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Design & UX
Rakuten Kobo Inc.
00013036 Requisition #

Director, User Experience

The Company:

Here at Rakuten Kobo Inc. we offer a casual working start-up environment and a group of friendly and talented individuals. Our employees rank us highly in terms of commitment to work / life balance. We realize that for our people to be innovative, creative and passionate they need to have healthy minds and bodies. With that in mind, we offer one of the best group benefits plans as well as gym discounts and a personal fitness budget. We hold an annual Wellness Day, host Lunch and Learns to promote a healthy lifestyle and provide fresh fruit daily and other healthy snacks. Teams love our Pooch program and say "dogs in the office make everything better".

Booklovers are thrilled to see that we offer employees a free device upon joining.  We encourage reading time as well as host frequent Lunch and Learn Author Series.

We believe in rewarding all our employees with competitive salaries, performance based annual bonuses, stock options and training opportunities.  For our growing Kobo families, we offer a maternity/paternity leave top up, as well as time off for the non-child bearing parent.

The Role:

Rakuten Kobo Inc. is looking for a User Experience Director to lead our product design vision and practice. You will be responsible for building and enhancing a design practice that is scalable, holistic and inclusive. You will also build relationships with business, development and product teams and enable them to meet our reader’s needs all over the world to establish a superior E2E Reading experience. 

The Director, User Experience plays a vital role in making product design capabilities and features to our users that engages them and satisfies their reading needs, bringing us closer to our company goal of enabling people anywhere in the world to read more. Our products are designed by readers, dedicated to readers. We are focused on crafting the best experience possible for all people, all languages, and all devices.  The Director, User Experience will be responsible for: Directing the practice for design strategy, leadership, planning, and creativity.

The Person:

Team Management
  • Enabling product designers globally (Toronto, Japan, Germany, Ireland) to influence design thinking, create their best craft, and deliver products users love.

  • Managing the Product Design Team and seeking organizational support to create a best fit product design culture.

  • Opportunity to work on multiple platforms such as the eReader, Apps, and Responsive Web.

  • Working and aligning across three different geos and timezones and being able to deal with Cultural Diversity and Differences in Cross-cultural Project Teams.

  • Establishing a culture of respect and transparency.

  • Working alongside various practices such as architects, developers, researchers, analysts, product management, and scrum.

Design Strategy 
  • Directing the practice for how to integrate customer centric research findings into product design decisions. 

  • Directing the practice on how to ensure the agile teams’ understanding of the WHY and building of the WHAT.

  • Directing the practice for design vision of a multi-year product roadmap.

Design Leadership
  • Directing the practice for stakeholder workshops to drive opportunity understanding and gap analysis.

  • Directing the practice for user opportunity mapping and how it provides business value.

  • Directing the practice for product design discovery and definition techniques.

  • Coaching and mentoring a strong team of user experience professionals.

  • Ability to present effectively to large audiences and executives. 

Design Planning
  • Directing the practice for design stories and design acceptance criteria. 

  • Directing the practice for how to measure product design release outcomes.

  • Directing the practice for design optimization user stories.

  • Translating business requirements, end user needs and input from cross-functional Business units into differentiated design solutions. 

Design Creativity

  • Directing the practice for how to build a best in class design system and component library.

  • Directing the practice for our design artifacts, the status quo and competitive benchmarks.

  • Directing the practice for how to evolve our design centric culture by focusing on user intent, user needs, and shareholder value.


The Skillset:


  • Minimum 5 years previous experience directing design teams, shipping digital products to market, and analyzing product design outcomes.

  • Minimum 11-15 years previous experience as a product designer, UX designer, information architect, interaction designer, or visual designer creating large scale application interfaces.

  • Previous experience working with product management and understands how to prioritize importance.

  • Previously led and shipped real products and measured UX outcomes.

  • Previous UX designer with solid history and portfolio: A portfolio demonstrating artifacts such as taxonomies, flowcharts, wireframes, interaction design specs, visual design, journey maps, personas, and prototypes.

  • Understand all types of UX methodologies, when to use them and when not to - Ability to set a UX vision for the team and the company to follow.

  • High proficiency with Figma, Sketch, InVision, Zeplin, Creative Suite, and other prototyping tools.

  • Ability to articulate and rationalize your concepts or process through white-boarding.

  • Ability to facilitate stakeholder workshops and enable collaboration.

  • Interest in user testing methodologies to help conduct studies, create protocols and present findings in an agile environment.

  • Extensive experience designing Consistency for multiple form factors and platforms such as a proprietary eReading devices combined with iOS, Android, and responsive web apps.

  • Excellent leadership abilities and great eye for detail / typography

  • Relationship builder 

  • Experience working with teams in an Agile environment, using an iteration backlog, and comfortability being part of a product development team.


Nice to Haves:

  • Previous experience working in eReading, ecommerce, entertainment, and software environments.

  • Awareness of the capabilities of react.js, html, and css.

  • University degree in Computer Science and related Technology 


To Learn More About Kobo:

Rakuten Kobo Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.  Accessibility accommodations for candidates with disabilities participating in the selection process are available on request.  Any information received related to accommodation needs of applicants will be addressed confidentially.

Rakuten Kobo would like to thank all applicants for their interest in this role however only qualified candidates will be shortlisted.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering more than 6 million eBooks and audiobooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including Kobo Clara HD, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE; along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading and audiobook listening app for Apple® and Android®. Kobo’s award-wining eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.


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