Head of UX
The Head of UX leads the compelling and creative experiences that strike a balance between the consumers’ intent and the business’s needs. The Head of UX plays the strategic role of aligning the product’s roadmap with consumer/market needs, hereby, creating balanced and elegant product solutions amidst constraints in the product’s technical framework.
Therefore, the role of Head of UX is both a hands-on and strategic role that demands that its occupier have a solid background in the conceptualizing, designing, and creating first-class product experiences for the product’s consumers.
Although the core focus of the Head of UX is the facilitation of product experience creation, he also assists in the ground product marketing and product advocacy guiding the consumers through the product experience and leading them to all of the product’s key usability points, hence, optimizing the consumers’ experience as a whole.
Objectives and Responsibilities of the Head of UX
Leadership/Supervisory Role: The position if the Head of UX is one of leadership; he is the head of the Consumer Experience (UX) as is suggested by his title. His leadership role involves building, leading, and growing a highly collaborative team; inclusive of the Visual Designer, Senior Visual Designer, Interaction Designer, Senior Interaction Designer, UX Researcher, and Senior UX Researcher and other product departments. He also champions for the fusion of the consumer experience through the development of consumer plans to be utilized by this collaborative team.
At this capacity, the Head of UX acts as the thought leader of the UX department, having excellent leadership skills to move his juniors towards a unified vision. At this capacity, the Head of UX is also responsible for instilling confidence in product teams in order for them to trust his judgment and feel free to articulate their judgments and preferred choices to him.
The Head of UX also acts as a mentor for junior UX personnel, providing guidance and advice in the performance of their individual functions where necessary and grooming them for taking up his position in his absence or retirement.
Vision: As the head of the UX department, there is a responsibility to forge a vision that the whole team can use as a beacon or guiding light in the performance of their duties. At this capacity the Head of UX forges and articulates the teams’ vision for consumer engagement through the production of an interesting and creative product.
Due to a constantly changing consumer preference, he must also constantly amend and communicate the vision in order to deliver the next paradigm in customer experience, hence, always keeping the business’s product relevant and engaging to the consumers.
The Head of UX inspires business and departmental culture, values, and brand promise.
Financial Responsibilities: This role also comes with some financial responsibilities towards the business. The Head of UX is tasked with ensuring that designated practices, annual product and consumer targets, and KPIs are met. In addition, at this capacity, the Head of UX is responsible for profit and loss as well as operational profitability of the product as influenced by the consumers’ reception and experience.
Product Life Cycle: The Head of UX, for effective performance of his functions, has to be aware and conversant with all aspects of the product and its features. This is not only on the basis of his position as the head of the UX department but also for purposes of accountability to the Director and stakeholders and excellent product evangelism/advocacy to the consumers.
In this capacity, the Head of UX monitors and drives the product all the way from creation of design concepts to the final launch of the product as well as post-launch monitoring and analysis.
Opportunities: As the Head of the UX department and a pivotal cog in the business machine, he is also responsible for the identification and cultivation of business opportunities in relation to the product. At this capacity, the Head of UX will respond to the consumers’ requirements and enable the crafting of high-quality and insightful responses with the view of attracting or formulating product approaches that can further attract consumers to the product.
Consumer Relations/Product Evangelism: As mentioned, the Head of UX will also play a leading role in consumer interactions in order to understand, in first hand, their needs and formulate his own opinions and approaches that can improve their experiences with the product. In this endeavor, the Head of UX also acts as an advocate of the product to the consumers, imparting insight on the product’s value and usability. His findings and analyses are then relayed to Junior UX personnel for further analysis and incorporation into the overall consumer analysis.
Stakeholders: As a leader in the UX department, it is the responsibility of the Head of UX to ensure that communication of the product and departmental progress is delivered to the Director of UX and critical stakeholders. This is for approval purposes in the making of final decisions on product and consumer issues, final deliverables, and to ensure that the product financial requirements constantly stay aligned with financial approvals and agreed payment schedules.
At this capacity, the Head of UX creates a link and builds credibility and respect between the UX department and the stakeholders, by consistently delivering accurate and timely reports that keep them updated and informed on the product’s progress and performance.
Required Qualifications of the Head of UX
Education: A suitable candidate will have a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Economics, Marketing, Engineering, Design, or any other related field. An equivalent in professional working experience in these fields is also acceptable.
Experience: The candidate will also need to have gathered at least 10 years in working experience as an executive in a product industry, spearheading consumer engagement and consumer experience. He will also need to have a proven and successful working experience in information architecture, consumer experience design, interaction design, or a similar role for at least 3 years in his 10 years experience.
Additionally a suitable candidate will have experience in managing and leading a UX team, playing a senior role either as a Visual designer, Interaction Designer, or UX Researcher. The Head of UX will also have a proven and successful record of having delivered a product project, from the design stage all the way through to its launch.
Communication Skills: The position involves a large amount of interaction with the Director of UX, stakeholders, junior UX personnel, and most importantly consumers. For this reason, excellent communication skills in regard to being able to communicate complex concepts clearly, interactively, and persuasively to all of these audiences is an absolute necessity. In addition, in a position of leadership, the performance of junior functions will be highly dependent on the clarity of communication imparted on them. Therefore, the Head of UX, for effective and successful performance his supervisory duties, has to possess impeccable communication skills.
Software: The position will involve regular and constant presentations to all collaborating product personnel, junior UX personnel, senior UX personnel, and stakeholders. These presentations should not only be verbally engaging but also visually engaging. As such, the Head of UX must show high proficiency in the use of various tools for example, Visio, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver.
Ms Office: The Head of UX Research must also be extremely proficient in Ms Word and the Ms Excel analytical tools. He must additionally demonstrate expertise in the use of PowerPoint in order to create engaging content for presentations made to the Director of UX, the business stakeholders, as well as to collaborating and cross-functional product department personnel.
Leadership Skills: This is an obvious requirement for the position of Head of UX. A suitable candidate will need to have an ability to drive a team through complex projects in large business settings and disciplines. In addition to this, he will demonstrate superior Analytical Skills; junior UX personnel will constantly forward product analyses and research findings to the Head of UX for approval. Because of this, the Head UX will need to posses exceptional analytical skills enabling him to analyze, make recommendations, and even perform analyses of his own on the research findings.
Interpersonal and People Skills: Being an extremely interactive role, the Head of UX will need to possess skills that transcend beyond great communication. A Head of UX needs to have both interpersonal and people skills that facilitate smooth interactions between himself and all the parties he will interact with as well as enable the smooth performance of tasks in cross-functional settings. These skills will also ensure that he earns the trust and respect of the UX department who will readily follow his directives and, hence, allow for an organic flow and performance of duties in the department.