The Director of User Experience (UX) is the principle leader of the UX department. The Director of UX has one main agenda, which is leading the UX department in growth and excellence by promoting collaboration in the department, creating a positive environment, embodying the business/product values and, assisting in the achievement of product goals.
The Director of UX also conducts research and documents findings, creates consumer scenarios, and creates strategy documents and content to supply to the UX department personnel as well as collaborating product departments. The most prominent collaborating departments that the Director of UX works with are the product strategy department and the product design department.
He also works with other product management departments to ensure consumer requirements and needs are considered and incorporated in the product from the conceptualization to the realization of the product.
Objectives and Responsibilities of the Director of UX
Leadership/Supervisory Role: The Director of UX, first and foremost, is the principle head of the UX department. At this capacity, the Director of UX is responsible for putting together key UX personnel to form, not just a department, but a team. He ensures that these key individuals are highly engaged in UX department activities and develops professional individual as well as team development goals and plans.
The Director of UX is also responsible for the delegation of responsibilities appropriately to the UX personnel while still maintaining the ultimate liability and accountability for the execution of each of those responsibilities. In his leadership capacity, he also mentors, encourages, fosters, and supports intelligent innovation and risk taking in order to create and deliver business models that improve the consumer interaction and experience with the product and deliver the best financial performance to the business.
The UX Director in this role essentially creates the department’s vision and relays it to team members; a vision that is in line with the basic organizational values. He then acts in such a manner as to inspire and ensuring that the whole UX team produces compelling and industry-leading work.
Opportunities: As the front runner of the UX department, the Director of UX is responsible for the identification of new market opportunities for the product. In this capacity, the Director also realizes the market requirements necessary for new versions of a product. Note, this role is not played independently; rather it is played in conjunction with the Head of UX and junior UX personnel.
Also, at this capacity, the Director of UX is responsible for enabling a business setting that allows smooth cooperation and collaboration of cross-functional departments in order to ensure the successful execution of the product line strategy.
Collaboration: As is evident, the role of the Director of UX is a collaborative one. The Director of UX is, therefore, tasked with the collaboration with a number of product departments such as the product development, design, and marketing departments in the performance of his duties. The Director of UX also works closely with the business’s other departmental directors in an effort to align their visions and also to ensure that their consolidated vision is in line with the core business values.
Research: The Director of UX also plays an analytical role. Being the top-most leader in the UX department, he cannot simply rely on information relayed down the line by junior personnel in the department. The Director of UX is, therefore, charged with gaining extensive awareness on the product’s strengths and limitations relative to market/consumer trends, competitive threats, market opportunities, and more importantly, consumer experience.
At this capacity the Director of UX will also combine his findings and those presented by the Head of UX to make the final recommendations for adjustments in the product features and product strategies by business stakeholders. This is done to maximize on opportunities for innovativeness towards the product from the bottom up in the UX department, which will increase the chances for product growth in relation to consumer experience and subsequently increase business revenue and profitability.
Strategy: As the Director of UX, it is only natural that he plays a leading role in the creation and execution of product strategies. At this capacity, the Director of UX partners up with the business’s sales and marketing departments to create marketing and positioning strategies. These strategies will be based on consolidated research and findings from the UX department as well as the marketing and sales departments. The UX Director, along with these departments, formulates product strategies that are inclusive of; product pricing, product packaging, and campaign strategies as well as providing any other support that will ensure the product’s support in the marketplace.
Required Qualifications of the Director UX
Education: The Director of the UX department has to have a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Economics, Design, Engineering, or an equivalent in working experience.
Experience: A suitable candidate will have over 10 years experience in sales or product-related management positions, preferably in consumer engagement and consumer experience.
Also, a suitable candidate will have had experience in managing a UX team of professionals, preferably as the Head of UX, and delivering product projects in a large scale and in a complex business setting. The Director of UX also has to be familiar with Lean UX and Design Thinking.
Analytical Skills: The position of the Director of UX also demands that one have superior analytical skills. The position involves the reception and approval of strategic presentations from junior UX personnel through the Head of UX. A Director of UX has to be analytically capable of refining these strategic proposals and making improvements recommendations down the line.
Also, the Director of UX engages in research and strategy formulation in conjunction with other product departments such as the sales and marketing departments. He, therefore, must possess analytical skills that ensure accurate interpretation of research information and, hence, accurate formulation of the most suitable product approaches and strategies.
At this capacity, the Director of UX needs to be a person capable of; developing detailed requirement documents and identifying and translating market requirements into the product’s goals.
Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also an essential requirement for the position of UX Director. The position not only involves communication down the line with junior UX personnel and collaborating product department personnel, but also with key stakeholders. The Director of UX will regularly be required to make presentations to stakeholders and must, therefore, possess communication skills that will enable him in clearly presenting, articulating, and defending research findings, design decisions, and formulated strategies to the stakeholders in a way that they can relate to and easily understand.
But let us not completely overlook the importance of communication down the line. Communication skills will determine how effectively sensitive and important information is communicated from the top down and, therefore, determining the effectiveness in performance of duties of the UX department and collaborating product personnel.
Interpersonal/People Skills: A good candidate for the position of Director of UX must have both interpersonal and people skills. Interpersonal skills will facilitate smooth collaboration and relations not troubled by complications, disagreements, and unnecessary delays. This will ensure that all functions in the UX department and with collaborative are executed promptly, efficiently, and effectively.
On the other hand, people skills will ensure that the Director is able to move and convince people to follow them. This is a necessity for any individual in a position of authority. People skills are what makes a director easy to relate to and makes personnel so ready to follow in his directives, leading to effective performance of duties in every capacity of the department.
Leadership Qualities: A suitable candidate for this position will demonstrate excellent administrative capabilities with an ability to continuously drive results. In addition, the Director of UX will need to display a high level of confidence not just in himself but in other people as well. This is for the purpose of inspiring and motivating them in the performance of their duties, which increases their overall effectiveness and that of the department on a continuous basis.
The position of Director of UX is also one of immense pressure and, as such, a suitable candidate will demonstrate an ability to navigate complex situations and tasks with calmness and composure, setting an example for junior personnel.
Software: The position will involve regular and constant presentations to all collaborating product personnel, junior UX personnel, and stakeholders. These presentations should not only be verbally engaging but also visually engaging. As such, the Director of UX should demonstrate high proficiency in the use of various tools such as, Visio, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver.
Ms Office: The Director of UX must also be extremely proficient in Ms Word and the Ms Excel analytical tools. He must additionally be an expert in PowerPoint in order to create engaging content for presentations made to the business’s stakeholders, as well as to collaborating and cross-functional product department personnel.