Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

April 25 2019


How to Build an Amazon Affiliate Website With a WooCommerce Affiliate Plugin

Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms on the planet, selling a huge variety of products. 

In addition to keeping the world supplied with everything from top-of-the-range MacBooks to dishwasher tablets and mattresses, Amazon offers an Amazon Associates program that makes it possible for anyone to earn commission, simply by referring people to the Amazon website. 

Once you’re signed up to this program, you’ll receive a payment every single time someone purchases an Amazon product via your unique referral links. If you already have a blog or website, then the Amazon Associates program can be a way to start earning money from your site—or to boost the revenue you’re already generating. 

In this article, I’ll show you how to quickly and easily build an Amazon Affiliates store using WordPress, WooCommerce, and the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin. 

Even if you’ve never heard of the Amazon Associates program before, by the end of this article you’ll have enrolled as an official Amazon Affiliate and will have built a fully functioning Amazon Affiliates store that you can place anywhere on your website. 

What Is the Amazon Associates Program? 

The Amazon Associates program enables you to earn commission by promoting any product from Amazon’s huge catalogue of items. Using simple tools such as WordPress and the free WooCommerce plugin, you can quickly and easily build an Amazon Affiliates Store that links through to products currently listed for sale on Amazon, and then feature this store on your own website or blog.

Well be building a fully-functioning Amazon affiliate store

Every time someone clicks a product in your online store, they’ll be redirected to Amazon where they can complete their purchase as normal. For every sale that originates from your referral links, you’ll receive a commission—and without any of the headaches usually associated with running your own online store, including sourcing products, tracking inventory, shipping orders, and responding to customer complaints. 

The amount of commission you earn on every qualifying sale can vary across product categories. For example, according to the Associates Program Standard Fees Schedule for the United States, you can expect to earn a 5% commission on any sale that falls into the Digital Music category, but a 10% commission on all products that are classified as Luxury Beauty.

You’ll find a complete list of percentages over at Associates Central, although percentages can vary across locales, so make sure you’re reviewing the information for the correct locale, for example the information for the United Kingdom or the United States

You’ll also receive a fixed fee every time a customer uses your affiliate links to sign up for certain Amazon services. For example, in the US, you’ll earn $3.00 every time someone enrolls for an Amazon Prime Free Trial and $10.00 for every person who registers for an Audible Gold Digital Membership. Again, you’ll find a complete breakdown of these fees, known as “bounties”, over at the Amazon Associates page for your specific locale. 

At this point, you may be wondering about the differences between the Amazon Associates program and Amazon Affiliates, particularly since these terms are often used interchangeably. Essentially, you become an Amazon Affiliate by signing up to the Amazon Associates program, so by the end of this article you’ll be an Affiliate who’s enrolled in the Associates program. 

Downloading the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates Plugin

In this article, we’ll be building our Amazon Affiliates store using the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin

When building a store, you’ll need to import each Amazon product that you want to promote, including all the data associated with each product, such as its description, reviews, and any recommended related products. The WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin provides several ways to import Amazon products into your WordPress account, including importing potentially hundreds of products en masse, which can save you a significant amount of time and effort. 

You can purchase this plugin via CodeCanyon:

  • If you’re not already registered, then create a free Envato Market account.
  • Head over to the CodeCanyon website, click the little Sign In button in the upper-right, and then enter your Envato account details when prompted. 
  • Once you’re logged into your account, head over to the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates listing, click Buy Now, and then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the purchase.  
  • When prompted, download your plugin.
  • Unzip your plugin; the subsequent folder should contain several items, including a file, which you’ll need to upload to your WordPress account. 

Adding a Third-Party Plugin to WordPress

Once you have your plugin, the next step is adding it to your WordPress account:

  • Log in to your WordPress account, if you haven’t already. 
  • Select Plugins from WordPress’s left-hand menu, followed by Add New.
  • Select the Upload Plugin button.
  • On the subsequent screen, select Choose file and then upload the file. 
  • Select Install Now. This plugin should now be uploaded to your WordPress account.
  • Once your plugin has been successfully uploaded, select Installed Plugins from WordPress’s left-hand menu. 
  • On the subsequent screen, find WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates and select Activate.

A new WZone item should now appear in WordPress’s left-hand menu; this is the sub-menu where you’ll access all of the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates settings. 

Youll find a new WZone item in your WordPress Dashboard

Before you can start using WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates, you’ll need to install some default settings:

  • Select WZone from WordPress’s left-hand menu, followed by Config
  • On the subsequent screen, select Setup / Backup.
Before you can use the WooCommerce plugin youll need to install some default settings
  • Find the Paste settings here section and give its accompanying Install settings button a click. 

The default settings will now be installed, and the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin will be ready for you to use! 

Don’t Already Have WooCommerce?

In this tutorial, we’ll be focusing on WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates, but this plugin does require the free WooCommerce e-commerce plugin.

If you don’t already have WooCommerce installed, then you can install it by selecting Plugins from WordPress’s left-hand menu, and then clicking Add New. Search for WooCommerce, and when you spot the WooCommerce plugin, click Install

Activate the plugin and, when prompted, launch the setup wizard and follow the onscreen instructions to add your payment information. 

Partner Up With Amazon: Becoming an Amazon Affiliate 

Before you can start promoting Amazon products on your website or blog, you’ll need to enroll in the Amazon Associates program.

To start, head over to the Amazon Associates website for your locale. For example, I’m using the UK version. Your Amazon Associate ID is location-specific, so if you want to operate across multiple locales, then you’ll need to complete the registration process multiple times, for different locales. 

Select Join Now and log in with your Amazon account details. Specify where you want to receive your Amazon commission. By default, Amazon will make payments to your primary Amazon account. Once you’re happy with your payment information, click Next.

Enter all the top-level website domains and mobile app store links where you plan to advertise Amazon products. There may be a chance that your site isn’t yet public—for example, maybe you’re in the testing phases. However, even in this scenario, you’ll still need to provide all the URLs that you plan to use.

Once you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click Next. You’ll now be prompted to confirm that your website or mobile app isn’t primarily aimed at children under 13, as these are not eligible to display advertisements to via the Amazon Associates program. Read through the information carefully, and if you’re confident that your website or blog qualifies, then select No, followed by Confirm

Next, enter your preferred Associates Store ID. Find the What are your websites or mobile apps about? field, and enter as much information as possible. This data will be used to provide you with customized content, so make sure you supply accurate information about who your website is targeting and the kind of products you intend to promote. 

Then, move on to the following dropdown menus: Which of the following topics best describes your websites or mobile apps? Open each dropdown menu in turn and select your website’s Primary and Secondary topics, such as books, business, travel, or movies. 

Use the various checkboxes to specify the type of Amazon items that you intend to promote, for example digital downloads, electronics, or health and beauty. Use the dropdown menus to specify the category your website or mobile application falls into, for example whether it’s a blog or a comparison shopping engine.

In the Traffic & Monetization section, specify the method(s) you use to direct traffic to your website, such as forums, SEO, blogs, or lead generation. 

Complete the Traffic  Monetization section

Next, provide some information about how you utilize your website or app to generate income. If this is your first attempt to monetize your WordPress site, then you can select Amazon Affiliates is the only way I monetize my site

Open the How do you usually build links? dropdown and choose from: Blog Editor, Content Management System, HTML Editor, Manually via text editor, or Other. Open the next dropdown menu and provide an estimate for the total number of unique visitors your application or website attracts per month. Then open the What is your primary reason for joining the Amazon Associates Program? dropdown. You can choose from the following options: To get rich content for my site; To monetize my site; or Other.

Next, let Amazon know how you heard about the Amazon Affiliates program. And finally, prove that you’re not a robot by navigating the CAPTCHA (always everyone’s favourite step!).

Confirm Your Identity 

You'll also need to verify your identity by providing a PIN number to Amazon over the phone.

Enter a telephone number that you can answer right now. Note that at the time of writing, this was an automated service, and I received my phone call within seconds. Select Call Me Now, which generates a PIN. Make sure you keep this information to hand! After a few moments, you should receive a call on the telephone number you provided. When prompted, enter your PIN using your phone’s keypad.

Assuming that you’ve entered your PIN correctly, you should be presented with a Finish button; give it a click and you’ll receive your unique Amazon Associates ID! 

At this point, you can either opt to enter your payment and tax information now or wait until later. You’ll need to provide this information before you can receive any payments, so you may want to complete this step now—to help keep this article's word count under control, I’ll be skipping this step! 

Now that you’re enrolled, you can view all the information from your Amazon Associates account, at any time, by logging in to the Amazon Associates dashboard

How Do I Import Amazon Products?

Before you can retrieve information about Amazon’s products and listings, you’ll need to generate an Access Key ID and a Secret Key, and then share this information with your WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin. 

You can generate these keys using Amazon’s Product Advertising API, but there’s a catch: you can only access the Product Advertising API once your application or website has been manually reviewed by Amazon and you’ve received final acceptance into the Amazon Associates program. In addition, Amazon will only review your application after you’ve generated a minimum of three qualified sales via your referral links, which must occur within 180 days of you joining the Amazon Associates program.

If you haven’t generated these three required sales just yet, then there are a few potential workarounds, but in this tutorial we’ll be bypassing the Access Key ID and Secret Key requirements, by using the WZone Direct Import browser extension

This Chrome extension makes it possible to import products into your WordPress account without having to enter an Access Key ID or a Secret Key. The downside is that the WZone Direct Import extension can only import a single product at a time, which can become tedious if you have a large number of products to import. However, if you’re a new associate who’s eager to get started today, then you can use WZone Direct Import to build a basic store, at which point you can start working towards generating those three initial sales. Once you’ve generated these sales, you’ll gain access to the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates mass import feature, which will make populating your store much easier. 

In this section, I’ll show you how to import a handful of products using the WZone Direct Import browser extension, before looking at how you can get your hands on the necessary Access Key ID and Secret Keys, using the Product Advertising API.

Importing Products With the WZone Direct Import Extension 

To set up the WZone Direct Import browser extension:

  • In your WordPress account, select WZone from the left-hand menu.
  • Select Direct Import Extension.
  • Click the Get the WZone Direct Import Extension here link. This takes you to an external website, where you can install WZone Direct Import. 
  • Select Add to Chrome.
  • Switch back to your WordPress account, and then select WZone > Direct Import Extension from the left-hand menu. 
  • Double-check that the API URL matches your website’s URL, and then click Generate New Key.
  • Select Save the Settings.

A banner should now appear, asking whether you want to authorize this extension; select Authorize. After a few moments, you should see a Website successfully added message.

To import your first product using WZone Direct, first head over to Amazon and find a product that you want to add to your Affiliates store. 

A WZone Direct Import banner should now open along the top of your screen; if you don’t see this banner then click the little arrow icon, and the banner should appear (where the cursor is positioned in the following screenshot).

Click the little arrow to expand the WZone Direct Import banner

Hover over the Where to Import text and select your website from the subsequent dropdown menu. Finally, click the little cloud icon (where the cursor is positioned in the following screenshot).

Click the little cloud icon in the WZone Direct Import banner

After a few moments, you’ll see a notification that this product has been imported successfully. If you switch back to your WordPress Dashboard and select Products > All Products, then you should notice a new item.

Your WordPress dashboard will now feature a new product

If you select View then you’ll see that all of this product’s information has been imported into your website, along with an Add to cart link that’ll allow users to add this item to their shopping cart. Whenever a user is ready to check out, they’ll automatically be redirected to the relevant Amazon page, where they can complete their purchase as normal—and you’ll receive your commission! 

Select View to see the full listing for your imported Amazon product

Generating Amazon Keys: Accessing the Product Advertising API 

Once you’ve generated three qualified sales, the Amazon team will review your website to make sure you’re in compliance with their Associate program’s Operating Agreement. Assuming that you pass this check, your application will be approved and you’ll gain access to Amazon’s Product Advertising API. At this point, you can generate an Access Key ID and a Secret Key and start using the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin to import products en masse, saving you a significant amount of time and effort. 

Let’s look at how you’d generate these keys, using the Product Advertising API: 

  • Head over to the Amazon Associates Console and sign in to your account. 
  • Select the Tools tab, followed by Product Advertising API.
  • Choose Join.
  • When prompted, provide the requested information.
  • On the Success page, select Manage Your Account

From here, select AWS Security Credentials Console. Note that if you don’t already have an AWS (Amazon Web Services) account, then Amazon will create one for you automatically. In the subsequent popup, select Get Started with IAM Users. You will now be guided through the process of creating an IAM user and granting them permission to access the Product Advertising API.

  • Select Add user.
  • Give this user a memorable name, such as ProductAdverting-user.
  • Find the Access Type section, and then select Programmatic access.
  • Select Next: Permissions.
  • Choose Attach existing policies directly.
  • Select Create policy.
  • On the subsequent page, find the Create Your Own Policy section, and choose Select.
  • On the Review Policy page, enter a memorable Policy Name such as AmazonProductAdvertisingAccess.
  • In the Description section, provide some information about this policy, for example: This policy provides full access to the Product Advertising API.

In the Policy Document field, copy/paste the following: 

  • Select Validate Policy, followed by Create Policy.
  • Return to the Add user page. In the Policy Type section, search for and then select the policy you just created. 
  • Select Next: Review and check the information you’ve just entered. If you’re happy to proceed, then click Create user.

You can now either select Download.csv which downloads a CSV file containing your Access Key ID and Secret Key, or you can view your keys as plain text, by selecting Show. Just be aware that for security reasons, you will not be able to retrieve these keys again, so it’s recommended that you download the CSV file and store it somewhere safe. 

Adding Amazon AWS Keys to WordPress

Now you have your Access Key ID and Secret Key, it’s time to share this information with the WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin:

  • In WordPress’s left-hand menu, select WZone > Config.
  • Make sure the General & Amazon tab is selected.
  • Find the Add Multiple Keys section and copy/paste the Access ID Key and Secret Access Key into the two text fields. 
  • While we’re here, open the Amazon Location dropdown and choose the locale where you registered as an Amazon Affiliate.

Now scroll to the Your Affiliate IDs section, and copy/paste your Affiliate ID into the correct geographical location. If you can’t remember your Affiliate ID, then log in to the Amazon Associates dashboard and check the upper-right corner, which contains your unique Affiliate ID.  

Import Hundreds of Amazon Products: WZone’s Insane Mode 

Now we have our keys, we can finally use WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates to import potentially hundreds of Amazon products, with a few clicks of the mouse! 

You can import Amazon products en masse, using the plugin’s Insane mode. This mode provides several import methods, ranging from manually searching for products using a keyword to cherry-picking Amazon’s best sellers, or searching for products using their ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) codes.

To access Insane mode: 

  • In WordPress, select WZone from the left-hand menu.
  • Select Insane Import Mode.

Insane Import Mode is divided into three tabs:

Search for Products

In this tab, you can search for products using a keyword or phrase. Since Amazon sells millions of different products, you may also want to consider restricting your searches to specific Amazon departments, or setting a maximum number of pages that the plugin should search. 

Select the Search for Products tab

Once you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click Launch Search. After a few moments, WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates will return a list of all the products that match your search criteria. At this point, you can select the product(s) that you want to import and make some optional changes, for example restricting the maximum number of images imported per product.

When you’re happy with your selection, click Import products.

Grab Products

This is where you can identify and import products that feature on any of the following Amazon pages: 

To import products that fall into any of these categories:

  • Navigate to one of the above pages.
  • Copy the URL.
  • Switch back to WordPress, and find the Amazon URL field.
  • Open the Page Type dropdown and select the corresponding category from the list, such as Best sellers or Most gifted
  • Click Get ASIN Codes which will return a list of all products that fall within this category.
  • The WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates plugin will now return a list of products. Select all the products that you wish to import. 

When you’re happy with your selection, click Import Product

Already Have a List?

If you have a list of ASIN codes for all the products you want to import, then you can enter this information in the Already have a list? tab. 

  • Find the ASIN Codes section. Either type each code manually, or copy/paste a list of codes into the text box. Whatever approach you take, make sure you place each code on a separate line. 
  • Select Add ASIN Codes to queue. All of your products will now be imported.
  • Review the list of products, and when you’re happy with your selection, click Import Products.

Open for Business: Building Your Amazon Affiliates Store

So far, we’ve enrolled in the Amazon Associates program and imported at least one Amazon product into our WordPress account. At this point, we’re finally ready to build our Amazon Affiliates store and start earning that all-important commission!

You may not have noticed, but when you installed the free WooCommerce e-commerce plugin, it automatically created a Shop page. We can use this page to quickly and easily build a fully functioning Amazon store. 

To view your Shop: 

  • In WordPress, select Pages from the left-hand menu.
  • Select All Pages.
  • Find the Shop page, hover over it, and then click its accompanying View link. This will display your Shop, which should already feature all the products you’ve imported from Amazon. 
Select the Shop page to view the current state of your Amazon-powered store

Select any product to view more information about that product, including its description, any customer reviews, and even some recommendations for related products. 

To test the purchase workflow, select Add To Cart, followed by View cart.

Test the purchase workflow by selecting Add To Cart followed by View cart

Select Proceed to checkout. You will now be redirected to the appropriate section of Amazon, ready for you to complete your purchase. 

Selecting Proceed to checkout will take you to the main Amazon website

There are lots of different ways that you can customize your Amazon Affiliates store, so spend some time exploring WordPress’s various menus. When you’re happy with how your store looks and functions, the only thing left to do is publish it! 

You publish an Amazon Affiliates store just like any other WordPress page—so simply hit that Publish button, and your store will be online and open for business! 

When youre happy with your shop simply click Publish


In this article, I showed you how to set up and publish your own Amazon Affiliates store. If you’ve been following along with this article, then you’ll have enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, imported some initial products, and published your Amazon-powered store, ready to start earning commission. 

If you imported some initial products using the WZone Direct Import browser extension, then your next task is to generate three qualified sales. Once you have three confirmed sales, you’ll be able to create your Access Key ID and Secret Key, and will have access to WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates’ time-saving Insane mode.

While you're here, check out some of our other posts on WooCommerce and WordPress e-commerce!

  • WordPress
    Add Payment Gateways to Your WooCommerce Store
    Rachel McCollin
  • WordPress
    Best Affiliate WooCommerce Plugins Compared
    Eric Dye
  • WooCommerce
    How to Install and Set Up a New WordPress WooCommerce Theme
    Eric Dye
  • WordPress
    20 Best WordPress eCommerce Plugins Available on CodeCanyon
    Daniel Strongin
  • WooCommerce
    20 Best Shipping & Pricing WooCommerce Plugins
    Nona Blackman

April 16 2019

How to Find the Best SaaS Products for your Company

April 12 2019

Illustrator Tutorial: How to Create a Simple Computer Icon

March 29 2019

Illustrator Tutorial: How to Create an iPhone Icon

March 12 2019


So you want to be a UX manager?

I remember a graduate student once asking me if she should continue on to a PhD program after completing her master’s degree. I asked her what she thought the benefits were to getting a PhD; she responded that having a PhD would put her on a faster track into management.

Her thinking was driven by a common and faulty assumption held by many—that eventually, to progress in your career as a UX professional, you have to become a manager.

The truth is, there are many career paths for UX professionals, including many leadership roles that don’t require managing people. In fact, organizations typically need a balance of managers and high-ranking individual contributors (meaning not managing people) to tackle varying leadership responsibilities that require different skill sets.

I’m more confident than ever that management involves distinct and sometimes intrinsic skills, and should not be viewed as the default next step in one’s career progression. And there’s a ton of research that supports this. According to one Gallup study of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries , only one in ten people possess the innate talents needed to be a successful manager. The same study quotes that companies fail to choose the management candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.

In this article, I share the top five things that surprised me most coming out of my first year as a UX manager that the management literature I read didn’t prepare me for. My hope is that my reflections will drive more informed discourse for those considering management as a career ladder transition.

A little about me: After spending seven years working as a user researcher in an individual contributor capacity, I transitioned into a management role at Google one year ago. This has involved managing a team of five full-time user researchers, as well as an intern.

My reflections are specific to managing in-house employees who work for a single company versus those who manage in environments such as consultancies or agencies. I imagine there are overlapping trends across the different work environments, but there are likely differences that my thoughts don’t account for.

1. Being a manager is not about being in the spotlight.

One thing I quickly noticed as a new UX manager is that I’m in the spotlight much less often. This is in part because I no longer deliver an ongoing stream of individual contributor outputs, such as research reports.

Instead, I direct my attention to activities such providing feedback on projects to ensure they align with product goals and quality expectations, bubbling up emerging research insights to leadership, securing headcount and budget, general performance management, and resolving team conflict. A lot of this work involves behind-the-scenes tasks that support a high-level strategy; tasks that, if I do well, are invisible to many.

I admit this initially brought some insecurity for me as a new UX manager. I needed to shift how I defined what success looks like in my new role. I eventually learned that in a healthy work environment, your success as a UX manager is measured by the success and output of your team and not about how many kudos and praise you individually receive as a manager.

There is nothing wrong with being driven by accolades. However, if praise is a primary driver for you, I might question if management is the right path.

Ask yourself:

  • To what extent are you energized and motivated by public recognition?

2. Soft skills supersede hard skills.

Hard skills refer to people’s tangible and often quantifiable abilities, which can typically be acquired through training. Soft skills, on the other hand, refer to things such as the ability to relate to and work well with others.

As a UX manager, you of course need to have that baseline of hard skills to effectively lead and guide your team, to be respected, and to have a common language to collaborative effectively.

In my first year as a manager, however, I used my soft skills much more than my hard skills. UX management heavily involves soft-skill driven tasks: being a strong advocate for user centered design, showing concern for individual success and well-being, serving as an inspiring coach, and building a healthy culture.

Just like nature didn’t give me the inherent abilities to become a great litigator like my husband, I’ve learned that not everyone holds the soft skills needed to be a great UX manager. This doesn’t mean someone is a bad person; it simply means they have other strengths. Unfortunately, many organizations wrongfully promote people into management roles because of their exemplary individual contributor skills or work ethic, not because of their strong soft skills.

If you’re curious to see if soft skills are among your core strengths, I recommend investing in career coaching and exploring personality tests such as StrengthsFinder, True Colors, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you enjoy working through problems that involve regular use of soft skills, such as conflict resolution, coaching, and advocacy?
  • Do your innate strengths align with those quoted by research or your employer as being essential for managers?   

3. Being a manager can be lonely.

It came as a rude surprise to me that being a UX manager can be lonely.

No matter how authentic and approachable you are as a manager, social conventions often result in people consciously or unconsciously filtering their communication with you. You also typically have fewer people in whom you can confide, who are of similar level of responsibility, and are appropriate people to share with.

Let me give you an example. As a manager, I once had a challenging situation in which the right thing to do was to advocate for someone on my team. When the situation caused tension between me and a more senior member of my team, I had few people to talk to. Sharing the conflict with my report served little purpose and would have only made her feel unnecessarily bad, and the private nature of the issue prevented me from sharing details with other managers on the team. Long story short, the situation left me feeling isolated.

I’ve also found that although it’s common for companies to invest heavily in career coaching and planning for individual contributors, fewer resources exist for managers. When resources do exist, they tend to be broad and not specific to the the things that are unique about managing UX professionals (a topic for a forthcoming article!). This can result in even more feelings of isolation, because you might feel unsupported and unguided as you navigate the unique challenges of being a UX manager within your organization.

Before making a career ladder transition into management, see if your company has a mature mentorship program. Such a program should provide opportunities to connect with mentors at and above your level, who are not on your team, and with whom you can be transparent. See if a variety of UX-specific management training is provided.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your organization provide the resources you’ll need to grow and develop as a new and experienced UX manager, including ongoing training and mentorship?
  • Are you okay with having fewer people on your immediate team in whom you can confide regarding work tensions and stressors?

4. Your own manager matters more than ever.

I can’t stress this enough—you won’t be successful as a UX manager unless you have the right manager supporting and encouraging you, especially as a new manager.

Think back to when you were a kid learning to ride a bike for the first time. Your parents no doubt continued to provide praise and coaching as you fell and even perhaps wanted to give up. As a new manager you will fall and make mistakes. When this happens, it’s important to have a manager with whom you can be vulnerable in these moments and who will continue to encourage and mentor you.

One friend of mine, excited for a new career growth opportunity, quickly accepted an offer to manage a team without vetting his prospective manager. The relationship ended up being an unhealthy one for reasons that, in hindsight, my friend could have uncovered upfront in the interview process. My friend suffered terrible anxiety as a result and his career trajectory was adversely impacted. This example might be a bit extreme; but you get my point—consider who your manager will be before accepting that exciting and new management role.

I would also caution against accepting a management role unless you know your manager will give you room to develop your own unique management style that will no doubt be different from his or her own. It’s common to initially mimic a new manager’s style, but we’re all individuals, and you will ultimately see solutions and opportunities that are different from your manager’s viewpoint. Divergent thinking fuels the design process, so this is a good thing!

Finally, it’s important as a new UX manager to have a manager who will help you direct your attention appropriately. User experience managers have a long list of things competing for their attention, and it can be challenging as a new manager to know where to invest your time and energy. Your manager should provide such guidance in collaboration with you.

Ask yourself:

  • Can your potential manager speak to specific examples of how she has supported other managers through growth and learning opportunities?
  • How does your prospective manager describe his ideal hire, and does his description align with building a team of diverse talent and personalities?
  • How have prior reports rated your potential manager on past employee satisfaction surveys?
  • Why did prior managers leave the team, and what do current reports have to say about your prospective manager?
  • Can your prospective manager clearly articulate expectations for how you invest your time as a manager on her team?

5. Managers aren’t incentivized more than others.

If you want to become a UX manager, know that making such a career path change can come with more risks and fewer rewards than you might expect.

First off, there is less need for management roles within organizations than there are individual contributor roles. If your team is downsized or dissolved, your role at the company could be at greater risk than the roles of those who report to you.

Also, if you’re unhappy in a particular role as a manager or lose your job for whatever reason, you’re going to have a harder time transitioning to a different role within or outside of your organization.

I’ve watched many experienced managers become stuck in their careers because they can’t find management roles that match their qualifications and experience. While it is possible to transition back into an individual contributor role after being a manager, the transition can be hard; some hiring managers might view you as being overqualified for individual contributor work or might question how committed you are to an individual contributor role. I disagree with this thinking, but it nonetheless can be a blocker.

In terms of pay and perks, UX managers don’t always make more money. In fact, when you account for longer hours worked, managers can make even less money than those who report to them.

At Google, for example, employees often receive extra income through a perk called a Spot Bonus, for which people are nominated in response to things such as product launches. These bonuses can result in several thousands of dollars of extra income per year. Because I did much less individual contributor work during my first year as a manager I received just one Spot Bonus; in previous years I received several. This resulted in a decrease in my annual income.

Ask yourself:

  • How comfortable are you with being susceptible to layoffs or reorganizations that might result in opportunity or job loss?
  • To what extent is your income a motivator for you at work?
  • How might you feel about knowing one of your reports makes more money than you do?

Should you become a UX manager?

Ultimately, this is a question that requires a lot of exploration and that comes down to factors such as your values, your personality and strengths, and how you derive energy. I hope the questions I’ve provided are helpful as a starting point in your explorations.

Honestly, for most people, management probably isn’t the right career ladder, especially if your sole motivation is wanting to advance your career trajectory; if the aforementioned is true, it’s only a matter of time before you fall victim to the Peter Principle, which comes with a long list of career damaging and negative psychological consequences.

If you’re interested in further exploring if management is the right career path for you, let me leave you with a few resources that have been helpful to me.

Thank you  

I’d also like to leave a note of appreciation for all of the great managers I’ve had in the past who have gone out of their way to elevate and support me throughout my career. I now have clarity as to the challenges you were no doubt facing and how you set aside those challenges in pursuit of supporting me.

Thanks also to my career coach Tracey Lovejoy , whose teaching and feedback helped inspire and inform this article.

The post So you want to be a UX manager? appeared first on Boxes and Arrows.

February 27 2019


Why Design Tokyo

Adobe’s principal designer Khoi Vinh was asked to share some words on stage at Why Design Tokyo, a new event for user experience design.

Why Design Tokyo

The aim of Khoi’s talk was to encourage designers in Japan to “get out of their daily routines and take a new step” in their practice. He shared his slides and they give a good, quick lesson in the value of design. Here’s a nonconsecutive glimpse.

Why Design Tokyo

Why Design Tokyo

Why Design Tokyo

Khoi mentions Uber and Lyft as examples of firms where design has been instrumental, but where change is led by technology. He then talks about the difference between change that’s led by technology and change led by design.

Why Design Tokyo

Why Design Tokyo

So how can design lead change?

Why Design Tokyo

Why Design Tokyo

Why Design Tokyo

All slides are below. I’m sure they did the trick.

Via Khoi’s post The First Time I Went to Japan.

February 25 2019

Ways to Keep the Mobile Experience in the Forefront of Your Website’s Design

December 24 2018

Dynamic Social Sharing Images

December 23 2018

Designing Your Site Like It’s 1998

December 22 2018

How to Use Audio on the Web

December 21 2018

Jank-Free Image Loads

December 20 2018

Clip Paths Know No Bounds

December 19 2018

Fast Autocomplete Search for Your Website

December 18 2018

Develop Your Naturalist Superpowers with Observable Notebooks and iNaturalist

December 17 2018

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like XSSmas

December 16 2018

The System, the Search, and the Food Bank

December 15 2018

Designing Your Future

December 14 2018

Researching a Property in the CSS Specifications

December 13 2018

Inclusive Considerations When Restyling Form Controls

December 12 2018

The (Switch)-Case for State Machines in User Interfaces
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.
Get rid of the ads (sfw)

Don't be the product, buy the product!