About the job

At CalMatters we believe that news products must be developed in collaboration with our audiences, and we strive to understand how Californians want their news and information. We’re looking for an imaginative and highly collaborative senior designer to lead product design for our nonprofit, nonpartisan news startup. 

At the tender age of six, we’re already the largest newsroom covering California policy and politics. We reach 1 in 10 Californians, but we want to empower even more of them to engage with the state policies and policymakers that affect their lives.

You’ll join a small, cross-functional team, working closely with our head of product, product manager, and engineers, to collaborate with colleagues across the company. We have existing products, like our website and newsletters, that need thoughtful design vision. We also have product ideas we want to explore and build, for which design and UX expertise are vital.

Some challenges you might tackle:

  • How do we design products that become a daily habit for more Californians?
  • How might we design our products to appeal to time-starved people?
  • How might we deliver stories in digestible formats while creating opportunities for audiences to dig deeply into crucial issues?
  • How might visuals and innovative formats play a greater role in our storytelling, especially for the many Californians whose native language is not English?

What you’ll work on:

  • Lead design strategy, ideation, and execution to drive audience habit and membership growth and retention across all of our products
  • Design and present mockups, wireframes, sitemaps, user flows, and prototypes that are grounded in user-centered design principles 
  • Deliver high-quality, end-to-end experiences, from concept to execution
  • Work on the entire lifecycle of the product — research, user flows, prototyping, high fidelity comps — and collaborate with the product manager and engineers on implementation
  • Establish & evolve style guides, standards, and design systems
  • Partner with the product manager, subject matter experts, engineering, membership, audience, editorial, and product leaders to ideate and create new and innovative features and capabilities
  • Identify opportunities for improvement in our products and process by leveraging your design experiences, best practices, and user insights
  • Help to optimize our membership experiences with testing and audience research

About You

  • You want to be hands-on with design and design strategy as part of a small team of thinkers and doers
  • You’re passionate about using research insights to drive design and strategy
  • You constantly seek ways to improve the look and function of our products
  • You love to collaborate closely with colleagues in product management, engineering, data, editorial, and membership
  • You’re organized, driven, and excited about designing for news; it is essential that you deeply understand our industry and context
  • You can clearly articulate the thinking behind a design
  • You proactively and passionately solve problems and love to come up with design solutions for challenges
  • You proactively gather user and project requirements to create conceptual wireframes, prototypes, and final designs for our current and future products
  • You have deep expertise in human-centered design 
  • You are driven to solve problems that have a positive impact on audiences, grounded in business goals
  • You balance a focus on small tactical details with big picture strategy 
  • You take pride in owning your work and driving results on key business initiatives
  • You love to design with a focus on the user interface, end-to-end user experience, and understanding user-driven needs.

Experience we’re looking for:

  • A portfolio that shows a strong body of work including outstanding UX/UI design and strategy
  • 4+ years of design experience on digital platforms
  • Extensive experience designing interactive applications, preferably in editorial, membership, subscriptions, or marketing contexts
  • A track record of producing business results through design
  • Deep knowledge of UX process and research techniques including competitive analysis, user interviews, usability testing, persona creation, and journey mapping
  • A collaborative spirit and proven ability to work well with others, building strong partnerships across teams
  • Expertise in best practices for design on different platforms and screen sizes 
  • Comfort with design and prototyping software like Sketch, the Adobe Creative Suite, Invision, Figma, etc.
  • Working knowledge of front-end development and best practices for design implementation, a superior level of comfort with HTML/CSS/Javascript, and understanding how design could impact engineering within the constraints of the WordPress CMS.
  • Strong presentation and writing skills
  • Experience with or strong interest in digital media and news; you keep up on design and user experience trends in the news industry
  • The ability to self-manage and juggle multiple priorities 

Education related to journalism or communications would be a plus but is not required. If you meet at least 75% of the qualifications please apply, and don’t be shy about showcasing additional skills that would benefit our organization. 

We’re committed to diversity and especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply. If you’re interested, please provide a resume, a cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job, and some examples of your previous successes. Write to jobs@calmatters.org with the job title in the subject line.

We’re based in Sacramento, and you’ll be required to attend monthly three-day in-person collaboration sessions with our team, but we’re open to distributed work arrangements with people elsewhere.