User experience managers, or UX managers, play a major role in developing products—from leading teams, shaping UX, and promoting seamless collaboration. When recruiting the right hire for this role, looking for someone who is curious and demonstrates empathy for users, their team, and the project's stakeholders is crucial. In addition to saving time and resources, finding the right UX manager can jumpstart your UX, product, and design organizations by introducing new ideas and implementing best practices.
Whether you’re hiring a UX manager or applying for this role, read on to learn exactly what UX managers do, why they’re essential, and the 35 interview questions to leverage.
Why are UX managers important?
UX managers maintain and ensure a consistent UX strategy across user-centered design, research, engineering, product, sales, marketing, and other teams to deliver a seamless experience to the end user. If UX leadership is poorly conducted, this impacts the customer experience, brand perception, strategic organizational goals, and more. Put simply, there’s a lot on the line. Poor user experiences cause up to 89% of people to leave for a competitor.
By bridging the UX design and UX research teams, UX managers can create top products and improve current product offerings to generate sales and improve customer retention. By 2028, this career is expected to grow by 8%, producing almost 22,000 employment opportunities in the U.S., according to Zippia. Great UX management leads to better products, user experience, and company performance. And organizations are increasingly underscoring this role’s importance.
What does a UX manager do?
Based on the size of your organization, UX managers might lead designers, UX researchers, or both. They serve as the voice of the user and bring forward the user's needs and frustrations when making design decisions and business strategies to ensure customer-centric products. UX managers set design standards and UX best practices for the rest of the team while conducting traditional managerial duties like tracking progress on deliverables, planning budgets, and reporting to leadership.
What are the responsibilities of a UX manager?
Although overall tasks may vary based on your organization and its requirements, a UX manager's primary job responsibilities include the following:
- Manage the UX team, including assigning tasks and priorities and evaluating performances
- Set and manage budgets and spending
- Establish and improve UX-centered design processes
- Advocate for the user and an improved user experience during the product development process
- Recruit and hire UX talent and develop their skills
- Define the user experience of a product and establish the standard for a good one
- Bridge the gap between the business strategy and the user's needs
What characteristics and skills does a UX manager need?
Organizations may prioritize different skill sets and characteristics for their UX manager. Overall, a UX manager should do the following:
- Prioritize customer empathy
- Demonstrate strong communication and project management skills
- Be curious
This role requires someone who understands the user's perspective, is an active listener, and doesn't make assumptions on behalf of the user. UX managers should lead a team adhering to a set of cultural values and use the same empathetic approach with customers in their internal teams to boost morale and the organization's success.
UX manager interview questions
If you’re looking for the right UX manager with in-depth knowledge about being the customer's advocate, project management expertise, and curiosity, here are 35 interview questions to help you get started.
Interview questions about UX management
- How would you explain to a five-year-old what a UX manager does?
- What do you love about being a UX manager?
- How do you determine what customers want and need?
- How do you stay customer-focused?
- What do you consider most important to a good user experience?
- How do you measure success in UX?
- What does the ideal design process look like?
- How do you plan to advocate for UX? Give me an example.
- How do you use qualitative and quantitative research in different stages of the design process?
- Name some tools or processes to unblock designers.
- How do you prioritize resources when you have conflicting priorities?
- How would you improve your favorite product?
- Think of a product you use daily. How would you improve it?
- Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure.
- How would you convince leadership and stakeholders of the value of your design?
- What’s your experience with usability testing platforms?
- How do you keep on top of current design trends?
- What’s your approach to conducting usability tests?
Interview questions about leadership and communication
- How would you handle not getting what you need to do your job?
- How do you balance shifting priorities?
- How do you keep designers engaged?
- What do you value in designers and researchers?
- What tools have you used at previous companies for gaining feedback?
- What kind of people do you especially like to work with?
- What kind of people do you have a hard time working with?
- Describe a time you had to say no to an idea or project.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why should we hire you?
- What will you do in the first 90 days if we hire you?
- What’s one of the best ideas you’ve ever had? And the worst?
- What do you need from your manager to be successful?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What's something you are proud of professionally?
- Where do you go for inspiration?
What UX managers have told UserTesting about their work
UX managers from top organizations have recognized the value of user feedback and leveraged the UserTesting platform to solve their painpoints, simplify their projects, and create better customer experiences. Here’s what some of them have had to say about their collaboration with UserTesting.
"We promise Evernote users they can take notes anywhere and nothing falls through the cracks. UserTesting helps us keep that brand promise." — Sr. UX Manager, Evernote
“Designers were uncomfortable with testing ‘unfinished’ work and little-to-no testing was conducted on wireframes, information architecture, or low-fidelity mockups. In order to be taken seriously by leadership, I knew this had to change. UserTesting allows the UX team to be involved in the development of software projects early on, allowing us to create an intuitive user experience that improves customer satisfaction and drives business growth.” — Diana Gerli, Software UX Manager, Lenovo
“UserTesting has helped us shape different products, campaigns, and ideas quickly, putting our customers front and center. We run studies roughly every week which are informing how we shape our platform and scale our business. Some of the insights we’ve uncovered with our research are about how we can help customers conveniently manage their money online so they can concentrate on running their business and living their life.” — Jesús Ramirez, Senior UX Manager, ATB Financial
“With our voice recognition technology in 180 million vehicles worldwide, it’s mission-critical to get the customer experience right. Our prototypes are often multi-modal, so we need a way to evaluate graphical elements that are paired with voice in infotainment systems in many automotive projects. Having the ability to quickly and easily get user feedback and generate ideas off of those prototypes is what makes the UserTesting plugin for Adobe XD so compelling.” — Adam Emfield, Principal UX Manager at Nuance
Finding, or being, the right UX manager for your organization is a crucial step to fostering innovation and effective collaboration within a UX team. By asking interview questions specific to UX managers, you’ll be on the fast track to hiring a UX manager that'll motivate your teams and exceed your expectations.