January, 2024

What’s The Role of a Head of UX?

Leadership is about communication
Leadership is about communication, involvement, empowerment and working with the team along a strategic orientation

Includes Head of Product Design

“The greatest people don’t need to be managed. They just need a common vision. That’s what leadership is.”

– Steve Jobs

In organisation structures, “Head of” is set above the director level. In some organisations, the “Head of” is also the “director” of a department. However, in any field there can be many “director” roles, but there can be only one “Head of” for the same department.

Depending on the organisation size and structure, there can be one or many UX Directors. In the case of many UX Directors, a Head of UX makes sure the global strategy is executed and all UX teams are following the same direction.

The Head of UX is a connector, a bridge-maker, a strategist and visionary. They have the interest of all stakeholders – from product development to production, from sales to marketing, distribution and support – in mind. They have oversight over various design teams, including positions like UX Directors, UX Architects, UX Consultants, UX Designers, UX Researchers and UX Leads – it all depends on the scale and proportion of design operations within the organisation.

The job of the Head of UX is to keep processes and methodologies aligned with an organisation-wide structure, which translates the company’s strategic goals into a direction for the UX team. For the design department, this means the Head of UX role is more about how things are done within the organisation, and less about what is done, in terms of the overal strategy and direction.

Ideally, all people working in design department contribute to the development and implementation of organisation-wide processes, methods, design systems, etc. All of this together, the processes and methodologies, the experienced gathered through doing and through thinking, will lead to a more unified design approach across the organisation, which saves time, money and increases chances of success.

The following are responsibilities and requirements I see for this role:


  • UX strategy development
  • Team management
  • Lead of UX team (with multiple teams, the respective UX leads)
  • Hiring new talent for design teams
  • Design team unification
  • Talent coaching and development
  • Helping shape and expand the company strategy
  • Consulting the C-suite (CEO, CFO, CPO, CDO, etc.)
  • Client consulting
  • Client presentations
  • Vision and conceptual design direction
  • Business scope and goal evaluation
  • Customer research
  • Competitor research
  • Research analysis
  • Keeping projects within budget and time constraints


  • Higher education with degree in design, computer science or equivalent in experience
  • Minimum of four years leadership experience
  • Strong creative and visionary skills
  • Experience with software product design, user experience, user interface
  • Up-to-date knowledge of current technologies, systems, methods, patterns and tools
  • Excellence in leadership, organisation and analytical skills
  • Great communication and collaboration skills
  • Ability to resolve complex design and communication issues

Related or Similar Roles

Hiring Mistakes

Resist the temptation to select only people from the top crop of applicants. Only because these candidates check off on every point of your requirements and have a degree from a prestigious university, they are not necessarily your best option. For a guiding UX role, someone with an ability to learn and adapt, who possesses a sense for strategic thinking and who is great in communication, may serve you better than a candidate that looks perfect on paper.

It’s great if you find someone who has experience in research, workshops, studies, analysis, user journeys, user flows and prototyping. But you’re not looking for a UX designer or UX consultant, you are trying to find someone who can lead, with a sense for strategy and the bigger picture. Trying to find someone who can lead but is also “hands on” will ultimately result in disappointments.

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