Here at Portable...

...we care about people and the world. We seek out areas of social need and policy failure and make transformational change using research, design and technology. Our clients are as passionate as we are and are working in government agencies, nonprofit organisations and socially-minded businesses.

There are currently 70+ of us working as researchers, strategists, designers, technologists and producers towards our mission from our studio in Collingwood and working remotely from their homes around the country. Our Experience Design team works to translate people's needs into meaningful and useable products and services through ideation, testing and implementation, as well as creating impactful visual communications and brand identities.


Then there's you... Experience Designer Manager who loves working closely with a passionate and talented bunch of designers to empower them to solve real problems for real people. As a Design Manager at Portable, your job is first and foremost to provide support, clarity, engagement and learning for the people you lead.

You've worked as a designer (and with other designers) for long enough to understand the ins and outs of the experience. You work to create the right conditions for discovery, empathy, collaboration, creativity and experimentation to thrive. You ensure that the people you lead have the capability and tools to deliver on their projects. You also work to ensure that the design practice is regularly improved through the contribution of new tools, processes, methodologies and approaches.

Throughout your career, you’ve developed your own authority in the practice of user experience and interface design. You use your broad and deep experience delivering high quality work to guide team members towards impactful outcomes on projects ranging from UX/UI design, interaction design, visual communication and branding as well as prototyping and testing of digital products and services.

Whilst you can sit in the ambiguity of complex problems, you're solution-focused. When problems arise, you don't just flag them; you take the responsibility to find solutions and bring others on that journey with you. You are comfortable assessing and making reasoned compromises and can support others to do the same.

You're human-centred not only in your approach to design, but in your ability to lead with empathy with people and clients at all levels of experience. You work to build the engagement of your team in their work, and give effective feedback that helps them learn and grow. You're courageous enough to have challenging conversations when required, with people at all levels of experience.


You'll be expected to have knowledge and experience in these areas:

  • Demonstrated experience managing, mentoring and leading designers and teams to deliver great design work
  • Experience scaling and managing design systems
  • Technical knowledge and experience in user experience design methodologies and their application to digital design and product outcomes
  • Familiarity with the human-centred design process, and how cross-disciplinary teams can take problems from discovery and problem definition through to prototyping, testing, iteration and implementation
  • Understanding of inclusive design and best practice accessibility
  • Experience with visual communication and brand identity design


As a Design Manager, you’ll be expected to deliver the following outcomes:

  • You and the people you lead are engaged, growing and delivering high quality work on time and on budget
  • Guidance, shaping and intervention where required on the delivery of high quality design work that clearly demonstrates meeting the needs of users and our clients
  • Develop, enhance, optimise and share best practice methods and tools that evolve our design practice for clients and research participants
  • Yourself and the people you lead are engaged in contributing to Portable as a business, including co-defining and executing on our strategic objectives and aligning them with the goals and daily operations of your team


If you were here last week, you may have:

  • Provided guidance and feedback to the team on digital product concepts to help dying people and those who are caring for them to find support and resources
  • Coached a member of the team who reports to you to grow their capability presenting designs to senior stakeholders
  • Negotiated with our Production team and the client on the scope and timeframes for a project to help separating couples resolve their property disputes amicably
  • Ran an internal workshop to help create a more efficient and collaborative process between research and design
  • Planned and facilitated a Design discipline meeting **with the rest of the Experience Design team to share practice reflections and insights
  • Shared something weird and wonderful that you're strangely passionate about at our fortnightly Design Safari, where anyone can share the things from outside our work that inspire them (we’ve had sessions on data science, meditation, art movements, typography, storytelling and many more)
  • Contributed your expertise to improving the way our team of Experience Designers conduct best-practice research into accessible interface design
  • Taken a moment on a Friday afternoon to join the team for some Pictionary or trivia to see out the week


Some of the benefits of working with us:

We care about the experience and wellbeing of our team. Here are some of the benefits our team enjoys:

  • We support a flexible working environment whether its from home or the office or a cafe
  • As well as our Melbourne headquarters, we have co-working spaces for our team in Brisbane, Sydney and Darwin, and are interested in expanding into more locations around Australia too
  • We're a family-friendly company who offer parental leave and part-time arrangements to allow for things like pick-ups and drop-offs or sick children
  • A feedback-friendly culture, where we make space for open and respectful sharing of feedback that helps us grow
  • We support our team taking mental health days as personal leave that they don’t need to explain or have a medical certificate for
  • Employee Assistance Program with The Mindroom for general wellbeing check-ins, assistance with career planning, or working through difficult or challenging circumstances
  • Twice-yearly salary reviews with no minimum service period
  • Our team can grow their career with our structured career pathways, generous professional development allowance and hands-on learning opportunities
  • Ongoing leadership coaching and development for leaders in the business
  • Indigenous cultural awareness training for our entire team
  • We work on meaningful projects that seek to have a positive impact in the world
  • Referral programs in place that can earn team members $1500 per successful referral



The salary band for this role is between $120,000 - $150,000 per annum (plus superannuation), depending on your level of experience. Our salary bands are reviewed twice a year and externally verified to ensure we remain competitive with market rates.


How to apply:

We are committed to building a diverse and equal team. People from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

To be considered, please send us your resume and a cover letter answering the following questions:

  • What has attracted you to this role and why would you be a good fit?
  • Tell us about a challenging people management experience where you’ve helped a designer learn, grow and perform.

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