UX Magazine

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

Hello everyone,

At the risk of sounding overly hyperbolic, every now and then, a role comes along which is so good, that it makes us excited to be involved in finding the right person. This is definitely one of those roles. We love this Brooklyn based studio. A lot. Small (50ish people) but perfectly formed, incredibly high standards of design, lofty thinkers, not concerned with fluffy marketing or advertising projects, and a great, collaborative production process. 

They are looking for a Director, or Senior Director, of user experience and product strategy, to lead a very special team within the company. They will pay up to around $180k for the right person, but slightly more is not totally out of the question, It’s all about being justifiable. You will be leading and managing one of the most talented, innovative and creative teams, within one of the best regarded design studios in NYC.

What do they make:

The studio works across a wide variety of projects, but can loosely be split into ‘branded experience’ work (which would include brand strategy, web sites, mobile apps, games, or content) and ‘product and platform’ (which would include more of the holistic design thinking, crafting services and experiences for sustained, specific use, across multiple touch points, for more utilitarian purposes than just selling products). This role is to lead the latter team, in creating platforms and products across multiple touch points

A recent flagship project on this team was an internal communications platform for one of the largest tech companies in the world. Sitting across mobile, web and tablet, with the aim of unifying over 70 different pre-existing tools into one slick, streamlined product, that people would actually want to use.

How do they make it:

Really well, is the short answer. Let’s take the example above as a case study. Everything began with deep and thorough insights, from the business and the users; tons of interviews, workshops and focus groups, with stakeholders from all levels of the business, from all around the world. From this, solid and real-world personas are created, which are used to guide every strategic design decision from that point on (as well as lots of business process flows, competitor analysis and discovery docs). 

From here, the team, consisting of UX, design, and front end dev, will work rapidly and collaboratively to produce ideas, sketches and, ultimately, prototypes, which can then be hit with a big stick (user testing and insights) and iterated to a polished, final functional state. The idea here was not create static page concepts (as the platform had to be scalable), but to create interaction elements and UI concepts, which could then be utilized in a variety of different scenarios and journeys. This allowed the team to adapt to new features that were elicited through continued research and testing, and apply their previous work to the new streams. All documentation and deliverables were kept in a ‘living state’, able to grow and adapt as the project evolved. All of this within a responsive framework. Impressive stuff.

What are they looking for:

Not everyone is well suited to these types of projects, or this way of working. The number of other companies in NYC who work similarly is slim, and this is not the role to ‘learn the ropes’ on. You must already have a proven track record of leading teams or projects of a similar nature, your depth of UX knowledge must be unsurpassed, but you would ideally also understand (not necessarily practice) code and visual design too (to enable you to manage and guide those skillsets on projects). On top of all of that, you will be the key client contact throughout, from pitch to delivery, so your stakeholder engagement skills must be out of this world too. 

It’s a lot to ask, but roles like this are few and far between for a good reason; there are only a handful of people capable of doing them.