When you hear of product design, probably the first thing you think of is the way a physical product looks. That’s more precisely called industrial design. It’s usually applied for electronics or automobiles. You may remember streamlined phones like Nokia N91 or Motorola Razr. For the time they were created, those were masterpieces of industrial design.
However, today all mobile phones or electronics look almost the same with small differences. The reason could be one of many – either we’re getting less and less interested in physical appeal or we’re getting more focused on technology rather than outlooks. In any case, by now you are probably wondering what the hell is a product designer.
As digital transformation takes over and the world gets smarter, digital products are more and more prevalent. Those who design them are product designers. Creating a digital product is not as easy as it sounds. The success of a software product often depends on the design and not only its features.
In this post, we’re going to be solving a mystery about a product designer. We’re about to share what exactly they do and why we need them involved in the creation process of a successful product.
Product Designer’s Job
In fact, product design involves much more than just the physical design itself. Designers are also responsible for the user experience, information architecture and also the system design. Depending on their area of knowledge and expertise those people could be referred to as Interaction Designers, User Interface Designer or User Experience Designers.
Software development companies could benefit from Product Designers a lot, in the process of creating a digital product. They are the ones that can transform the original idea behind it in functional user experience, that actually help consumers achieve a specific goal.
As more features are added, later on, Product Designers make sure that the provided experience is just as good and intuitive and reduce frictions. Furthermore, when the product has already been on the market for some time, they can work on improving its efficiency.
Product design agencies are often referred to with initial costs, so companies tend to include them further in their lifecycle. On the other hand, there are the ones that understand their importance and might choose to hire them before even having a product manager.
Product design is something that could be easily outsourced as well. You could find great professionals from all around the world and rely on them for the best possible results.
Career and Responsibilities
Product designers could operate on a wide spectrum of the creation stages of a digital product. His job might be to design the overall system or some granular details. No matter of their department, achieving outstanding user experience should always be their main goal.
Developers used to give a product to designers with set requirements. However, today they cooperate throughout the whole process. This could influence the functions of a product and well as how they work so that the UX, in the end, is the best possible.
At the last stages before launching a digital product on the market, designers do the prototyping and user testing, to ensure there’s no friction it works seamlessly. Coding could also be a part of their skillet in order to create digital assets like logos, buttons or icons.
Additionally, for hardware, product designers have even more responsibilities. They have to choose the materials, textures, and colors, as well as prototype the outcome. The way that a product would look like is crucial, as that’s the first thing that users see and it could often be the decisive factor for its success.
Choosing To Become a Product Designer
Obviously, product designers still need to be creative. They need to share the idea and the story of a product so that it really gets to the end-user and make him want to use it. Also, they should understand the business environment perfectly. With today’s fierce competition functionality and design are crucial for a product to stand out.
Designers often stay in the middle between developers and marketers and could even do some of their tasks, like user research, for instance. It really isn’t just about the outlook of a product. In fact, sometimes they even do way too much.
If you choose to work in this sphere, most importantly you must understand of color palettes, layout, and typography. These and at some cases coding are the basics of design. Later on, you’ll get used to all the other requirements you’ll have to fulfill so that you have a career growth.
According to a recent report, successful designers need a diverse professional background. Some non-designer skills that they have in their toolkit include product management and engineering.
Actually, this means you could build a portfolio without having a product design job in the first place, but remember that no degree could be enough if you don’t have examples of previous work.
Collaboration Is Key
You may have all the good skills like engineering, coding or marketing, but they could never be enough if you’re missing soft skills and collaborations is the main one. In order to solve a problem in the most effective way possible, designers need to easily adapt to teams.
The report we mentioned above also shows that 98% of managers surveyed ranked collaboration as a top designer skill. That’s no surprise as the creation process of a product is all about teamwork.
Experienced product designers, marketers and developers, should all work together for building a product that stands out of the competitors with its performance, functionality and looks. Furthermore, the need to know how to show all that to the end-user with a successful launch and promotion.
The Future Of Product Design
Product design is crucial for the development process of a product if you want it to be successful. It spreads across all stages, as it involves not only designing but analyzing, monitoring, testing, launching and also evolving. Designer’s skillset is constantly growing, which means the role of design is becoming more important.
We’ve listed some of the abilities you need to have in order to be a successful product designer. Hopefully, now you know why designers are just as important as developers and we should always have them in our teams when building a new product if we want it to stand out from competitors.