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Product design is a relatively new term, especially compared to UX design. We decide to ask Product designers "What is product design and how different from UX design?"
Product designers from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Adobe, Dropbox and other companies explained.
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Product Strategist and Designer — 10+ Startups, $60M Invested
One of the most significant differences between user experience and product design is the range of scope. Traditional UX is seen as a specialization in which a designer's primary focus is to optimize the design and usability of the product whereas Product Design is more or less an accumulative knowledge of multiple disciplines. Now, this doesn't mean that the product designer lacks specialization. Instead, it symbolizes a broader mandate of design for an entire product.
What does this mean? In essence, product design represents the next expansion of designers roll within a product's lifecycle and business as a whole, away from just user experience design or specializations in general. This moves designers towards disciplines such as functional ergonomics, technical design, marketing, and more.
UX Lead and Product Design Manager at Facebook, formerly Google
Both Product and UX design strive to create excellent experiences that meet users needs and goals. Perhaps the biggest nuance is that Product Design is less specialized and more holistically focused on the end to end product development lifecycle.
Product Designers traditionally focus on creating experiences at the cross-section of business requirements and user goals using data, research and analytics to discover latent needs, pain points, and/or identify new product opportunities with consideration for the different touch-points users will encounter along their journeys.
ROI of the experience, metrics by which the experience will be measured, all facets of Design and overall strategy for the product offering are top of mind throughout the process.
Strategic Development Manager at Adobe XD
I refer to product design as a subset of the entire user experience. It’s the process of designing digital software from start to finish. Product Design includes user research, mapping out touchpoints, wireframing, prototyping, testing, designing brand elements, building a design system, collaborating with a developer, and publishing to the marketplace. Product designers create the software that the end user interacts with. While experience design encompasses how customers engage with your brand. UX includes everything from the design of a digital product, to customer success, understanding your market, and guiding customers to accomplish a task from start to finish. Experience design is the whole shabang.
Product Design Lead at Facebook
Everything that is man-made around you is designed by someone including the software you use on your phones, watches, computers, TVs and cars.
Regardless of what you make, the process largely remains the same, and that is the beauty of product design.
Product Design is the Choirmaster of a well orchestrated symphony of efficiency. One hand of the Choirmaster is Interaction, Graphic, Visual and Motion design, and the other is User Research, Content Strategy, Data Science and Business Science. Prototypes are the wand of the Choirmaster.
The best Choirmasters help in producing memorable and seamless user experiences that make us feel delighted and stick with us forever.
Anthony Neil Dart
Snr Product Designer — Microsoft
For me they are indistinguishable from each other - one can not separate limbs from the body and expect good results, as in architecture one must think holistically and coherently - it must function as lesser parts of a whole - the aesthetics of space and the practicality of engineering use and safety etc this is how I think of product design and UX at the atomic level one can not rightly exist without the other.
Product Design at Google
Product design is an all encompassing term for any designer that creates end-to-end design solutions. Traditionally, UX designers may consider user research, strategy, information architecture, usability heuristics, content, and more. Product designers do all of this while also considering visual design, motion, branding, and hand-off processes with engineers. Both UX Designers and Product Designers are capable of using research, strategy, and business insights to create product concepts as well, often collaborating with engineering and product management to do so.
Product Designer at Microsoft
Great Product Design starts at the very beginning of a project. A challenge is identified and a spark of inspiration is needed. Product Design asks “What If?” It develops an insight, vision, and plan before the first wireframe has been started. The process can take a designer through drafting, info architecture, UX, UI, motion design, Production, and QA. Or it can be a bolt of inspiration and 30 minutes in the designer’s chair. Product Design is a fluid process for solving concrete challenges.
Product Designer at Dropbox
I believe product design is a more holistic discipline where designers are embedded in the whole product development process from the onset of a project. They possess strong product thinking and business acumen, they seek out, understand and are informed by qual. and quant. data in addition to possessing strong craft skills like interaction, visual design and prototyping.
UX Evangelist | Product Designer | Cognitive Designer
Product design is one of the latest trending buzzword that has been added to the designer bucket list and it’s confusing because the product designers have been around for a long time, they are the industrial designers that actually design physical products.
And since we perfectly blurred the line between reality and virtual world, we are taking advantage of this title in the digital.
Following is just my personal interpretation of product designer and UX designer:
UX Designer has to think about the experience as a whole, including the visual aspect, information architecture, create user flows, interview users and review the analytics find the pain points and features that could be improved. strong advocate for the user.
Product Designer expands the scope beyond the product and help set the goals for the product, determine the product strategy and prioritize features to achieve it. Is not only advocating for the users, also an advocate for the company and organization.
Product Designer II at Microsoft
In my opinion, I would first like to say that I believe there is a lot of cross over between product design and UX. Both of these involve design thinking and have the goal of improving an overall experience for the end-user. I think the primary difference is that product designers may focus more on keeping the business requirements in mind, whereas a UX designer will primarily advocate for the optimal user experience. As a product designer, I also consider my responsibilities to include providing a direction for the look and feel of the user interface and working within implementation requirements while keeping the user experience in mind.
Product designer. Creator of Degreeless.design
Product Design is way more holistic than UX. In my opinion, the titling is largely in response to the way organizations often pigeonhole designers into one output (UX deliverables, visual design, prototypes, etc) rather than an outcome. Product Designers are intentionally aligning to the outcome. True product design is designing a product that aligns business needs to real human needs. You’ll also have your hands on most, if not all, steps of the process. It might sound like a jack of all trades thing, but it really is about being an expert in merging the product world with the customer’s reality and seeing how that impacts all the steps of the design process.
Product Designer, Agile SDLC
Product Design is an art of equally balancing a clear understanding of the end users needs and expectations of a smooth journey with your product, with that of the business . Product Design must incorporate every single users journey that interacts with the product or software as well and then design a solution to fit. It’s the ability to look at the entire solution holistically in the early stages of discovery through to delivery.
The art of being a brilliant Product Designer is the ability to take all this knowledge and information, then build a product solution that fulfills the needs of both.
Product Designer / Amazon Alexa (new initiatives)
I am a trained industrial designer - early in my career, industrial design and product designer were interchangeable as the majority of products being developed were hardware based with motors, or other tech bits inside. In that sense, UX design has usually been framed as the experience a customer has centered around the screen-based experience. The ID designer being most concerned about the physical usability (ergonomics, appealing aesthetics, and feature placement), and the UX designer being most concerned with the ease of navigation though the digital experience ensuring customers locate and activate features quickly and intuitively.
Today, more products have shifted to being totally virtual (like architecture tools on a Microsoft Hololens, or graphic design tools like Adobe CC) and I think in many cases, particularly in the tech industry, Product Design conjures up the idea of virtual products as the default output over hard-line products I'm accustomed to manufacturing. Given the modern re-contextualization of product design, I tend to view the discipline as being concerned with the artifact a customer interacts with (virtual or physical), how they engage with it at a consumer level (what is the promise?), what value that product generates as outputs for that customer (does it solve a problem well?), and what might be the long term impact of supporting that product for a company (can I trust the company to support this item long term?). UX design still tends to be focused processes within the product, specifically tasking themselves on minimizing the number of steps required to complete a task, elevating the most important or meaningful features to the forefront of the user's experience within that product, and ultimately reducing the mental load of navigating a product interface (physical or digital) through streamlining complexity.
Generally, as a whole, both product designers and UX designers should be concerned with implementing the right features into an experience to solve legitimate customer needs and ideally delighting them in the process.
Product Designer at NCR Corporation
Unlike a UX Designer, a Product Designer is tasked with making sure the needs of all stakeholders of the product are met. For many software products, this can include goals of the company building the product and goals of the companies buying the product in addition to the end users. How can features meet multiple needs all at the same time? And when they can't, how do you prioritize which goals are more important? It's a Product Designers job to work cross-functionally and answer all these questions.
Product Designer at Docker
In short, I think UX Design is one facet of Product Design. To me, UX design is prescribing a solution where the output will likely be something consumed via a phone or computer. Product Design I think is much broader and less prescriptive. The outcome could be a message, or a brand or a service that isn't tied to traditional webpage or app.
Incoming Product Design Intern at Facebook
The word product design is constantly evolving and expanding. In my opinion, product design is now beyond UX -- it includes the entire product cycle from problem identification to execution and iteration. It's almost like a bridge that connects from users to business. We product designers have to constantly think about both ends and be the voice of the users and the product.
Junior Designer & Incoming Product Design Intern at Facebook
To me, product design is the all encompassing process of design, from research to developer handoff. It's like thinking a bit broader. UX to me is a specific step and part of the process.