Web design company in Dubai - how to choose the best one? A practical guide

Do you know the 15-second rule? It says that if you can’t grab someone’s attention on your website in the first 15 seconds, they will simply leave. According to HubSpot research, as many as 55% of web visitors leave a website in under a quarter of a minute. This means that if you want to create a valuable digital product (like a web app or mobile app), it has to represent an extraordinary quality of web design. It needs the “wow” effect!

How do you find a web design company in Dubai able to provide such designs?

The biggest difficulties of web design companies in Dubai

Let’s start with a status check and look at some of the biggest, most common issues for the Dubai web design market .

Not enough skilled designers

There are many web design companies in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and throughout the whole Middle East region. Most web design companies in Dubai use local talent and are focused more on the software development element of building web products. Based on our experiences working with Middle East companies (based in UAE but also Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar), we noticed that in most cases the design comes from frontend or backend developers. Is that so wrong? Many frontend developers definitely possess graphic design skills; they are extremely helpful on a daily basis. However, it shouldn’t be their main role, just like web designers shouldn’t focus too much on web development.

If you want to see the real difference between a web designer (or to be more specific, digital product designer) and a web developer, read our article “Web design vs. web development. What’s the difference?”.

But there’s also another problem with web design or software development companies in Dubai. Many are outsourcing some of their work to offshore countries, like India. This solution might cause some problems with the product sooner or later. While outsourcing is a great business tool to work smarter, more agile and within limited deadlines and budgets, so-called “white labeling” is highly problematic. What is “white labeling” in the app development context?

White labeling in app development

The practice of white labelling means that one company is outsourcing work to another company. How does that influence the final product? Imagine that you decided to sign a contract to build an app, but your contractor is outsourcing some parts of the work to another company, country or even continent. This situation can cause the following problems:

  • You lose control of the design creation or development process.
  • Passing on feedback takes twice longer than it should.
  • Communication on a daily basis is ineffective and full of misunderstandings.
  • There are problems with responsibilities and unclear roles.

In effect, the quality of the software and design is far from being satisfactory.

How can you recognize a web design contractor that might be using white labeling? Pay extra attention if:

  • You can’t meet your dedicated team or its members personally (face to face or through web tools).
  • You are unable to contact team members directly.
  • You can’t be involved in regular meetings (e.g daily scrum meetings).

White labeling is not the only problem when looking for a web design company in Dubai and the Middle East.

Freelancers rarely make the difference

Many companies based in the Emirates, or Middle East in general, tend to choose freelance designers to work with them on their web or mobile apps. This solution is popular, mostly for economic reasons. It’s very hard to find an excellent graphic designer in the region, as the talent pool is limited. It’s a general problem of the region; you can read more about the talent shortage in this article: “Software company in Dubai - how to choose one?

While working with freelancers is usually cheaper than headhunting and hiring talent, this solution has some limitations as well:

  • You have little to no influence on the work’s progress.
  • Freelancers are usually working on many projects at the same time, so they’re not exclusively focused on your app or web platform.
  • The freelancer problems with meeting deadlines is a stereotype, but … this stereotype is actually pretty true.
  • Their legal liability is often very limited.
  • They usually don’t feel personally attached or dedicated to the final success of the product they’re working on.

What is especially alarming is that multiple times we, as Boldare, were hired to finish designing a product after it was abandoned by a freelance graphic designer. It’s not necessarily common, but it happens.

That doesn’t mean that you should never work with freelancers! There are plenty of professional and talented experts who can bring a lot of value to your company, project or app. However, in most cases hiring them won’t be the cheapest solution.

Why do you need THE BEST design and what are UX and UI?

It seems that finding a good web design company in Dubai or the MENA region is quite complicated and you need to put a lot of effort to find the most suitable one. So, maybe it’s not worth doing? Maybe good design is not worth all the effort you have to put in to finding a good design company?

First of all, let’s define what “design” really is.

By “design” we usually mean the way the product looks, the aesthetics. Does it feel good to look at it, does it encourage the user to play with the app, and most importantly, does it help to achieve the business goals of the product? This is the most general (and definitely not the most accurate) definition we can imagine. This is why we need to extend the modern definition of web design to cover its most important “ingredients”: the UX and UI.

UX stands for user experience and the ideal UX design allows users to interact with an app in the most ergonomic and efficient way. Web designers create their apps’ UX by taking into account such aspects as usability and accessibility.

To be clear, UX is not based on someone’s opinion or feelings. UX design is a strict domain, strongly supported by data, research and analysis. Professional web designers use various tools to measure and study user needs and as a result, the websites or apps created with UX principles better fit user needs. This might be beneficial for some business aspects, like app profitability, however, it strongly depends on the type of product.

So, how does UX design work on a real app or website? Imagine that you own an e-commerce website, let’s say a shoe store, and you want to improve sales with the help of a web design company. Before making any changes, an experienced company should run a series of tests to check the displays on your product pages to improve conversion rates. They will check where to put a picture of a product, how long and detailed should the description be and where to place the “Buy” button to increase sales. This is pure UX, making the software better and more functional using design.

UI stands for user interface and it is mostly focused on how the web app’s interfaces look and do they provide enough information to users. UI helps them to interact with the app and is more focused on aesthetics than UX. Very often UI is a brand translated to the look and feel of an app or other software product.

To wrap things up, both UX and UI are highly important elements of modern app design. This means that the role of design is not only to make the product look good but also to ensure its functionality, in order to meet the associated business goals, such as boosting conversions or sales via properly designed software. The best summary of UX and UI is this:

UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem; UI is focused on how a product’s surfaces look and function.

Ken Norton, Partner at Google Ventures, Ex-Product Manager at Google

What are the most obvious benefits of good design?

  • Good design is not only about looking good. Good design is one of the business tools that helps to reduce costs caused by badly designed apps, web platforms or software, in general. With great design you can reduce costs caused by the abandoned cart rate or always-busy customer support.
  • Good web design (by this we mean UX and UI) helps to increase conversion rates via apps, regardless of the type of conversion. It might be subscriptions, payments or time spent on watching something.
  • Beautiful and intuitive web design helps to keep your customers on your website and influences their positive reception of your brand or company.

If you need more information and data-driven details about design, see the design-dedicated section of our website - Why Design Matters.

Looking for a web design company in Dubai - pro tips

Just as with any other, search - use Google. You will surely find many web design companies in Dubai, but how to choose the best one? Well, this part is a little bit tricky. But here are some general tips on finding a trustworthy web design or software development company in Dubai:

You should definitely check their own website - this is quite obvious, but you should pay special attention to particular parts of their site. Beautiful and functional design should be one of the most visible proofs of their work. Their case study section is a must as well. Pay attention to any awards for their work (for example, Boldare was awarded multiple times by Awwwards and Indigo Design Awards).

Check out their wider web presence. The best companies show their designs in web portfolios like Behance or Dribble - just like Boldare. We also run regular meetups for communities of designers in Poland, such as the Silesia Dribble Meetup in Gliwice.

If you like their designs, it’s good to check how the company is perceived by their customers. Probably the most trusted resource of high quality reviews is Clutch.co. This web platform ranks thousands of companies according to different specialities. But what’s most interesting about Clutch.co is their system of conducting detailed reviews - the portal contacts clients for each listed companies personally and conducts their own interview. There’s no way to influence those interviews and therefore, each one is a very valuable source of information.

Boldare has 35 Clutch.co reviews and an overall 4.6 score - those are above-average figures which can be verified very simply, by looking at similar companies.

What about web design company from abroad?

Last but not least - don’t limit your search for a top web design company to Dubai, the Emirates or the Middle East. If you’re looking for high quality work on a limited budget, consider companies from abroad. Eastern Europe is a good choice as many companies from Poland deliver the same quality as their competitors in Germany or the UK, but are far less expensive and, like Poland, share a similar culture.

If you decide to search for a web design company in Europe, you can obviously follow the same tips outlined above. But, before contacting any company make sure that they have experience working with companies in the Middle East region, or other remote locations. Why?

Working with a company that has offices in different locations than yours doesn’t have to be problematic. Instead, it’s all about their previous experience, processes and the tools they use. Start with asking them the following example questions:

  • Have you worked with companies from the Emirates or Middle East?
  • Have you worked with any other company from a different time zone or region?
  • How do you deal with time differences and starting the week on different days?
  • How often can you visit us?
  • How do you make sure you understand our needs and business goals?

If you’re mostly interested in web design, ask to speak with their designers and developers. Make sure they understand how important it is to have web designers working very closely with web developers.

If you need more information and pro tips about this topic, see this article: “Hiring a web development company? Avoid these mistakes”.

Web design and development services in Dubai

If you’re looking for a company producing outstanding designs, you can’t ignore the influence on software development and vice versa. Always look at the general outlook and experience of your shortlisted companies. You won’t build a successful app if its performance and functionality is mediocre. Simply speaking, even the best design cannot compensate for badly written code.

To make sure the company is simultaneously good at software development and web design, view their work, speak with them and - most importantly - challenge them by asking tough questions! You can start straight away, by challenging us!