Design | 9 min read
Product Designer vs UX Designer: Difference, Comparison and Responsibilities
A lot of entrepreneurs face a dilemma when it comes to hiring designers for their businesses. What’s the difference between a product designer and a UX designer?
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Often designers believe they can cope with the product’s tasks, having no relevant working experience in this position. Employers who are looking for a product designer also make a mistake by hiring a UI/UX designer as a Product Designer. It leads to the misconceptions in definitions.
Due to the high popularity of the profession and, consequently, the desire of companies to develop products cheaper and faster, the fine line of the product designer responsibilities is blurred.
The differences between product design and UX design become more significant when it comes to the different approaches to the processes, thinking and priorities. In this article we’d like to lay out all the key differences and similarities, so you’ll never get confused in defining the role of product designer and a UX designer again.
Product Designer vs UX Designer: General Definitions, Similarities and Differences
In its core, a product designer is a full-stack specialist who thinks about the compatibility of the product designing process with the future goals of the business.
What does a product designer do? They are responsible for all user interaction from advertising to support. Product designer’s responsibilities are at the junction of interaction design and research. They involve a lot of analysis and specific problem-solving.
A product designer is a savvy person with relevant experience in marketing and research, though they are less proficient in UI.
UX designers explore many different approaches to solving a specific user problem. They research many behavioral patterns and work out the variety of ways how the specific app can solve users’ problems. These designers can work faster than others on ideas, iteration by iteration. Shortly, a UX designer role is to ensure the logical product flow from one step to the next.
UX Designer vs Product Designer: Similarities
Both types of designers require the skill set for the Design Thinking Process. Here we mean:
discover and define a usability problem;
solve usability problems;
take a human-centered approach to the problem and users' needs.
Both UX Design and Product Design require the designer to be focused on creating a better overall product for the end-user.
Both UX Design and Product Design use similar tools during their process. The way of managing the data is another similarity. Both types of designers are expected to focus on quantifying and analyzing data well.
UX Designer vs Product Designer: Differences
The core difference lies in the definition of UX design and Product Design. Product Design is an integrated approach of building a new product from the very beginning to the end. It includes everything from market research, identifying problems, developing the product to coming up with informed solutions.
Whereas the UX design is about creating products that provide a meaningful experience to users. It includes the design of the entire process of branding, prototyping, usability, and function.
Another difference is the focal point. The product designers focus more on the requirements of the business compared to the UX designers who firstly care about users’ needs. But a UX designer focuses purely on various usability problems of the users.
Methods of design also differ. As we mentioned before, UX designers’ main concern is to elaborate on the users’ feelings towards the product. To maximize the UX, they work through writing product user scenarios and constructing interaction patterns. Then they prototype an interface for the product and track what users do through various kinds of testing methods.
On the contrary, product designers are involved in the creation of the general impression of a whole product. They propose market opportunities and strategize how to implement the solution to the problems. Also, product designers give insight into how certain parts of the product should operate.
Product design is your brand. Product designers work on the background of the entire business. It means that the product design team has to communicate closely with the marketing team and understand its functioning.
Skills for effective work for Product and UX designers vary. The product designers need a higher level of decision-making and business foresight, whereas the UX designers focus on more specific design responsibilities.
As product designers are decision-makers during the design process, they need skills such as user research, research/data analysis. The required UX designers skill set include creation of flows and sitemaps, workflow diagramming skills and user feedback collecting skills.
You can also read our detailed guide on how to hire UX designer if you think that you need a UX designer exactly.
The Difference in Responsibilities of Product Designer and UX Designer
There are many overlaps in role requirements between a product designer and a UX designer. In order to better understand the job requirements for both, let’s have a look at their roles in detail.
Product Designer Role Responsibilities
Responsibility itself is the main skill of an effective product designer. And that is just the beginning. What else should a product designer do?
Lead the experience design and deliver concepts to product owners and engineers;
Create a strategy for the product;
Translate that strategy into a product roadmap;
Have a comprehensive understanding of product design, including visual design, experience design;
Set specific design requirements based on information from internal teams and user research and analytics;
Set up a product improvement opportunities;
Analyze how a new product satisfies market needs and consumer preferences;
Ensure proper communication with the market;
Adapt and revise existing designs to meet users’ preferences;
Present product design ideas to cross-functional teams and senior leadership.
UX Designer Role Responsibilities
Good UX designers should be curious, passionate, empathetic, and have excellent time management skills. So, what a user experience designer should actually do?
Conduct user research to learn about their behavior, goals, motivations, and needs;
Create personas and scenarios;
Develop wireframes and prototypes around user needs;
Create surveys to gather feedback on users’ satisfaction with the company website and products;
Create seamless navigation through various digital programs and interfaces to enhance user experience;
Produce clear, user-centric design across mobile, desktop, web, and hardware endpoints;
Partner closely with developers, QA, and product managers to rapidly iterate designs based on user feedback, tech constraints, and market dynamics;
Grasp the interface style and layout of the product. Compose the text of the key page.
When Should You Hire a Product Designer and UX Designer?
A product designer is a bridge between the development team and the users at all stages of product creation.
A product designer is indispensable for the projects focused on the highest quality. They will be responsible for the concept of the product in general. Product development is important, but the main focus will be taken on the tasks of building a brand, offering effective solutions, etc.
If you have a project, e.g. an online store with many points of interaction, or a website for your business, hire a UX designer. In this case, the UX designer pays attention to the product selection and checkout process to reduce the level of user stress. As a result, smart solutions will reduce the bounce rate, including abandoned carts and abandoned payments.
If you have a startup — online services, or an app which will constantly have improvements and changes, there’s always a need for a product designer. If you have a design team, the product designer will work closely with them over the whole history of the product. The most successful projects use the following model: create a product - get feedback from users - make improvements based on the feedback received.
For such projects, a high-quality design approach is essential. Unlike developers, UX-writers, or testers, product designers' areas of expertise and skills are broader and important at every step of the product development process.
As you may concern from this article, the competition called “UX design vs Product design” is quite tricky. While a product designer must also focus on the needs of the business, a UX designer’s primary focus is making users happy.
Both of them are essential for a business to create a difference. Even though their focus questions, responsibilities and skills are quite different, they both help to create loyal users by prioritizing the users’ problems and developing a product that solves those problems.
Contact us and we’ll help you to define the UX designer role as well as a product designer. If you have a project that needs support, don’t hesitate to write to us.