Principal Researcher

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.

The Customer Technology Department is looking for a Principal UX Researcher to join the Product Design, Research, and Content team. This role will work across product, project, and program tracks to help define research processes, advocate for equitable research practices, lead strategic research initiatives, and offer guidance to teams that seek to engage in human-centered research. This role reports to the Head of Product Design. 

Day to day, you will:

    • Work with the Head of Product Design and the Head of Product Management to establish equitable research standards that can be shared with all of CTD.  
    • Consult with program leaders to define discovery needs for new projects, ensuring that research is built into the project from the beginning. 
    • Work with the Head of Product Design to plan for, evaluate, and test tools to support research at CTD (includes software and services). 
    • Work with non-CTD teams, including the rider analytics teams, accessibility experts, and community engagement teams, to share ongoing work. 
    • Communicate research findings to CTD Leadership and product teams. 
    • Identify opportunities for research to help inform a broader design strategy. 
    • Help execute research initiatives, either as a consultant to other CTD teams or as the lead researcher for special discovery initiatives. 

We want to hear from you if:

    • You are empathetic: You know how to build trust by centering users. You see users as experts in their field and in their own experience. You seek to collaborate with and empower users in the design process.  
    • You are a systems-oriented Designer who brings experience, frameworks, and repeatable approaches to new problem spaces. You understand the value of bespoke design solutions, but you seek to exhaust existing knowledge and options first. 
    • You are comfortable with complexity: The MBTA is a 120-year old transit agency with a huge number of moving parts. 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 Designer, you’ll help communicate design and content intent to your team members to ensure rider-facing information is rendered consistently. 
    • You are communicative: CTD is an interdisciplinary team sitting within a large public agency. You’re able to take design prototypes, feature ideas, research and 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. 
    • 10+ years of professional experience in user experience, UX research, interface design, visual design, interaction design, or a related field. 
    • A depth of experience executing and managing mixed methods UX research in all phases of work. 
    • Experience working and with Personally Identifiable Information and ensuring research participant privacy. 
    • Experience using online collaboration tools (e.g. Slack, 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).  

Location:

    • This role is hybrid. While most activities can be accomplished remotely, a component of this role requires is in-person research with MBTA riders.  
Compensation:

Pay rate range is $73 - $92 per hour (W-2), up to 1880 hours per year.

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.

Vaccination:

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.