When it comes to explaining the difference between product design and UX design it’s important to note that although both roles are involved with the design of a product, they actually focus on different areas and require a unique set of skills. Product designer and UX designer roles can vary in skills required within different types of companies, but you can identify the different set standards of skills it takes to be one or the other.
Overall, both the product designer and the UX designer have the same goal, to ensure a product is not only fit for market consumption but succeeds in pleasing the customers. While they have different specified focuses throughout the development process, these roles or departments utilize a strong sense of visual design.
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Here are the key differences between Product Design and UX Design:
Ultimately product design involves the entire design process of a product, including project management, early brainstorming, UX, and the business-related aspects by keeping the user’s experience in mind. You can think of product design as the all-encompassing steps necessary to develop a product digital or physical.
As mentioned product design responsibilities take into account the business side of creating a product heavily, as opposed to focusing on more of the design specifics. What this means is they analyze how a product will perform in the market and match consumer needs and preferences, while also overseeing that this is accounted for in the final product.
The role of a product designer is essentially leadership oriented, they end up managing various aspects of the project while also contributing to the design process. As product designers, they will oversee these ideas as they go through the design pipeline, from inception and prototyping to the final product and market analysis. Part of the product designer's role involves being the communicator between the design team and the business team, and again ensuring that all needs are met. This is an important part of their role that is a key differentiating factor.
- Everything in UX
- Project management
- Business Acumen
- Analytics and Data
UX design on the other hand focuses on the user experience and solving usability issues by ensuring products follow a logical flow and that it fulfills the user’s needs. It’s all in the details for UX designers, when users can browse and navigate through a product with ease the better the user experience is for them.
UX designers are considered to be more design-focused due to the amount of design they’re involved in during the development process, not overseeing but rather creating the actual prototypes and wireframes needed, along with other user experience factors.
While the product designer’s role includes the business side of the process, UX designers also have to consider certain aspects of the market in order to appease current design trends and follow standard behavioral interactions taken on applications. For example, most dating applications such as Tinder and Bumble, use a swipe right and swipe left function to indicate matches you like and dislike. This feature is so standard now that users often automatically will swipe right and left on other applications. This interaction has become intuitive for users because of the high success of those two applications. This is a great example of why UX designers need to stay in the know of market trends and features when designing.
- User Research
- User Interviews
- Information Architecture
- Wireframes and Prototyping
While product design and UX design do overlap in certain ways, the differences between these roles can be best explained when looking at the goals each role typically adheres to. Product designers are concerned about the overall results of the product, how it will perform in the market, has this process been economical, and prioritizing other business issues. Whereas UX designers focus on usability and direct interaction users will have with the product. Both departments are incredibly important to the process of creating a successful product and utilizing each one’s specific skills.
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