Product Designer

At CalMatters we believe the future of news products will be discovered in collaboration with our audiences, and we strive to understand how Californians want their news and information. If you’re an imaginative and highly collaborative senior designer, you might be the perfect person to help us do that by establishing and leading our product-design practice.

We’re a nonprofit, nonpartisan news startup. At the tender age of five, we’re already the largest newsroom covering California policy and politics. We reach hundreds of thousands of people on our website and others through partnerships with 200 media outlets, but we want to engage many more Californians with our work so they can better engage with our democracy.

You’ll join a small, cross-functional team, working closely with our head of product, product manager and WordPress engineer to collaborate with colleagues across the company. You’ll bring thoughtful design vision to existing products, like our website and our newsletters, and you’ll guide the exploration and building of new ideas with your design and UX expertise.

Some challenges you might tackle:

How do we become an essential daily habit for more Californians?
How might we design products that appeal to time-starved people?
How might we deliver stories in digestible formats while also creating opportunities to dig deeper into complex topics?
How might visuals and multiple languages play a greater role in our storytelling, given that so many of California’s 40 million people speak a language other than English?
What You’ll Bring to CalMatters:

At least five years of digital product experience. Digital media and/or editorial experience is a plus. Print design experience is a bonus, but not required.
A portfolio showcasing a foundation in visual design, design systems, interaction, typography and ideation.
Experience partnering with a product manager to develop the strategy and rationale for features.
Experience using lightweight prototyping as a way to explore and demonstrate solutions.
Mastery of common design tools, such as Sketch, Figma, InVision, Zeplin and the Adobe Creative Cloud.
An appropriate level of comfort with HTML/CSS/Javascript. It is important that you understand how web code works – understanding the medium to inform your design work.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Knowledge of the latest trends and technologies in responsive design, user-centered design, and information architecture, coupled with a strong acumen to think of new approaches to user needs.
Experience leading user research and/or using data to inform design decisions.
An audience-first mindset and a desire to create new information experiences to improve the lives of Californians and make it easy for them to engage in the democratic process.
What You’ll Do at CalMatters:

Lead the entire design process, from creating research plans, to leading brainstorms, creating wireframes and prototypes through to delivering high quality design and experiences.
Take the lead on running design experiments, incorporating qualitative and quantitative data to validate your hypotheses and guide your design decisions.
Collaborate with the team to conduct lightweight user research, such as customer interviews, prototype testing, card sorting and surveys. You’ll also use low-fidelity tactics, such as user flows, spreadsheets and wireframes, to streamline complex systems and rapidly prototype.
Work with editorial, audience, fundraising and events colleagues to define and explore ideas, with an eye to the audience members’ perspective.
Interpret requirements and translate them into quality user-centric outputs that balance user goals, business needs, and technical specs.
Serve as a subject matter expert providing actionable recommendations and confidently standing behind them to obtain stakeholder buy-in.
Develop and own our design systems to make sure that all new components adhere to guidelines and quality standards.
Act as the gate-keeper for our existing brand style guide and relationship manager for freelance design relationships.
Education or experience related to journalism or communications would be 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 we haven’t listed. 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 examples of your previous successes. Write to with the job title in the subject line.

We’re based in Sacramento, and that’s the best place for in-person collaboration with our team, but we’re open to creative arrangements with people elsewhere.

Tagged as: Remote