Product Designer or UX Designer?


#1

Hey guys,

I’m finding myself in a dilemma and could really use someone to talk this out with. I’m not sure whether I should label myself as a “UX Designer” or a “Product Designer”. I believe I have the skills and experience to fill either of these roles, but I’m not sure which one would be a better fit.

I’ve been reading about it and I align more with product design, but I’m not sure what the position is like in the real world.

What are your experiences in your offices with the difference between these two positions?


#2

It depends upon the role that you are looking for. They both are similar to one another.

In my opinion, UX designer role is purely into Wireframing, Research, User workflow etc… where as a Product designer is mainly focused on Visual & UI design etc.


#3

Hi ya,
Do you need to label yourself as either? Or do you mean that you’re not sure which roles to apply for?


#4

Thanks for getting back to me so fast, @merocraigslist and @HAWK!

I guess it’s not so much about the label itself, but yes, more that I’m unsure which role to apply for. Are there any differences between these two positions in the real world? Scope? Salary? Potential for promotion? If I label myself as a UX designer, would it disqualify me for a Product position, or vice versa?

Does that make sense?


#5

I’m technically an industrial designer which is essentially product design but I tend to call myself a UX Professional. I guess I do it because it feels like the right fit for me. I play in a lot of different areas (user research, design, content and IA) and I feel that UX Professional accurately captures all that.

It depends. I’ve never come across anyone completely set in one role description and one career pathway. Scope changes over time and roles can naturally transform based on what the business needs. It’s quite fluid. Will it disqualify you? Probably not because it still all lives under the UX umbrella- there’s still that delicate balance between user needs, tech constraints and the goals of the business. I wouldn’t worry about getting stuck- there’s huge amounts of cross over and many ways to add value eg perspective, transferable skills, human skills etc.


#6

Thanks, Ashlea, that’s very helpful. :slight_smile: I think ‘UX Professional’ probably fits me the best too. I’ve always played many different roles as well, basically doing everything needed to get the job done. I love it that way!

I’ve been a designer for 9 years, working either through a design agency I co-owned or freelancing. This is actually my first time making a portfolio and resume, and looking to apply for an on-site position. That’s why I’m trying to understand the differences and make sure whatever title I put on my portfolio, resume, etc. won’t hinder me in applying for the job I want.


#7

You made some solid points! I have an individual design degree as well but found a job in user experience.

I would say the greatest difference between the two is in the skills needed for rapid prototyping, and building out a finished product. These skills range depending on the field your applying in as well. Are your skills more 2 dimension mock ups or building foam models. Are your refined prototypes clickable interfaces or a 3D printed CAD model? (I am over simplifying details)

Product Designer as a description may apply to both fields equally, while User Interface Designer fits more tward the two dimension problem space. Even broader is designing a whole experience, or User Experience Designer.

Regardless of the title you chose, your experience will speak more about what jobs your a fit for. As far as applications go, in the skills required for the position the differences will likely be noticed.


#8

@goran_licanin
As a few people mentioned, the roles are basically the same. There isn’t much difference in salary or promotion or team makeup. From what I have seen Product Designer is expected to do more visual design and use a more data-driven approach, but it really depends upon the company. What I have decided to do is call myself a product designer when working in-house and a UX Designer when consulting or working at an agency. I think of a Product Designer as someone who works on a product regularly.


#9

As a UI designer (soon to be UX designer!) I’ve worked with both. I think the roles overlap, but what I have observed is Product Designers work more at the ideation stage of a project, conceiving the idea for the product, doing market analysis and viability studies, etc and then working with the UX guru to solidify the problem and find out what features the product will have to address the problem. The Product Designers were paid more, but I’m working with a small sample size, so I don’t know if that is always the case.


#10

Totally understandable and I think you’re going to be great! :grinning:

Also don’t forget all those other valuable skills you have developed through co-owning a design agency and freelancing eg leadership, business development, stakeholder engagement and management etc. Those are all important too and might just give you an edge :wink:


#11

User Experience design is Product Design. Any product with some level of complexity which requires a human to “use” it, requires User Experience design. Complexity can be defined by the number of user goals the product supports.
Something like a toaster, which has a single user goal (toast bread) doesn’t really require user experience design.
Something like a website, mobile application or software application (all of these are products) has significant complexity and often supports many different user goals. Hence why in the digital domain, User Experience design has become so important.
In digital, like any domain, User Experience designers also need specific domain knowledge in order to design a good experience. So if you’re going to be a UX designer designing digital products, you need to understand different user interface paradigms. You need to appreciate what technology can do and what it can support. You need to be able to create digital prototypes and be able to test them.

I spent the majority of my career as a UX designer for digital products (which included apps, websites, kiosks, terminals, public displays, interactive exhibits, etc.).
But I now work as a UX designer for Ford Motor Company. I still follow the same User Centred Design process, however the domain is now different, and with that comes the need to understand a lot of automotive-centric product concepts. Most of my prototyping now is done with polystyrene, 3D printers and cardboard!

Hope this helps!


#12

Hello, this article from Adobe is very useful https://medium.com/thinking-design/the-evolution-of-ui-ux-designers-into-product-designers-623e4e7eaab3?source=linkShare-6a4054df59db-1504503283