Since companies have different demands from their designers, it is hard to tell a solid difference between product design and UX design in terms of the job description. Despite sharing many functional similarities, they are slightly different from each other. While the UX designers focus on the specific aspects of the product usage, the product designers’ work domain is more generalized.
1. Focus and responsibilities
Their main difference is about the groups whom they are responsible for. The product designers focus more on the requirements of the business compared to the UX designers who firstly care about users’ needs. To give an example, a product designer thinks about the compatibility of the product designing process with the future goals of the business. But a UX designer focuses purely on various usability problems of the users. That is why we can consider that responsibility as a difference as it requires product designers to consider other situations. The focal point of the design changes the way work is done.
2. Method to design
Along with their focus, their working methods differ. UX designers’ main concern is to elaborate on how the product feels. To focus on this, they work through writing product user scenarios and constructing interaction patterns. They prototype an interface for the product. They track what users do through various kinds of testing methods such as A/B testing and email surveys. However, product designers are more involved in the creation of the look and feel of a whole product. They give insight into how certain parts of the product should operate. They find a market opportunity and strategic how to implement the solution to the problems.
3. Skills to use in design
There is no doubt that high design skills are the key to both jobs. Along with the problem-solving and communication skills both jobs require in common, there are small differences in the skill range, too. The product designers need a higher level of decision making and business foresight, whereas the UX designers focus on more specific design responsibilities. Product designers are responsible for making general decisions during the design process. Hence they need skills such as UI design, user research, visual design. Meanwhile, UX designers should have expertise in prototyping tools. The required skills from UX designers include skills to create process flows and sitemaps, workflow diagramming skills and user feedback collecting skills.
4. Tools needed
Another slight difference is the tools they make use of. In general, both of them rely on similar design software, including prototyping tools. In addition to that, product designers use mind mapping tools and sketch tools, while UX designers use wireframe design tools and interactive design tools. Here is a list of UX tools you should check out if you are interested in UX design. Even though their main objectives are close, the relationship between product design and UX design shows a good case of a division of labor. Both of them are essential for a business to create a difference. Even though their focus questions are different, they both help to create loyal customers by prioritizing the users’ problems and developing a product that solves those problems.