Product Design

Your constantly-updated definition of Product Design and collection of topical content and literature

What is Product Design?

Product design is the process designers use to blend user needs with business goals to help brands make consistently successful products. Product designers work to optimize the user experience in the solutions they make for their users—and help their brands by making products sustainable for longer-term business needs.

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

— Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover

Cover More Angles on Projects – with Product Design

Product designers help make products which aren’t just easy and delightful (or at least satisfying) to use, but also fine-tuned to do consistently well in the marketplace. They help define product goals, create product roadmaps (high-level summaries or 6–12-month forecasts of product offerings and features) and, ideally, help brands release successful products. Much like usability and user interface (UI) design are subsets of user experience (UX) design, UX design fits within product design. Indeed, UX designers are concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product (including aspects of branding). However, product designers extend this scope to carefully monitor their brands’ positions in the market over time. They gauge likely impacts of design decisions based on in-depth domain knowledge and keep teams and organizations mindful of bigger-picture and bottom-line realities, particularly for the mid- to long term. They can therefore prevent or minimize risky consequences of implementing designs, and help maximize and sustain gains.

Throughout a project, a product designer will usually guide your design team and stakeholders on return on investment (ROI) and lower-level concerns such as the placement of interface elements. The product designer’s eye for factors such as product desirability and value is a vital safeguard to keep a brand competitive. In addition to what they would do as generalist-oriented UX designers (e.g., conducting UX research, creating personas) product designers also inform and plan roadmaps in close collaboration with development and marketing teams to ensure the feasibility of implementing designs.

Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and the Interaction Design Foundation. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

See if Product Design may be Right for You

Product design can be demanding and intricate work. Typically, more responsibilities and specialized experience mean higher pay. As a designer and higher-level advisor, you can suggest viable alternatives to short-sighted company decisions and challenge obstacles such as the local maxima of UX. It’s important to bear in mind that the similarities between product designers and UX designers sometimes lead brands to have different definitions of the product designer’s role and the duties they expect. Some organizations may therefore fail to distinguish them from UX designers, while others may load even more responsibilities into the job description. In some instances, such as start-ups, you may find yourself acting as half the design team alongside a developer.

“Product designer” may be your dream role if you:

  • Enjoy developing and integrating business goals into design and product decisions;
  • Love participating in the entire design process;
  • Have deep knowledge in design and a solid understanding of business; and
  • Can analyze complex data to synthesize designs that satisfy business goals and user needs.

Overall, you should build brand value as you design for two overarching contexts—your users’ realities and your brand’s marketplace health—and “marryuser-centered design with market-friendly, affordable design. Your efforts in guiding the design of popular products will showcase your skills as a visionary problem-solver.

Learn More about Product Design

Take our UX Portfolio course to see if product design is right for you:

CareerFoundry’s post offers a wealth of insights on product design:

Freelancer and e-commerce marketing specialist Leigh Kunis explores many shades of what product design involves:

Read one product design leader’s insightful take on what being a product designer means in a modern context, here:

Find out more about what goes into a good product roadmap, here:

Literature on Product Design

Here’s the entire UX literature on Product Design by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Product Design

Take a deep dive into Product Design with our course How to Create a UX Portfolio .

Did you know the average UX recruiter spends less than 5 minutes skimming through your UX portfolio? If you want to join the growing and well-paid field of UX design, not only do you need a UX portfolio—you’ll need a great UX portfolio that showcases relevant skills and knowledge. Your UX portfolio will help you get your first job interviews and freelance clients, and it will also force you to stay relevant in your UX career. In other words, no matter what point you’re at in your UX career, you’re going to need a UX portfolio that’s in tip-top condition.

So, how do you build an enticing UX portfolio, especially if you’ve got no prior experience in UX design? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this course! You’ll cover everything so you can start from zero and end up with an incredible UX portfolio. For example, you’ll walk through the various UX job roles, since you can’t begin to create your portfolio without first understanding which job role you want to apply for! You’ll also learn how to create your first case studies for your portfolio even if you have no prior UX design work experience. You’ll even learn how to navigate non-disclosure agreements and create visuals for your UX case studies.

By the end of this practical, how to oriented course, you’ll have the skills needed to create your personal online UX portfolio site and PDF UX portfolio. You’ll receive tips and insights from recruiters and global UX design leads from SAP, Oracle and Google to give you an edge over your fellow candidates. You’ll learn how to craft your UX case studies so they’re compelling and relevant, and you’ll also learn how to engage recruiters through the use of Freytag’s dramatic structure and 8 killer tips to write effectively. What’s more, you’ll get to download and keep more than 10 useful templates and samples that will guide you closely as you craft your UX portfolio. To sum it up, if you want to create a UX portfolio and land your first job in the industry, this is the course for you!

All Literature

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