The difference between UI UX Design and Product Design

9
 Min Read

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction.

Read more about this topic here!

Definition


Product design is the implementation of a product that aligns with the needs and goals of its users. UI UX Design focuses on how interface elements are designed to interact with a user's needs and goals.

As UiUx designer myself I often ask myself what is the difference between UI UX design and product design especially when I got shocked looking at Apple career opportunities which was filled with only Product designer search instead of UI UX designer.

I’ve been designing products for the last decade, and I still find myself asking: What is it that we do?  This lack of definition can lead to confusion and contention within companies, between departments, even within ourselves.

Product Design

Product design is valuable for companies as it helps them understand what problems people are facing in order to provide solutions for them. Ideally, a company should be able to articulate both the product and the experience that they want to create in their design process.

UI UX Design

UI UX Designers are also concerned about how these interactions affect the user's emotions and life satisfaction, which can be difficult when creating or maintaining an interface. Product designers are not concerned with emotion or life satisfaction in the same way because their concern lies with the functional issues that a product will address.

Job Opportunity

Job Opportunity between Ui Ux Designer and Product Designer is increasing rapidly.

In the past decade, UI UX design and Product Design has been one of the fastest growing job opportunities in numerous countries.

UI Designer

  1. 4,349 jobs in Indeed
  2. 5,480 jobs in Glassdoor

UX Designer

  1. 8,999 jobs in Indeed
  2. 10,450 jobs in Glassdoor

Product Designer

  1. 17,240 jobs in Indeed
  2. 47 656 jobs in Glassdoor

Percentage of Product Design over UI UX Design

Apple's Job Seeking Page

Big tech companies like Apple and Google are both seeking product designers who can focus on developing and refining their products. This position typically requires more than one person to succeed, because of the wide-ranging nature of the workload. However, this huge opportunity for a Product Designer could be made into an amazing career if you know what your skillset entails and how to translate it into marketable value.

Product Designers at Apple or Google need to have excellent taste in UI Ux design trends (technology is always changing) while also being highly cognizant of user needs/wants. User research will play a large part in understanding people’s emotions as they interact with various interface elements within current products but this role also includes testing out future features that may not exist yet.

Salary Differences

The average salary for a UI UX designer is $74,000 on the low end and $101,735 on the high end annually while the average salary for a Product Designer is $90,000 to $104,824 annually.

My Perspective

As I’ve gained experience working in a variety of disciplines from product design to ux and ui ux design , I often find that I am expected to perform one role or another depending on who is asking. Perhaps the lack of a clear definition makes it easier for people outside our field to pigeonhole us into different roles based on their needs? Regardless, this ambiguity has led me to begin questioning what ui ux designer actually means. If others are unclear about its meaning then should we make an effort to define it more clearly? Is there a difference when talking about ui ux design or product design...or does the distinction really matter?

From the perspective of ui ux designers , ui ux design probably feels more like an approach rather than a discipline(or set of practices). I’ve heard this term used in reference to things like information architecture, interaction design, and even visual design.

UI designers focus on how something looks and interacts with users, while product designers focus on what it does and how it works in relation to its environment. A UI designer might create icons for your phone's home screen, while a product designer would work on the overall look of your phone itself.

All these areas contribute to ui ux design but are generally considered separate disciplines with their own separate sets of best practices. So when discussing any aspect of product development for the sake of ui ux design , what they really mean is that they are talking about how people interact with your product through all modes (visual, auditory etc.). It sounds pretty broad so let me clarify: ui ux design is the sum of all decisions related to ui ux designers for ui ux designers . It’s ux regarding your product from a people perspective (and you when they are determining what that means).

Coexist

Product designers and UI UX Designers need to work together to create products that solve problems, are effective for emotional needs of people, and can be used effectively by anyone who uses them. This article highlights the differences between product design and ui ux design, in hopes of showing how both teams should communicate with each other during the design process.

Because product designers focus on functionality while ui ux focuses on usability/UX style guides , they often have divergent opinions about interface elements in a product. The ui ux team is focused on matching users' expectations of an interface while the product team is focused entirely on meeting user goals or needs. This difference in focus can cause ui ux designers to question product design decisions that affect the perceived usability of a product throughout its lifespan, so it is important for ui ux designers and product designers to have frequent discussions about ui ux style guides or certain interactions within an interface.

The most successful products achieve both functionality and usability because they are tested against their specific goals in relation to different user types that may use them. When companies develop ui ux style guides or design new interfaces, they should be aware of how other users will perceive these elements based on gender, race/ethnicity, background knowledge, age, and other demographic characteristics. If any aspects of ui ux style guides (such as) the ui ux color scheme or ui ux icons are not perceived well by users, ui ux designers and product designers should work together to redesign these elements for maximum usability.

During the design process, ui ux designers help align product vision with user goals/needs while also creating a usable product that meets functional needs of the product team. This allows for ui ux designers and product designers to work more closely together to develop a final design that is both effective and usable, yet still solving the problems that it was meant to address. A company will be able to provide a better experience for their customers when they have aligned teams working towards this common goal.


Conclusion

UI UX Designers and Product Designers are different but are very similar to each other. Both should work together to create products that solve problems, are effective for emotional needs of people, and can be used effectively by anyone who uses them. A company will be able to provide a better experience for their customers when they have aligned teams working towards this common goal.

In my personal opinion, if you are able to align the needs and goals of the end user business, visual and experience stand point you can call yourself a product designer.

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