I was wandering if you could help me understand the difference between these two roles? I'm interested more to understand the type of skills each person has and the types of problems he gets the chance to solve in a company based on the set of skills he has. thanks!

closed as primarily opinion-based by msp, Mayo, JohnGB Apr 14 '16 at 14:00

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  • 1
    Did you google for it? – DPS Apr 14 '16 at 6:59
  • This will be so clearly opinion based, as you will get different definitions of both even within companies, let alone between them. Not sure how anyone can provide a canonical answer. – Midas Apr 14 '16 at 7:59
  • It's worth noting that some companies use "product designer" instead of "UX designer" to describe a position with the same responsibilities. – Nate Green Apr 14 '16 at 16:28

Good question. These are very closely related in product teams.

UX designers will typically conduct user interviews and other various user testing methods to get in the minds of the product users. It's designing with the mind in mind. UX designers should be dependent on users for a design layout.

Product designers work closely with ux designers in that they may work closely with the client in large product discovery initiatives. And as new features are rolled out the ux designer would collaborate with the product designer to set up additional user tests with users.


Product designer - Designing the product so that it is robust in terms of design able to accommodate various requirements, scenarios, features and user flows. like an ecosystem where stakeholders can expand and optimize the product easily using what's already there.

e.g. the product already been designed to accommodate a new module, with minimum redesign effort

UX designer - their focus is the user. and making sure the user gets to do what they want with the least possible effort. to achieve this the ux designer will design on the product that already have the ecosystem that allows them to create the user flows.


To me the difference between a product designer and an UX designer would be that a product designer deals more with the question of what the product should do, while an UX designer deals with the question of how the product should deliver what it does.

In other words: product design is about what benefits the product should bring its users - and UX certainly is an aspect of that; UX design focuses on the user experience of bringing the product benefits to the users.

Though separate, both aspects are heavily intertwined.

For example: Take a "time writing solution". The product design focuses on what features to offer, the UX on how to make them easy to use: how to help the user reap the benefits instead of creating a product that requires the user to bend over backwards to fit the product's model. And ease of use may very well dictate features that would otherwise not have made it into the product.

On the issue of product designer versus product manager: they have overlaps. A product manager however deals more with the high level overview of product features, roadmaps and the business side of things (like will this make us money or not), whereas a product designer really gets into the nitty gritty details of the features.

  • I think you've described a Product Owner or Product Manager there rather than Product Designer. – Matt O'Keefe Apr 14 '16 at 11:02
  • @MattO'Keefe Product Owner is just a role that coordinates between business and developers in a software product setting. Product Manager and Product Designer indeed have a lot of overlap, although I'd say that the product manager takes care of the business aspects of deciding what features to build and takes an otherwise very high level overview of the features, whereas a product designer would get into the nitty gritty details of product design. – Marjan Venema Apr 14 '16 at 11:12

This is probably not the industry standard definition, but certainly what I understand the job titles to mean:

UX designer - someone who applies User-Centred Design (UCD) approach to solving problems relating to user experience (can be in business, technical, design or anything else); generally this will be for a digital product or service, but traditionally it would have be something that was a physical product or service only.

Product designer - someone who is involved in designing a product (as opposed to a service designer) either focusing on a specific aspect of the product lifecycle or the end-to-end process; generally this person will employ UCD methods as there are many touchpoints with the customer, but this is not always the case.

Service designer - someone who is involved in designing a service (as opposed to a product designer), and since a service generally encapsulates the end-to-end delivery process, this person may also look at aspects of the product design relating to the customer experience.

As you can see, there is a lot of overlap in skill sets (problem solving being the major one) and the types of problems that they have to solve (mainly around customer and user issues). Look for similar and related questions on the rest of UXSE.

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