Difference Between Product Design and UIUX Design

In our last article, we discussed the differences between UI and UX design where we learnt the meaning of each role, their similarities and differences using analogies. In today’s article, we will look at product design and UIUX design. These terms are also used interchangeably but the responsibilities of a product designer are much more vast than that of a UIUX designer. This article will explain the meaning, similarities and differences of each role.

What is Product Design?

Product design is the process of taking a product from concept to market. It involves everything that has to do with the product from identifying a problem, developing a solution for the problem, validating the solution with real users, defining the market opportunity, building the product and releasing the product to the market to solve the user problem.

Product design goes beyond just designing a product, it also focuses on the business viability of the product. That is, how the product will make money.

A product designer focuses on making sure all aspects of a product works together for the end-user while at the same time helping the business, company or organisation to thrive. Product designers have the overall vision of the product in mind. They are concerned with the optimization of user experience and making business goals sustainable for long terms.

A product designer’s role can be likened to a full-stack generalist because they are involved in the UI, UX, project management, product launch, marketing and giving product reports to stakeholders.

What is UIUX design?

UIUX design is the process of designing a product that solves users problems. It involves everything that has to do with understanding the users - their pain points and their goals, defining how the product would meet the user’s needs, designing the product to be visually appealing and creating a seamless experience for the user.

A UIUX designer’s major concern is the user’s satisfaction and experience while using a product. They focus on users having a seamless experience and they continually ensure they improve the usability and accessibility of the product. Using the design thinking process (empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test) as a guide, a UIUX designer maintains a human-centered approach to design. Carrying out strategic research to understand user’s needs, they also prototype and test products. They ensure products are better optimized for users.

Product Design and UIUX Design; what's their similarity?

There is a close similarity between product design and UIUX design; it is for this reason people, even experienced designers confuse the two roles - they are both primarily working to solve the users problems and are focused on providing a great experience for the user. This means in the process of solving the users problem and creating great experiences for the user they are involved in the same design thinking process of ‘‘empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test’’ to maintain a human-centered approach to design.

Differences Between Product Design and UIUX Design

Despite the similarity, both roles have a few differences in their responsibilities. Below are some key differences;

1. A UIUX designer’s major focus is the product usability while the product designer focuses on usability and business.

2. UIUX designers pay attention to the user, the product designer pays attention to making the product viable to the user for business.

3. Product designers are more concerned about the entire product vision, UIUX designers are only concerned about designing the product for the users.

4. Product designers are generally involved in the entire lifecycle of the product from introduction to decline. UIUX designers are generally only involved in the introduction phase of a product life cycle.

5. A product design role tends to be more of a leadership role that requires years of experience as a UIUX designer.

At this point, I am sure you will see that product design is very much different from UIUX design even as they are involved in the same process that involves solving the users problems and making sure the user has a great experience within the product.

Written By: Adisa Rebecca

Perxels is a design school that provides training and mentorship to UIUX designers to grow and thrive in the industry