From launching websites and products, to managing large teams, Maria Papaleo has experience with design, team leadership, UX strategy, project development, UI narratives, and web design. Today we are giving you a glimpse into her life as a UX Manager for Moz in Seattle, Washington. If you’re curious as to what goes into being a UX Designer or working with a UX team, this interview will shed some light!
The UX Design Playbook
Starting her career as a Graphic Designer, Maria Papaleo took a role working in e-Commerce and began to see the connection between consumers and overall spending. She witnessed the power of unlocking the value within each customer by improving their online experience. Now, as a UX Manager, Papaleo doesn’t have a playbook to work from, so each day consists of problem framing, translating, team nurturing, measuring, making tradeoffs, and forging connections between data and design.
Solving problems as a UX Designer
Before we hop into what it’s like to be a UX Manager, it is important to address the differences between UX and UI as they work together but are separate entities. Papaleo defines UX as a validation-based design on what leaders are doing and taking the data and qualitative decisions being made to solve a retention or AI problem. UX Designers, to her, are passionate question askers who can see past the data to find real solutions while UI Designers take the data and apply digital design to follow best practices and address solutions.
The UX Manager Day-to-Day
Each day, Papaleo works closely with Project Managers, Project Marketing Managers, and Designers to prioritize initiatives. She defines her day-to-day work as the dark horse cornerstone of success, and bridges together UX, UI, and overall customer experience of the brand, which most people tend to oversee or neglect. After reviewing the top priority lists, Papaleo will work with her team building out artifacts through user stories, story maps, user flows, solution testing, and more.
Skills To Set You Apart as a UX Designer
If you’re looking to work as a UX Designer, Papaleo strongly suggests building up skillsets including data analysis, organization, design, and, of course, passion. Getting experience can start anywhere from analyzing your own online shopping habits to see where your experience as a consumer could be better, to taking on homegrown projects for small companies. Solving problems, you personally experience online is a great way to train your brain to think like a UX Designer.
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