CIRES/ NSIDC Senior User Engagement Specialist

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is the authoritative data management and science center for cryospheric data and research - that is, Earth’s frozen regions.  We advance understanding of the cryosphere and the changes taking place there to support scientific research and inform decision making, which we think is a pretty important contribution.  As our experts like to say: “This isn’t Vegas… what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic.”  The Senior User Engagement Specialist will play a critical role in serving as an active link between our key stakeholders - data users, scientists, and people interested in cryospheric change - and the tools we’re developing to keep our data and information usable and accessible. 


The Senior User Engagement Specialist will be an active member of the NSIDC Web team and will report to the Science Communications Group Manager.  This position will carry decision making authority and may involve management once the candidate is comfortable in the role.  The Specialist role has two key focus areas:  (1) Developing and executing a vision and strategy for establishing and integrating UX/UI principles and feedback loops for projects and communication tools throughout the Center; and (2) Establishing and maintaining a high-level understanding of NSIDC’s goals and objectives to strategically inform and guide front end Web design and content, proactive help features, and documentation improvements.  The Specialist will often serve in a project management role, where they will partner with staff from throughout the center to accomplish interdisciplinary goals.  They will oversee a variety of (often web-based) projects that involve conducting user research; translating both internal and external user needs into new web requirements and designs; and overseeing the consequent development and maintenance of web designs, usability, content, taxonomies, image libraries, etc.  The Specialist will also participate accordingly in the development of data applications and services.


Establish a user-centric program vision and strategy for the DAAC (and more broadly, the Center)

Develop a thorough and detailed understanding of NSIDC and the NSIDC DAAC (mission, goals, deliverables, etc.), that will be applied to the development of UX/UI inputs and outputs needed during various stages of web development.

Develop and document a strategy for how internal and external user needs will be integrated into key NSIDC programs.

Establish UX/UI feedback loops that ensure internal and external user needs are integrated into project decision making and the products and services we provide.

Partner with appropriate groups to establish productive feedback loops informing ongoing adjustments and updates to best serve our users.

Gather analytics and conduct internal and external user research regularly to monitor opportunities and assess progress. 

Provide analysis and regular updates to advisory groups, Center and product leads.

Establish and lead web design and content strategies aligned with NSIDC goals and objectives

Lead web design and content development work, in collaboration with internal web team and contractors, that is informed by internal and external user input, user research and Center priorities.

Collaborate with contractors and software and web developers who are working to build out new features and designs.

Create and/or maintain production calendars, style guidelines, requirements documentation, taxonomies, metadata frameworks and any documentation related to the user interface and user experience.

Lead and conduct requirements gathering, analysis, and usability testing.

Create wireframes, storyboards, user flows, process flows, interaction prototypes, designs, and site maps to communicate interaction and design ideas.

Work with software development teams to define UX and develop UIs for software applications.

Communicate project status and deliverables on a regular basis Center-wide.

Project management

Create project plans for complex projects, oversee completion of plans, and report on progress using standard tracking mechanisms.

Flag issues that might affect timeline or budget and proactively identify solutions.

Work collaboratively with software and web developers, data support specialists, technical writers and subject matter experts to accomplish goals.

What We Can Offer

We can offer a competitive salary, commensurate with experience and a full benefits package.


Bachelor's Degree.

What You Will Need

Ability to create strategy aligned with a specific set of goals and objectives, then translate to a tangible, actionable plan.

Proven experience collaborating with and within interdisciplinary teams that have diverse missions and operating style.

Significant experience in web content development work.

Proven experience and training in project management and facilitation.

Demonstrated ability to conduct research in and apply principles of UX/UI design to web-based projects.

Experience designing complex interactions and performing workflow analysis.

Ability to mesh functional requirements with branding guidelines to establish an appropriate visual design.

Bachelor’s degree in Content Strategy, Communication, Library Science or a related field.

In-depth understanding of current and developing knowledge and trends in UX design.

Portfolio of UX/UI design work demonstrating skills and experience.

Outstanding oral and written communication skills.

Excellent problem-solving skills and attention to detail.

Ability to work efficiently with minimal supervision.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Application Materials

To apply, please submit the following materials:

Resume or CV

Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.

List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation for you. 

If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.


The position will be open until filled. Applications will be screened as they are received.


Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Job Number


Date Posted

Wednesday, September 25, 2019