Head of Product Design

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston, MA

See jobs at Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

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 400 million annual riders? Ready for the challenge? Then read on.

CTD is looking for a Head of Product Design. This role will lead our design and content teams and report to the Chief Digital Officer.  

We are looking for a fierce advocate for equitable and inclusive research, design, and content. You will lead design and content strategy by supporting existing CTD products and envisioning new opportunities for their teams to serve our riders. As the manager of the design and content teams, you will foster a supportive environment for designers and content writers to excel and grow.  

Meet the teams
The design and content teams’ work is most immediately apparent to the public on MBTA.com and in-station screens, but the teams also collaborate with our engineers and product managers on a host of transit technology tools tailored to riders and operational staff. In short, they help build solutions to problems that affect the lives of riders and the MBTA officials who run our system. 

Examples of these ongoing projects include:

Skate, a mobile dispatching tool for bus officials that gives them detailed, real-time information about the bus routes they manage  so they can provide better service to riders.
Crowding information, now available on MBTA.com and in some stations, to help riders make decisions about their trips during the pandemic.
User research studies and rider journey maps to determine how we can best utilize public digital screens to share timely and effective information with riders.
Project pages highlighting the work that’s being done at the T to help riders understand the long-term goals of the project, the work involved, and how it will improve their commute once finished.

No matter what they’re working on, design and content are unified in their goal: to grow in our craft and to make public transit better—and we’re hoping to find someone who shares the same passion.

We want to hear from you if you have these capabilities:

  • Product design leadership: You foster equitable design practices at every level, from one-off projects to department-wide strategy. You represent and advocate for design as a discipline and the design team with other department leaders. You can participate in creating overall department strategy and vision. You are a leader who brings both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and design. 
  • Design & content strategy: You identify and scope design and content staffing needs against product roadmaps and staff growth plans. You can guide your teams in their craft to create content and design that work together to communicate effectively to a general audience. 
  • Team management: You are excited to assess current team processes, support the ones that are working, and experiment with new ones that could be more supportive and effective. You keep a pulse on best practices to keep team culture inclusive, transparent, and accountable. Process and operations documents are your bread and butter. 
  • Cross-discipline collaboration: CTD teams and products are generally interdisciplinary and interdepartmental. You build relationships across stakeholders and partners, internal and external to the department, and provide the voice of product design across product management, engineering, and data specialists in an agile environment.

And are this kind of person...

  • Empathetic: You think about end users constantly and are always looking for ways to understand their lived experience. 
  • Communicative: CTD is an interdisciplinary team sitting within a large public agency. You’re able to communicate design and content strategy to internal stakeholders clearly and effectively. 
  • Systems thinker: The MBTA is a complex, 120-year old transit agency with a huge number of moving parts. Our team needs to understand the complexities of running transit services, the business operations of the MBTA, and how riders use our system to get around Boston in order to design solutions that work for all of our different user types.

What you can expect from your first 90 days at CTD

  • Three months is a long time, but it goes by quickly at the T. At first, you’ll get to know the MBTA system, our design and content teams, our processes and products, and our culture. Once you’ve settled in, you’ll shift your focus to fostering relationships inside and outside the T, whether it’s collaborating with other departments and stakeholders, helping individual team members plot their career paths, or exploring new opportunities with rider advocacy groups.

Work experience guidelines (recommended, not required):

  • 5-8 years of professional experience in user experience, visual design, content strategy, interaction design, or a related field 
  • 3+ years managing, mentoring, cultivating, and hiring for a design and/or content team in a product-driven organization 
  • Understanding of the capabilities and limitations of industry standard design tools (Sketch, Adobe CC, etc), to advocate for the right technical tools for the job
  • Experience leading an agile development environment where team members sometimes work autonomously or report to different supervisors
  • Experience using online collaboration tools (e.g. Slack, Asana, etc.) 
  • Solid understanding of accessible design principles for the web and for physical spaces 
  • An understanding of the differences (and similarities) between UX writing and content writing—and the strategies and creative processes of each 
  • 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)
Diversity and inclusion at CTD are very important to us. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

About Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

he Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, often referred to as the MBTA or simply The T, is the public operator of most bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry systems in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area. The MBTA is the largest transit provider in New England, and the fifth largest in the country. The MBTA directly operates or contracts out for service using eight different modes: heavy rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, local/express bus, trackless trolley, commuter rail, commuter boat, and paratransit. In Boston, 55% of all work trips and 42% of all trips into downtown are made by transit. The MBTA district is made up of 175 communities with a total population of 4.7 million. Almost three-quarters of all Massachusetts residents live within the MBTA service area.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Want to learn more about Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority? Visit Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's website.