Is product design the same as a UX Design?

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

First off, what I am about to show you is not rocket science and any of you can and should do this research. Also, you are perfectly capable of rocket science (have you seen Hidden Figures? I could watch that once a week!):) I am going to show you HOW I am coming to my conclusions because the title “product designer” is new. The tech industry is still kicking the tires on it and it could evolve a bit. So by show you how, you can perform the same process to continue to validate your decision to apply to or not apply to jobs that are listed as “product designer” vs. “ux designer”.

Also, this title varies a bit geographically so do the research for your local area and for the areas you are targeting to get hired in. It’s a great time for remote work so go ahead and apply to those remote jobs in another area! Worst case you’ve had some great experience and you move on to the next role. Generally, organizations like to keep people who have served them well.

Let’s look at Nashville and the general area of Silicon Valley and take a look at the skills that glassdoor.com postings list as the required skills. I’ve pulled 2–4 job postings from each of the categories below, compared the skills required and listed the most common ones across those postings.

NASHVILLE
Product Designer
Few listings with this title. Mostly defaults to Senior Product Designer, Product Owner and UX Designer

  • Partner with Product Managers, engineers, researchers and content strategists to oversee the user experience
  • Develop and maintain the user experience vision
  • End-to-end product design including high fidelity mockups

NASHVILLE
UX Designer

  • Solving design challenges
  • Manage UI modifications
  • Adhere to SEO best practices
  • A/B Testing
  • Work closely with team members to create designs and requirements

Now let’s take a look at the Silicon Valley area again using glassdoor.com postings to analyze the required skills for both Product Designer and UX Designer.

SILICON VALLEY
Product Designer

  • Partner with Product Managers, engineers, researchers and content strategists to oversee the user experience
  • Translate user needs into solutions
  • Design flows and articulate design decision
  • (some) wireframes
  • (some) strategic decisions

SILICON VALLEY
UX Designer

  • Develop user experience design concepts, wireframes, mockups, prototypes, usage scenarios, task analysis, specifications
  • Conduct user research that informs design decisions
  • Drive the design process
  • Collaborate with team members to create designs and requirements

Conclusion

Silicon Valley looks at Product Designer as a more strategic role, this means more vision, talking to stakeholders, planning out flows and less wireframes. You will be expected to know, understand and have experience in wireframes, but you will not create them on a daily basis. You will instead be collaborating with users and team members to ensure the comprehension vision of the product is maintained. It will be up to the UX Designer to work through the individual mockups and screen flows.

In Nashville, you can make slightly more as a product designer (about $10k) than as a UX Designer, keep in mind, however there are fewer listings for this position. In Silicon Valley the range for Product designer starts higher than the range for UX Designer, however, they both top out around $170k according to Glassdoor.com so keep that in mind as you navigate the job boards.

If you are just starting out, UX Designer, Jr. UX Designer or UX Researcher are job titles that likely going to be a better bet for you than Product Designer. If you have previous project management or marketing experience, that would be more relevant to Product Design as you understand the big picture and the customer integration into that big picture. Ultimately, however, you will want to look at the responsibilities for each individual job posting because with so many new terms, it’s likely a company could use these two jobs interchangeably.

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Sources

Product Designer
https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/product-designer-zibo-JV_IC1147394_KO0,16_KE17,21.htm?jl=3631689515&pos=114&ao=215203&s=58&guid=0000017432aa333f8f25434bb71c024b&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&cs=1_2ec9d439&cb=1598577849418&jobListingId=3631689515&ctt=1598578104686

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/product-designer-couchbase-JV_IC1147439_KO0,16_KE17,26.htm?jl=3650147937&pos=101&ao=1078019&s=149&guid=0000017432aa333fb11f35cdd5fa1159&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SRFJ&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&cs=1_55d2094e&cb=1598577849408&jobListingId=3650147937&ctt=1598577958417

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/product-designer-point-digital-finance-JV_IC1147434_KO0,16_KE17,38.htm?jl=3585308643&pos=106&ao=1002882&s=58&guid=0000017432aa333f8f25434bb71c024b&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&ea=1&cs=1_46934563&cb=1598577849412&jobListingId=3585308643&ctt=1598577987280

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/product-designer-instagram-instagram-JV_IC1147371_KO0,26_KE27,36.htm?jl=3610434692&pos=110&ao=4120&s=58&guid=0000017432aa333f8f25434bb71c024b&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&cs=1_f5802e4f&cb=1598577849416&jobListingId=3610434692&ctt=1598578002164

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/product-designer-80twenty-JV_IC1147436_KO0,16_KE17,25.htm?jl=3658042182&pos=118&ao=4323&s=58&guid=0000017432aa333f8f25434bb71c024b&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&cs=1_27920c0f&cb=1598577849420&jobListingId=3658042182&ctt=1598578458410

UX Designer
https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/senior-ux-designer-study-com-JV_IC1147431_KO0,18_KE19,28.htm?jl=3632937547&pos=103&ao=1044074&s=58&guid=0000017432aa333f8f25434bb71c024b&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&ea=1&cs=1_1300af42&cb=1598577849409&jobListingId=3632937547&ctt=1598577976047

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/ux-designer-yellowbrick-data-JV_IC1147434_KO0,11_KE12,28.htm?jl=3648779622&pos=107&ao=1075006&s=58&guid=0000017432aa333f8f25434bb71c024b&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&ea=1&cs=1_bf535da6&cb=1598577849413&jobListingId=3648779622&ctt=1598577990321

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/principal-ux-designer-druva-JV_IC1147442_KO0,21_KE22,27.htm?jl=3628299805&pos=106&ao=1079970&s=58&guid=0000017432ba33f99232892cc5ab06d2&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&ea=1&cs=1_72c12296&cb=1598578898252&jobListingId=3628299805&ctt=1598578928647

https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/ux-designer-hub-JV_IC1147431_KO0,11_KE12,15.htm?jl=3300839490&pos=125&ao=215203&s=58&guid=0000017432ba33f99232892cc5ab06d2&src=GD_JOB_AD&t=SR&vt=w&uido=E19B527F52351168CA8813E8CA7F687E&cs=1_9093a05a&cb=1598578898269&jobListingId=3300839490&ctt=1598626339148

https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/jobs.htm?suggestCount=0&suggestChosen=false&clickSource=searchBtn&typedKeyword=&locT=C&locId=1147436&jobType=&context=Jobs&sc.keyword=UX+Designer&dropdown=0

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