Technology

Product Design vs UX Design – main differences

Marlena Walburg
Product Design vs UX Design - main differences

There are many stages in the entire digital product development process. One of them is generally called design. Most people will probably associate it with the visual representation of an application, website, or any software. This is not a wrong association, but it certainly does not cover all aspects of this complex process. The multitude of names for design roles in the development team can also complicate this issue. However, before you say that certain designers do not differ from each other and why all these individual roles are for, it is worth considering them deeply. Designing is not as trivial as it seems and is not limited to drawing mockups. This process includes a series of research on various groups, analyzes, and identification of needs. All of this applies not only to the business but also largely to the end-users of your product.

So let’s look at the roles of Product Designer and UX Designer. At first glance, both roles focus on creating better products for users. They both base their actions on behavioral and data analysis. These are separate positions for a reason, though. Not all of their obligations coincide, or they do not occur at the same stage of application development. And in the design process of such responsibilities, there is much more than you might think. Product Designer and UX Designer approaches will also differ a bit. Let us delve thoroughly into the aspects of working in these two positions and let us dispel any doubts.

What is Product Design?

Product design is the process of creating a product that meets both the needs of users and the necessities of the business. It is much more than just a look at the product. The key to successful product design is understanding the end-user for whom the product is being built. It is essential to ensure that problems to be solved in business turn into unique experiences for users who also need solutions and appropriate functionalities. Thus, product design includes taking care of the user but also a strong focus on meeting business goals. This process involves continuous monitoring and taking care of the development, analysis, and improvement of the product. It is a multidisciplinary field that requires many skills from those who work on it.

What does a Product Designer do?

The role is quite flexible and, as already mentioned, multi-faceted, demanding and skill-intensive. This is a relatively new role in the world of software development and was created as a response to the lack of a holistic approach to product development. Product Designer uses a variety of tools and processes to design solutions to problems that may arise during the initial process and later. They have to work to ensure the success of the product, guarantee that it is the most suitable, functional and cost-effective. They supervise the entire development process and pay attention to both the satisfaction and fulfilment of stakeholder requirements and goals, as well as the user experience. They need to learn what the business challenges are, what motivates business decisions and the needs of product managers, sales representatives and other key stakeholders. They work closely with the development team, collaborate on tests, and even have insight into the marketing strategy and assure brand consistency. Product Designers continue to work on a product after it is released to the market. They are working on developing and improving it with each new release.

What is UX Design?

UX (User Experience) is the whole spectrum of feelings that the user experiences when using the product. Designing user experience is associated with special attention to the fact that interaction with products provides users with positive experiences. Such a product should present itself in a way that is attractive to the user, be functional, useful, ergonomic, and using it should be enjoyable and rewarding. As with product design, UX design is less about the appearance of the product, and more about the way users function and interact with it. This doesn’t mean that it completely ignores interface issues, but that’s what UI design does. How important is UX? Well, a design created without paying attention to the UX may look nice, but in the end, it’s the ease of use, hassle-free navigation, and the overall impression that will be neglected that will make users put your product away. If they get frustrated with the way your app or site works, they’ll have trouble completing the tasks they’re trying to complete. Ultimately, they will be more likely to ditch your product in favour of competitors. Hence, a good UX that complements a great application’s look is a key to success. 

What is the role of a UX Designer?

Basically, UX Designers focus on user satisfaction and ensuring that the product meets their needs. When designing, they focus on user interaction with the product and making it as intuitive and satisfying as possible. Through continuous research of the target group, they ensure continuous improvement of the usability and availability of the product. They have to try walking in the shoes of the people who will be using the product under development and think like them. In this way, and by carrying out various tests, UX Designers can understand the expectations of users. When designing the UX side of the application, the designers follow certain rules that ensure the quality and good acceptance of the system. This basic principle is to create a transparent, intuitive flow and operation of the application. Besides, their work often requires knowledge about design patterns and, above all, the foundation of the UX field, which is psychology. UX Designers should be involved from the very beginning in the product discovery and design process. Although they do most of their work at this stage, they must constantly check that the delivered product meets user requirements and control the developers’ work to some extent.

Product Design vs UX Design – differences

The work of UX Designers and Product Designers is slightly different. They differ in their approach to the same issues. The UX Designer will consider whether the product created is easy to use, intuitive, and the Product Designer will focus on the sense of creating it and launching it in the current competition. Once the UX Designer thinks over the product’s user-friendly issues, Product Designer will consider the profitability of the application being created. Of course, it’s not that one role is more concerned with business goals and ignoring the user, and the other way around. Both Product Designer and UX Designer will have in mind the needs of users and stakeholders, but they will have a different point of view and priorities in their work. Usability is a priority for the UX Designer. For a Product Designer, what matters is business, the entire process, cost and budget compliance, as well as the brand and product consistency with it. Both roles require a high level of design skills. In a way, the job specification of a Product Designer requires a higher level of decision-making and entrepreneurship, and the UX Designer includes more detailed design responsibilities, including research and wireframe models.

In many cases, Product Designers have a broader range of skills, and thus a broader range of responsibilities within a project. However, this is not a rule, especially considering that in many markets, as it is in Poland, UX Designers are also UI Designers. Therefore, they also have the task of creating the entire application interface. When looking at the global market, Product Designers usually receive higher remuneration, and there is a greater demand for them. However, this is relative and depends on the company and the scale of the project.

So are there any similarities between Product Design and UX Design?

Actually, there are many similarities. For many people, these roles are virtually the same for a reason. However, we have proved that this is not entirely true, and there are some differences in the characteristics of their jobs. Both the UX Designer and the Product Designer follow the same design thinking process. Both roles are also human-oriented and require some research and market analysis. While their priorities are quite different, none of these designers ignores the business or user issue because they know that everything has to complement each other. Very often, Product Designer and UX Designer use the same tools, such as Sketch, to create application skeletons, but there are many more.

Summary

Over the years of technology development, the emergence of new software development tools, and a change of approach, new roles have also evolved. Some of them are derived from old, already existing professions, but as the focus was on new problems and solving them, the need to create separate roles was very strong. Nevertheless, the goal in this case of Product Designer and UX Designer is to create an amazing product. Currently, the design is a fundamental element of business, and it includes properly implemented strategies and development. With today’s demand for new digital products, without paying proper attention to design, it will not be likely to successfully deliver any project. Let’s hope that now the differences and nuances between the Product Designer and the UX Designer are clear to you.

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