UX manager: role, career and salary

Today we deepen the figure of the UX Manager, a managerial professional who takes care of optimizing the customer’s user experience by coordinating the activities of the UX team in the best possible way. Working with the designers and researchers, the UX manager oversees the teams to coherence the site and improve it, focusing on the customer experience with clear business goals.

A customer who has a good user experience will remember our business and will likely want to try the experience again. In this interview, we explain who the User Experience Manager is, what they do, and what the potential remuneration of this professional is with the expert Selene Uras, User Experience Manager of the lastminute.com group.

What is the role of a UX Manager?

matthew righi

selene urasFirst of all, he is a person who brings the user’s voice to the company, then tries to translate the company’s needs into something usable by the user. So he primarily deals with how interfaces are built. When we can’t find something on a site we think it’s our fault because we don’t know how to use it. Avoiding this situation is the task of the UX manager, who must coordinate his team in the best possible way.

The UX manager is a person who must give a well-defined vision to his team and help them perform their role in the best possible way. Making sure that specific needs are met but keeping in mind the goals (objectives) of the company, taking advantage of the context, of the data, and also of the new trends. As far as trends are concerned, to be more effective it is also advisable to go and borrow them perhaps from other industries (companies) or in the case of e-commerce from other e-commerce, in particular the most used ones par excellence.

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matthew righi

What value does a UX Manager add to a company?

selene urasInitially it adds the value of being the voice of the user, but at the same time not of the naive user. For the simple fact that the User experience manages to combine business objectives with what may be the needs of a user. Produces profit while satisfying the expectations and needs of users who are anticipated while remaining in line with business objectives, making them the classic “wow” effect. So “How nice! I needed this and I didn’t know it yet”, thus anticipating the needs while remaining in line with the business objectives.

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What are the tools that a UX Manager must know

selene urasHe must know how to use any tool because, for example, roadmaps can be set up with Excel or with tools such as Roadmunk but also more sophisticated, as Trell or Jira because you always need to have an overview (preview) of what the people on your team are doing at any given moment. It is also important to detect contamination in advance: that is to say that if there is a person who is working on page A at that moment and affects a specific feature, the person who is working on page Z must also affect su that feature.

So what are you doing? You line them up knowing exactly where they stand by saying “Guys, have a chat so we come out with that one coherent and consistent feature.”

The UX Manager must then master the tools that his team uses, which are made up of different professionals. The main ones are designers and researchers, therefore they must know how to use all the wireframing and prototyping tools (conceptual and definitive planning), also tools that allow punctual interactions because sometimes even within the company we go to share outputs (data of an operation) with stakeholders (people involved) who need to imagine that particular feature (simplified customizable function) as if it were online.

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At the same time, he must know how to use all the tools needed for research, therefore from very generic tools for making online surveys (questionnaires) to very specific and dedicated tools for doing A/B testing. But he must also know the tools that deal with heatmaps (heat maps that indicate the frequency of use and movement of the user’s cursor in the various parts of the site) and why not if you also have an eye tracker in your company heat maps but depending on where the user’s eye rests) and therefore know how to use that software.

In addition, he must certainly have basic statistical knowledge as regards descriptive statistics (part of statistics which, given a series of data, draws information from them) and inferential statistics (part of statistics which, based on the study of a sample, draws information on the changes of the sample itself) and know how to use tools such as Excel. As far as the statistical aspects are concerned, given that we are dealing with users and specific behavioral analyses, it would be advisable to use software for social statistics (statistics based on people’s behavior).

For example, we could talk about Axure, we could talk about Proto.io, we could talk about Invision to share. All these are different tools that the designer could use, they vary when one goes to make a selection, and it is good that the reference designer knows how to use at least one because it indicates that he does his job as he should (without doing it with Powerpoint maybe !).

At the same time, the use of Excel may also help, SPSS is instead optimal for what concerns statistical sciences. Instead, the most used tools for A/B testing are Optimizer 360 and Optimizely. Then there’s Hotjar which is a very multifaceted tool in the sense that it produces heatmaps based on user clicks in certain areas of the page and then can make links to surveys. Something very quick and dirty, a question that only needs an answer, I’m not saying Boolean (50/50) but very very simple, not articulated.

And then the classic SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, and tools of this type are used for questionnaires and surveys.

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What skills does anyone approaching this role need?

selene urasA multifaceted knowledge and at the same time a specific focus: that is to say a very strong focus on design and research.

Then it requires managerial skills and also to have what is called “lateral thinking”. That is, many times we find ourselves in situations where we are close to releasing UX stuff because otherwise, an entire company would go down. So you also need to be creative in making decisions, to ensure that there is no bottleneck (traffic jam) at that moment.

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How do you become a UX Manager?

selene urasYou become a UX manager by working your way up, that is to say by choosing both careers if possible. Because first of all, to know how to help people, you need to know what they do in everyday life. Maybe what seems trivial from the outside and what you think can be done in half an hour changes profoundly in impact when seen from the inside.

And then you must always want to expand for the fundamental pleasure of doing better and better: that is, when you get to master one of these skills, you say “ok, I’ve mastered it, now I want to expand it more and more”.

And then you have to have a great desire to work as a team, so not as a (lone) free-rider but by saying “Well, everything I’ve learned up to now I’ll put at the disposal of the team, working together to help people grow”, also because it’s much more fun in the end and in this way, you also create travel companions. Checking together what you are going to do with very relevant interlocutors.

matthew righi

What is the natural evolution of a UX Manager?

selene urasIn this rapidly changing organizational context, a natural evolution could be to focus more and more on the product. That is to say, in many companies, the UX is within the “product” while in others it is separate; in some companies, there is even a triangle that is made up of product, UX, and ID (interaction design).

The natural evolution could be to deal with a product at a higher level, always keeping the user’s approach in mind, and therefore involving the user. You’re starting to see something like this: so UX people who are dedicated to the pure product.

matthew righi

How much does a UX Manager earn?

selene urasIt depends, in the sense that UX manager is a qualification, then it can also be just UX lead in smaller companies. Let’s say that it ranges from $50,000 to $90,000 a year.

But it depends precisely on the seniority, on the type of team, on the complexities that it has to face every day, and above all on the figures that make up the team. If you have a team made up only of designers you must have certain specifications, if you have a team made up of designers, researchers, and other professional figures you must have broader skills, and so on.

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