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A new professional group is approaching that operates on the cutting edge of development, architecture and design, according to ZDNet. This role, user experience (UX) manager, is increasingly being sought because organisations realise that having a good user experience is extremely important, especially now that companies are almost entirely dependent on digital interactions. Innovating with digital solutions is very popular, but with the wrong user experience it can also be counterproductive. Many large companies now have UX teams, but someone who can manage such a team is scarce.

There are not enough experienced UX managers to fill all the vacancies, says Jared M. Spool, from CenterCenterCentre/UIE, in a recent post. According to him, this is because “experienced UX managers are often satisfied where they are. It takes years for new managers to have the necessary experience to lead growing teams”.

How do UX managers fit into a broader picture? According to Spool, a good UX manager has the skills to coach colleagues on how and when to ask for UX resources to get the most out of the team’s capabilities. UX managers need to have technical knowledge, but according to Spool they can come from different parts of the company. The interdisciplinary nature of UX is explained by Lana Whitehead of Kent State University as follows: It reflects the way people are complex. Whether you choose marketing, engineering or business, understanding the user experience will be an important advantage in making progress in a field. If you have an unprecedented curiosity about how people behave, you can use UX design to be the springboard to seemingly endless career opportunities”.

Career paths in UX teams

Whitehead describes five possible career paths a person can take in the UX field. The goal of the UX designer is to create a user experience based on research and analysis, for example by consulting customers and creating prototypes. Then there is the visual designer, who designs the concept and artwork for digital projects. Next, the so-called information architect, who is responsible for scanning, building and optimizing the website as it is visible to users. Fourthly, there’s the product designer, who according to Whitehead is one of the most common job titles in the UX world at the moment. The function is to design products that are used in everyday life, and to continuously improve those products. Finally, there is the project manager who plans, budgets, and oversees the project.

When UX becomes really important for companies, there is a need for managers to keep it all coordinated and connected to a company. So the need for UX managers only grows as UX teams grow. “Hiring experienced designers and researchers who are good self-managers will be very useful for organizations whose UX teams have only just started, says Spool. However, as soon as a UX team becomes larger than four employees, the need for a manager grows. Team members need coordination and help to channel their efforts. Managers are most effective with eight or fewer employees under their leadership.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.