UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)

General Description:

The user experience architect collaborates with cross-functional teams through user-centered design (UCD) activities, blending business and user goals to create the ideal online experience for our clients. Working with an interactive project manager, strategist, art director, and technical lead, the user experience architect participates throughout the project process and is responsible for the final user experience strategy and associated tactics.  The user experience architect greatly influences the direction of a wide variety of interactive project types, such as interactive storytelling, consumer product and e-commerce experiences, web applications, and information portals. Because of this, a solid background in the analysis and translation of business and functional requirements for complex e-commerce and web-based applications is required. The user experience architect will evangelize and promote UCD methodology and best practices.

 

 

Essential Functions:

Project Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the team and client to understand and document project requirements while advocating for the user.
  • Plan and conduct stakeholder interviews with clients, representative users, and/or subject matter experts to identify essential business objectives and user requirements.
  • Collaborate with clients and internal teams to identify and analyze business/functional requirements.
  • Translate business and functional requirements into use cases, user flows, detailed wireframes, interactive prototypes and/or other UX deliverables.
  • Collaborate with interactive project manager to propose a UCD framework for the project, including scope of research activities, budget, and time frame within the overall project plan.
  • Create and maintain all user experience deliverables (may include comparative and competitive research, content analysis, persona creation / user and audience profiles, user scenarios, use cases, business process and task flow diagrams, site maps, classification schemes, detailed wireframes and interaction flows, and/or prototyping mock-ups).
  • Collaborate with art director and development lead on interaction design solutions and prototypes.
  • Collaborate with copywriter on content strategy and messaging as appropriate.
  • Present and review proposed user experience (UX) strategy and definition documents at internal review and client meetings. Present decisions and alternate solutions based on human factors and user research, web analytics, and industry best practices.
  • Conduct contextual research and usability studies to evaluate existing interactive products. Analyze data and produce reports based on this research. Work with a usability specialist as appropriate.
  • Analyze and translate study results and user needs into a user experience strategy for web and interactive products.
  • Assist in the identification of success metrics used to evaluate proposed solutions.

UX Practice

  • Collaborate with peers to fully integrate UCD methods into every project and build the UX practice.
  • Evangelize and promote UCD standards and best practices internally and externally via shared online resources, portfolio case studies, workshops, and UX community involvement. Serve as a UX consulting resource within the company.
  • Represent UX in the sales process. Collaborate with the leadership and sales team on new proposals, UX service offerings, and other UX advocacy events.
  • Collaborate with contract UX team members as needed on projects. Contracted roles may include supporting user experience architects, usability engineers, or others as defined by the project scope.

Desired Skills & Experience

Job Skills:

  • Ability to understand client goals/objectives and make recommendations to design/transform interactive products to meet them
  • Strong oral, written, and visual communication skills; can present concisely and effectively. Ability to defend design decisions with industry and academic user research
  • Excellent analytic ability, especially with regard to observation of user behavior
  • The ability to think abstractly and creatively and apply good design principles
  • Effective problem-solving skills, specifically the ability to assess situations, evaluate options, and make decisions / draw conclusions
  • Ability to think on the fly and propose usability methods to handle situations that occur outside the normal course of design
  • Ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams
  • Demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following research methods: ethnographic research, usability testing, participatory design, focus groups, surveys, expert evaluation, or web data analytics (e.g., conversion analysis)

 

Technical Experience in the Following Areas:

  • Experience crafting UX solutions to address complex web application, e-commerce and/or mobile design needs.
  • Proficient in paper and digital prototyping through the use of tools such as AxureRP, Visio, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office and/or Adobe Illustrator (additional wireframing and prototyping tools a plus)
  • Basic foundation in website production concepts (e.g., XHTML, XML, CSS, AJAX, Flash, AIR, etc.)
  • Understanding of common administrative and back-end tools in the interactive domain (e.g., content management systems, data reporting, e-commerce, search)
  • Familiarity with web analytics, clickstream analysis, and A/B testing

 

Knowledge Requirements (Education/Experience):

  • Typically requires a MS/BS/BA in human-computer interaction or related field, and a minimum of 2 years of experience as a user experience/information architect in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered.
  • Interactive web agency experience and industry leadership highly desired
  • REQUIRED: strong portfolio that includes examples of user research methods and results, translation of those results into proposed UX solutions, persona creation, use cases and task flow diagrams, site maps, detailed wireframes, and your own original/creative UX documents