Senior UX Designer

Highland · Chicago, Illinois
Department Highland
Employment Type Full Time Team Member
Minimum Experience Experienced

Reports to: Director, Product Design


Highland is a digital product and innovation consultancy based in Chicago. We research, design, and build digital products and experiences for mission-driven organizations and customer-centric companies. Over 22 years, our team of researchers, strategists, designers, and developers has helped organizations launch over 260 digital products, turning their biggest uncertainties into opportunities for growth. 

We often refer to what we design as ‘Experiences that Matter’: digital products and experiences that make the world a better place to live in. We primarily work with leaders of mid-market services companies and corporate innovation labs at large companies.

Our mission is rooted in Human Flourishing—inspired by research conducted at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. We design our work to help human beings flourish, while allowing ourselves to flourish as well. For us, our values—People First, Give a Damn, Be Curious, and Be Transparent—are not just things to hang on the wall, but something we live by everyday and call each other out on.

The Product Design (PD) practice is led by Jeff Blanchard and constitutes UX Designers and Product Designers. In collaborating with our clients, we sometimes help them improve their existing experiences, and other times we give shape to inspired ideas, driven by behavioral insight uncovered by our research team. We partner with our clients at every stage in that journey—from early stage, generative research all the way to new product launch & scale. Ultimately, we are human centered in our approach.

The Senior UX Designer plays a key role in many parts of that process:

Strategic UX Design

  • Translate human insights and uncovered opportunities into design interventions for users, successfully interpreting research to build strategy in collaboration with the research team.
  • Apply high-level, abstract thinking to design solutions at the system level, co-creating strategic frameworks, system maps, ecosystem diagrams, or roadmaps with the research and product teams.
  • Lead UX design and provide strategic guidance throughout projects, which may include: creating user experience flows & maps, service blueprints, and information architecture; storyboards, wireframing and prototyping; creating and executing in usability test plans.
  • Design and map the experience of users for developing products, telling the story of how products are used, and how the customer benefits from product features & interactions.
  • Facilitate design sprints and other sessions to co-create product concepts, service blueprints, and other components & features of new and in-market products.
  • Co-create digital product, product ecosystem, and service design strategies with our clients.
  • Collaborate with product owners to articulate challenges from the customer perspective by leveraging data about user behavior & roles, scenarios, contextual needs, expected interaction, and the metrics impacted.
  • Articulate interaction design opportunities through maps, models, sketches and prototypes
  • Apply lean startup and design thinking methods to de-risk new digital experiences and products, especially as new feature ideas are considered. Champion human-centered & data-driven design.
  • Provide thoughtful synthesis and strategic insight from mixed-method research observations & data about customer engagement that results in the creation of real value and wise guidance for our clients.

Generative, Co-Creative, and Evaluative Research

  • Collaborate with Design Researchers, participating in mixed-method generative research including intercepts, observations, shadowing, contextual inquiry, in-depth interviews, etc. to dive deeper into the interaction experience of users that drives engagement in new and existing products & services
  • Drive co-creation research, co-ideation, and co-design sessions with a variety of stakeholders/users to enable participatory design, collaborating on planning, stimuli, facilitation, and capture of observations & feedback.
  • Plan & execute evaluative research that helps our product teams focus their design & development efforts, provides evidence of product usability & usefulness, and contributes to strategic roadmapping of product builds; with an emphasis on lean methods including:
    • Heuristic, Usability, Impression, A/B, and Multivariate testing
    • Participatory methods, such as card sorting & affinity mapping
    • Secondary research (competitive analysis, etc)
  • Collaborate with business analysts, developers or data scientists to identify and design touchpoint metrics for understanding user engagement throughout the customer lifecycle, across channels, and aligned with business KPIs
  • Support the creation or reinforcement of Guiding Principles and Design Directives which inform the direction of product & service, or align systems, service & customer journeys
  • Demonstrate thoughtful, structured analysis of test findings, and lead teams in group synthesis of insights

Storytelling, Presentation, and Report-Creation

  • Craft original and compelling storytelling formats to showcase processes, insights, concepts, and product implications, demonstrating the direction of design.
  • Visualize diagrams, frameworks, journey maps, ecosystems, and other project artifacts to communicate research findings, system designs, and facilitate project & product decisions.
  • Convey the user needs, design opportunity, desired user experience, and alignment with strategy clearly across reports/decks.
  • Participate in presenting reports or decks to clients, stakeholders, and extended team members if any.

Project Leadership, and Business Development Support

  • Lead complex, design-centric projects from start to finish
  • Maintain stakeholder and participant relationships both proactively and responsively
  • Lead workshops, meetings, and calls with clients and project teams
  • Direct and guide design & build teams with a strong point of view inclusive of the voice of the customer
  • Help frame and plan new design and build projects with potential clients
  • Define new possibilities for collaboration with research and build teams to enable coherent delivery at the company level

Thought Leadership

  • Provide thought leadership around User Experience, Product Design, Digital Product, and Strategic Design through content creation, instruction, and public speaking.
  • Be an ambassador for Highland by attending conferences, writing blog posts and articulating points of view about user-centric products that make a measurable difference in the world


The Senior UX Designer embodies the Highland Core Values:

  • People First: What we make and how we work should make it a little bit better to be alive: for us, our clients, and their customers.
  • Be Curious: The big picture is everyone's responsibility. There is always more to learn. We are generous in teaching what we know.
  • Be Transparent: We respond to problems with solutions, not blame. Vulnerability, while risky, leads to trust and understanding. We're accountable to our clients and to each other. Even when things aren't going well.
  • Give a Damn: Our client's goals are our goals. We do work we can be proud of. Quality is non-negotiable.

The Senior UX Designer displays the following dispositions:

  • Customer-Centric: Keep the voice of the customer front and center, and advocate for their needs through product design
  • Business Conscious: Maintain perspective about business objectives, and how ROI can be achieved through intentional design
  • Creative: Able to apply human-centered design principles and methodologies to complex customer problems.
  • Strategic: Able to examine design & product goals at high altitude, and ensure that all activities & deliverables are providing real business value, in alignment with business goals.
  • Consultative: We humbly provide guidance, wisdom, and leadership for our clients. We aren’t order-takers.
  • Collaborative: Disposed to check in with others frequently and willing to listen and learn from others.
  • Observant: Able to discern subtle trends and patterns.
  • Articulate: Able to communicate complex ideas clearly.
  • Organized: Able to meet deadlines and inspire confidence in our clients by being thoroughly prepared for every interview and meeting, Strong attention to detail.
  • Flexible: Able to respond and solve problems quickly when things go wrong.
  • Energetic: Able to keep pace with our clients and stay focused on goals.
  • Thoughtful: Able to demonstrate a genuine concern for the well-being of other people you interact with.
  • Focused: Able to keep attention focused on project goals for extended periods of time.

Education and Experience Requirements: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction, Design, Communication or Humanities preferred. Other comparable training is acceptable.
  • 6+ years of proven experience designing UX for advanced products & services
  • Proven experience leading project teams through planning, meeting cadences, and effective workshops
  • Excellent written, verbal, and visual concept communication skills, with ability to communicate effectively with clients.
  • Skill in applied UX design, especially at the system level 
  • Skill in visual/UI design is valued but not critical
  • Experience using UX & UI design tools such as: Miro or Whimsical, and Figma or Sketch; especially in team environments

    Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion:

    Highland is committed to creating a just, equitable workplace, and is actively seeking candidates who can bring the value of diverse lived experiences to this position.  We look for candidates who have a high level of demonstrated comfort with cultural competency; women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQ are encouraged to apply.


    Full-time salary and benefits based on year of experience and current market value 

    Thank You

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    • Location
      Chicago, Illinois
    • Department
    • Employment Type
      Full Time Team Member
    • Minimum Experience