Writing

January, 2024

What’s The Job of a UX Lead?

Ants in a row

Including Design Lead, Design Ops Lead

Unlike a Head of UX or UX Director, a UX Lead is leading the team’s design efforts by participating hands-on. They’re involved in the daily design operations, in projects where design and UX is required. UX Leads are like Lead Developers: with extensive experience in developing design systems, libraries, concepts and structures, they lead the organisation’s efforts to streamline the design creation and production process chain.

UX Leads or Design Leads are deeply involved in the daily business of product development, research and development, client workshops for the discovery and development phases, up to the final delivery stages of the design development. They are versed in the most commonly used tools and methods which allow them to develop, prototype and build software user interfaces, which are continuously tested with end users along the way.

In some cases, UX Leads can also assume responsibilities comparable to a Design Ops lead, which means it isn’t restricted to the UX field alone.

Here are responsibilities and requirements I see for the UX Lead role:

Responsibilities

  • Team direction
  • Hiring new talent
  • Client needs evaluation
  • Client consultation
  • Client presentations
  • Coordination with feature architects, product owners and product managers
  • Vision and conceptual design direction
  • Lead of UX projects
  • UX project management
  • Customer research
  • Customer research analysis
  • Developing a pattern- and components library
  • Overseeing design library quality
  • User Journey Maps
  • Prototyping, wireframes, user stories, user flows
  • Product UX testing, usability testing
  • Test results analysis and recommendation

Requirements

  • Higher education with degree in design, computer science or equivalent in experience
  • Minimum of four years UX design or consulting experience
  • Experience with software product design, user experience, user interface and adjacent disciplines
  • Experience with software product design, user experience, user interface
  • Up-to-date knowledge of current technologies systems, methods, patterns and tools
  • Solid organisational, structural and analytical skills
  • Great communication and collaboration skills
  • Ability to resolve complex design and communication issues
  • Experience with design libraries and component patterns
  • Good knowledge of frontend code

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 and leading UX role, someone with an ability to learn and adapt, who is great in communication, may serve you better than a candidate that looks perfect on paper.

Don’t fall for the trap of trying to hire a one-person band. It’s great if you find someone who has experience in research, workshops, studies, analysis, user journeys, user flows and animated click-through prototypes. A UX Lead should be able to establish processes and a structured workflow, but it backfires if you want them to do everything and all at once. Specialised professions and leadership roles have their place in this field for good reasons.