Writing a great request for proposal (RFP) for UX design can be a demanding process. Making the right choice on hiring a quality UX design agency drastically increases chances of the success of the whole project. Every project is different but there are some general rules that can apply to any project RFP.

We presented the most common UX RFP rules as we see them from our design agency experience. We constantly receive RFPs for UX design and we can tell you there is a huge difference between them. Some of them really stand out in the sense of provided data and precisely defined project characteristics needed for the successful design.

Is RFP always needed?

For the best results, RFP will be needed in most of the cases, because it allows the most detailed comparison of the competing agencies. You can also select an agency based on their website presentation or by word of mouth but we recommend that you implement at least basic elements mentioned in this article.

General remarks about a good RFP

There are some points that every client should have in mind:

  • Sending RFP to various agencies – It is always good to have various options and opinions about the product
  • Simplicity - It is not expected from the client to know every detail of the wanted UX design. Agency should know the technical aspect of the product.
  • Clear goals – Purpose and target users of the product should be specified.
  • Expected problems and limitations – It is highly recommended to have solutions for the most often issues.
  • Honesty – Clients with existing websites should honestly evaluate them by pointing out specific problems they want to sort out.
  • Personality – RFP should consistently represent the client's personality. This way agency gets the impression about the client and their possible future relationship.

Characteristics of a good RFP

Good RFP should include:

1. Project outline

2. Basic client information

3. Main problems

4. Main goals

5. The extent of the project

6. The exact areas of work

7. Sitemap

8. Timeline

9. Functional prerequisites

10. Budget

11. Vendor selection criteria

1. Project outline

It is a good way to start with an outline. It should have basic information about the client, including problems, goals and the reason for sending an RFP. This can be, for example, an outdated design that prevents customers from purchasing products.

2. Basic client information

This information should include concise information about current client's business and about the client's history. This is usually the client's business branch, common users, products and/or services.

3. Main problems

Problems should be clearly specified. Both the client's and customer's perspective should be included. This can be, for example, lack of multiplatform support that prevents users from purchasing products from their mobile devices.

4. Main goals

Main goals are the essence of RFP. It is important that they are specified from the very start in order to obtain results. This can be, for example, improved UX design that will bring more customers to the website and encourage them to purchase products.

5. The extent of the project

It defines the area of the whole planned project. It is good to have it defined in this stage, in order to help the agency avoid unnecessary tasks. This can be, for example, the client's website UX design.

6. The exact areas of work

The client cannot have all the technical knowledge to specify every detail of the project but it is useful to specify the areas of work as exact as possible. This can be, for example, prototype design for the new website.

7. Sitemap

A sitemap is a chart of the website. It is important to make it well so it is simple and intuitive for users to use it. Clear idea about the website's content will lead to better UX solutions. It can look something like this: Homepage, About, Our work, Shop, Blog, Contact.

8. Timeline

Timeline specifies important dates in the progress of the product. It is, of course, the date when the project must be finished but also the project's milestones. For example, the first wireframe of the mobile app must be finished by the May 31, and final UI prototype by the July 1.

9. Functional prerequisites

This is the crucial section of RFP because it contains technical necessities of a product. Here, again, the client doesn't have to know all the functional prerequisites but it is important that he provides the guidelines for the agency. For example, the client wants to include emails but he doesn't know which integration to choose.

10. Budget

Every serious RFP should include a budget. Price range gives the agency the opportunity to assess the assignment realistically which results in the proper solutions. It also saves the client's time and effort on agencies beyond his budget. For example, the budget for the client's new website is between $50,000 - $60,000 but it should also include maintenance for the following year.

11. Vendor selection criteria

It is important to include vendor selection criteria because it gives the agency a clear vision of the expected expertise. For example, the most important norm can be an agency's experience in eCommerce.

Selection Criteria

Some of the potential most important selection criteria in UX design is:
1. Niche experience
2. Work quality
3. Services list
4. Timescales
5. Overall presentation
6. Initial communication quality
7. Timescales
8. Budget
9. Online feedbacks (clutch.co)

Conclusion

Great request for proposal (RFP) is the output of the meticulous preparation. Clients that follow guidelines and adjust them to their needs will likely find the right vendor for their project. Big limitation here can be the budget but this can also be alleviated by the good RFP preparation and clever choosing of the appropriate vendor for the specific project. There are also some external factors that can greatly slow the design process. Sometimes quality UX design agencies are too busy and their clients must wait for some time for their requests to be fulfilled. Time is, of course, precious for every client because of the constantly increasing competition so this can be a big problem. Although RFP sometimes requires some serious commitment, it will highly likely pay off in the end.

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