It seems to me that the range of what makes a great user experience on a website spans a good number of tasks:

  • Better content creation
  • Prototyping and Wireframing
  • Determining which technologies to account for (mobile vs web)
  • Web trends
  • SEO factors
  • Business goals
  • Conducting usability tests
  • many others

For a company that wants to get into this, would it have to hire an entire team all at once?

  • 1
    This depends greatly on the size of the company; microsoft and Apple need dozens of people for each task, a small start up could get away with a small handful of people performing many or all of these tasks at once. There's no one-size-fits-all
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 16:59
  • 3
    Some of those topics sound more like PM tasks and less like UX tasks. Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 17:59
  • I mentioned content creation and business goals because of seminars held from this seminar week: nngroup.com/events/tutorials/content_strategy.html
    – Lup T. Ma
    Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 18:31
  • @LupT.Ma SEO and technologies too. Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 21:12
  • It's also worth thinking about the point where the team gets too big to be effective. There's been quite a lot of discussion about this in the context of Agile Teams.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 10:34

6 Answers 6


This question bothers me. Like, a lot. Really!

Taking a step back, the question is all wrong. It is not a matter of how many people you need in a UX team, but how many of your team are on board with working towards the user experience. If the answer is not Everyone!, then probably you need an evangelist to make everyone else realise that they are all a part of this goal.

In 2009 Whitney Hess (via Mashable) did an article on 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design which she used as a basis for the talk she gave at Pittsburgh Web Design Day a few months later.

Misconception number 8: UX is not the role of one person or department, in which she quotes the following:

Livia Labate of Comcast Interactive Media says: "User experience isn't just the responsibility of a department or a person. That compartmentalist view of UX is evidence that it is not part of the organizational culture and hints to teams not having a common goal or vision for the experience they should deliver collectively."

  • Thanks. I like this answer a lot. It's definitely necessary to get everyone on board with this. However, showing people what they have done wrong in the past will not necessarily get them to stop doing it. That's another question to discuss.
    – Lup T. Ma
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 16:14
  • Surely the same is true of security, of brand, of marketing, of any organisational goal?
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 19:11
  • Indeed! you don't need a large team, you need a culture. A design centric culture
    – Bachim01
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 6:07

The ideal size (and more importantly, skillset) of a team is dependent on what the team is trying to achieve. It's very hard to buy in a team of people and have them suddenly working effectively on a problem; more likely, a company will employ a multidisciplinary specialist for the main areas of interest and possibly outsource the other elements. This approach would let a company understand where UX was adding value to its proposition and develop UX as a core skillset.


If it's a small scale industry I would recommend, Educating and Promoting UX to Everyone in the team is the best thing to do than to hire some one special.


"For a company that wants to get into this, would it have to hire an entire team all at once?"


I feel obligated to add more since it's an answer, but that's pretty much it. No. Just like any startup, you don't need to hire your entire staff at once. You need to ramp up and adjust as you go to fit the needs of the tasks at hand. Until that point, you have people wearing multiple hats (always a good thing in UX anyways), you outsource, you hire freelancers, etc.


I recommend starting out small and seeing what kind of workload your UXers can reasonably take. A lot depends on how your company operates, the scope of their projects, how much expert industry knowledge they will need to learn, etc. Be sure to define the scope of their duties well. As mentioned in previous (excellent) posts, there is a LOT of misunderstanding about what UX is. You will need to keep them from being treated as re-labeled graphic designers.

But honestly, more important than how many UX people you hire at first is whether or not you have made space in your company for the UX process and have adequate buy in from the right people. If, say, you bring in your UXer(s) half way through a project rather than before development actually begins, it won't matter if you have an adequate team or not. UX, and especially UX research, needs to be done before all that. And preferably the user needs uncovered by researchers will help to influence the scope of the project just as business needs would. But that often takes considerable buy in from the company that isn't always there.


There is actually no definitive answer to this since there are cases where a single person can perform multiple roles .However as Peter pointed out the team composition must depend on what the team is trying to achieve and what what their specific strong points in the market are .In my experience the general team composition has been

  1. An User Experience architect( who takes care of the requirements,wireframes,initial analysis and initial prototyping if the project allows you to do that )
  2. A graphic designer/visual designer who comes up with high fidelity mockups for the client presentations
  3. A developer who provides his inputs on what would be the challenged in implementing a specific solution

The user architect also plays the role of a program manager at times though that will again depend on the project

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