Why tech companies are turning to product designers

Two people standing looking at a whiteboard with diagrams drawn on it.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

You might be thinking that since you’re a UX designer, you don’t have to worry about UI design. You might think that’s the job of the visual designer, but that’s not entirely true. Both UX and UI are important parts of product design.

It’s like a puzzle, they fit together to create a complete product. A product that’s easy to use but not pleasing to the eye, or vice versa, just won’t be as successful.

That’s why more companies are starting to realize that it’s becoming increasingly important for designers to have a good understanding of both UX and UI design. When designers are well-versed in both areas, the design process becomes more efficient, collaboration is smoother and the end product is more appealing to users.

One of the key issues with separating UX and UI design is that it can lead to a lack of cohesion and collaboration between teams, resulting in a product that doesn’t meet user needs. This disconnect can also lead to wasted time and multiple rounds of revisions.

To approach design more holistically, it’s important for UX and UI teams to work together seamlessly. This ensures that the overall flow and functionality align with the visual design, resulting in a more efficient and engaging user experience.

When designers are experts in both areas, it eliminates this problem and makes the overall process more cohesive. It’s like a puzzle, UX and UI design pieces fit together to create a complete product.

A way to think about this is with the concept of “T-shape” skills. This means having a broad range of skills in a specific field (the top of the T), and deep expertise in a specific area (the stem of the T).

A diagram of a T-shape, which shows the top of the T as wing disciplines, representing cross-discipline collaboration. The stem of the T is your core discipline, representing the depth of skills and expertise.
(Source: IBM Design Career Playbook)

In the case of a designer, the broad range of skills should include both UX and UI design, with the deep expertise being in one or the other. By having a combination of both, designers can create products that are both functional and visually appealing.

As a product designer, I have noticed that lately, there has been a shift in the tech industry from hiring UX designers to hiring product designers. From a company’s perspective, they want to hire someone who can help them solve problems and create great products using design thinking frameworks and methodologies.

That’s where product designers come in, well-rounded designers who can handle multiple areas of design, including UX and UI design, research, and more.

I personally love the holistic approach of product design, being able to take into account not only how something looks but also how it works for the user. It’s about creating something that not only looks good but also works well. It’s a more comprehensive approach to design.

One of the other things that set product designers apart is a deep understanding of the product. We work closely with product managers to understand the product strategy and make sure the design aligns with the overall goals of the business. It’s pretty cool to be able to have a say in the direction of the product and see the impact that my design has on the business.

Having a good understanding of the business is key. It helps me communicate effectively with the leadership team and be seen as a valuable member of the team. It’s not only about creating a great design but also being able to show the impact it will have on the business.

As a problem solver at heart, I’ve always been drawn to the challenge of design. My journey began as a math and computer science student, but I soon realized that I wanted to channel my problem-solving skills into something more creative. That’s when I made the switch to graphic design.

I dove into learning the basics of design principles like contrast, balance, and hierarchy, and it was a lot of fun. But, as I became more experienced, I began to want to explore the design process more deeply. That’s when I landed my first opportunity as a UX designer. It was a great learning experience and I got to explore user-centered design and design thinking methodologies.

Now, as a product designer, I’m constantly practicing and expanding my skill set. I’m not just focused on UX design anymore, but also on user research, project management, and design strategy. All of these experiences, mistakes, and lessons have helped me become a strong, well-rounded product designer.

It’s more important than ever to be able to create products that not only look good but also meet the needs of the users. Users now expect a high standard of quality in the products they use. And that’s why having a strong understanding of both UX and UI design is key.

When you master both UX and UI design, you can create products that not only look great but also feel great to use. The design process becomes more efficient, collaboration is smoother, and the end product is more appealing to users. Not to mention, having skills in both UX and UI design makes you more valuable and hirable in the market. It’s a win-win for everyone.

And as technology continues to evolve, it’s important for designers to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and trends. It allows us to continue to innovate and solve complex business problems in new and exciting ways. It’s an exciting time to be a product designer, with endless opportunities to create products that can change people’s lives for the better.

So, if you’re a product designer or thinking about becoming one, just know that it’s a challenging but rewarding journey, with endless possibilities for innovation and a positive impact on people’s lives.

Categorized as UX

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