Sr UX Researcher - Glides
Boston, MA /
Customer Technology – Design /
At the Customer Technology Department (CTD), our mission is to apply modern principles of research, design, and technology to make our transit system easy for all riders to use. Effective and equitable public transit is essential to the social, economic, and environmental progress of Greater Boston.
The MBTA Customer Technology team is working to transform how people get around the Boston area.
We are a team of designers, engineers, product and content specialists charged with bringing novel ideas, modern standards and a user-centered approach to technology at the T. As the MBTA works to reinvent itself, we have a rare opportunity to craft the future of transportation for Boston and communities all around Eastern Massachusetts, as well as pioneer innovations for other transit agencies around the country.
Do you want to improve the daily transportation experience for 4.7 million people in the Boston region? Ready for the challenge? Then read on.
CTD is looking for a User Experience Researcher with a passion for design thinking, design strategy, and service design. You will help create great experiences that improve people’s lives through the thoughtful design and implementation of technologies and processes. You will join the cross-functional team working on Glides, an internal tool designed and developed by CTD. In this role, you will collaborate with our Operations and Safety teams: the people who literally keep the MBTA running safely and on time.
Glides delivers critical train location information to Green Line operators. It is steadily evolving into a tool for alerting operators to unsafe conditions, capturing and presenting mission critical data, and presenting algorithmic recommendations for service changes in a clear and humane way. Importantly, Glides will also make it possible to give riders predictions about trains departing from Green Line terminal stations.
As a UX Researcher with Glides, you will create and execute an experience design strategy. You will lead design thinking activities – including framing problems, ideation workshops, rapid prototyping, and iteration – that engage multiple Operations groups. You will work closely with stakeholders to examine the Green Line operational ecosystem, ensure new experiences and technologies solve real problems, and communicate decisions to leadership. You will get to know your users’ current processes, needs, and pain points. You will also get to know them as colleagues and experts who play a critical role in Boston’s transit system.
To be happy and successful in this role, it will help if you have a spirit of creativity and a high degree of curiosity about people and environments around you. It also helps if you are comfortable operating in an organizational structure that can be both top down and bottom up.
Day to day, you will:
- Utilize human-centered research and design practices to investigate complex problems that include people, processes, and technologies.
- Plan and execute UX research activities, such as performing ethnographic-based user research, secondary research, quantitative studies, and prototype testing.
- Analyze and synthesize research data, identifying and generating meaningful insights and behavioral patterns.
- Plan and execute workshops with mixed groups from CTD and Operations that incorporate system mapping, customer journeys, role playing, scenario planning, and service specifications.
- Map the service experiences of users and help define how unique parts of the organization need to change what, and how, they deliver to be more effective.
- Collaborate with product owners and leaders to drive product strategy and the development roadmap.
- Deliver experience design artifacts, including analog prototypes, user interface mockups, and service scripts that guide discussion with stakeholders and testing with users.
- Work closely with the Glides product designer, contributing to the improvement of the design quality and final user experience.
What you can expect from your first 90 days at CTD:
- Dive into the MBTA system: We certainly don’t expect team members joining CTD to understand the operational details of the MBTA. From Day 1, you will begin learning the details of how the MBTA’s network of vehicles moves a million people around Greater Boston every day.
- Dive into Glides: In particular, you will get to know the Green Line at the MBTA in support of your work on Glides. Glides is an internal tool, designed and developed by CTD, that delivers critical train location information to our Green Line operations colleagues. You’ll tour Green Line facilities, meet the people who use Glides, review our existing body of research and low-fidelity prototypes, and ask many questions.
We want to hear from you if:
- You are empathetic: You think about end users constantly and are always looking for ways to understand their lived experience.
- You are a systems-oriented thinker with a passion for understanding people, processes, and technologies. You are someone who seeks to understand the whole story and focuses on how to improve key details and touchpoints. You are also someone who values coherent and reusable systems. You love your craft, but you do not love reinventing the wheel with each challenge.
- You are comfortable with complexity: The MBTA is a complex, 120-year old transit agency with a huge number of moving parts, and Glides works with the MBTA’s most complex rail line. To design the right solutions, our team needs to understand the complexities of running transit services, the business operations of the MBTA, and how riders and staff interact with the system.
- You believe in collaboration across disciplines. CTD teams are generally interdisciplinary, so you’re able to work closely with Product Management, Engineering, data specialists, and Content in an agile environment. As a researcher and strategist, you’ll help communicate intended experiences, designs, and content to your team members to ensure clarity and consistency across multiple touchpoints.
- You are communicative: CTD is an interdisciplinary team sitting within a large public agency. You’re able to take research plans, design and service prototypes, feature ideas, testing results, and other design outputs, and communicate them to internal stakeholders clearly and effectively.
Work experience guidelines:
- Although we’re mostly interested in your ability to do the work listed above as demonstrated in your portfolio, here are some guidelines on the capabilities and experience we think might be most suited for this role. Please keep in mind that these are advisory, and not required.
- 5+ years of professional experience in user experience research, service design, user experience design, interaction design, or a related field.
- Experience planning, executing, and moderating design thinking workshops that incorporate different experience levels and professional skill sets.
- Experience working in a client-management environment where you contributed to stakeholder communications and management.
- Proficiency in industry standard design tools like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe Creative Suite.
- Experience working in an agile development environment.
- Experience using online collaboration tools (e.g. Slack, Miro, Asana, etc.)
- Solid understanding of accessible design principles for the web and for physical spaces.
- Familiarity with the MBTA transit system as a rider.
- Formal education in design, usability, fine art, writing, or a related field (This could be a college degree, a bootcamp, a certificate program, or something else entirely).
This is a full-time hourly position within the Customer Technology Department at the MBTA. We work with payroll vendors that offer benefits such as pre-taxed health insurance, 401k options, and paid sick time. After at least one year on the job, there may be an opportunity to become a salaried employee with the MBTA.
It is the policy of the Commonwealth that all executive department employees shall be required to demonstrate they have received COVID-19 vaccination and maintain full COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of continuing employment.” Read the executive order and press release.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
CTD is dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive environment—it’s essential to the work we do. In order to effectively partner with MBTA departments and do our best work for riders, our team must reflect the wide variety of people who use the MBTA’s services. We welcome people with different strengths, experiences, and backgrounds who share a passion for improving people's lives. Our team is deeply committed to diversity, inclusion, and continual learning. We strive to foster an environment where each individual is valued, feels a sense of belonging, and is welcomed to bring their best self to work.
Here at CTD, we provide equal opportunity for all employees and applicants. We recruit, hire, train, promote, compensate, and manage all personnel without regard to race, color, national origin, cultural identification or expression, socioeconomic background, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, learning style, neurodiversity, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other non-merit based or legally protected grounds.
Research has shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for roles unless they believe they meet all qualifications. We strongly encourage candidates from marginalized groups to apply, even if you don't believe you meet every one of the job qualifications listed. We’re committed to maximizing the diversity of our team and want to hear from anyone who is passionate about our efforts and interested in supporting our work for riders.