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Difference Between Product Designer and UX Designer: Key Distinctions

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The main difference between a Product Designer and a UX Designer is that product designers are typically involved with the entire design process of a product, while UX designers focus specifically on refining the user experience of the product.

Although job roles can differ from company to company, understanding these distinct roles can help clarify the responsibilities and skills needed in these design professions.

What is a Product Designer?

A product designer is a professional who focuses on designing and improving products through their entire life cycle, from ideation to final production. Their role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, such as determining product requirements, designing functionalities, and collaborating with various teams to ensure a successful product launch.

product designer

Product designers work closely with stakeholders in the marketing, engineering, and manufacturing departments, as well as with the end users, to ensure that the product meets desired specifications and satisfies the target audience's needs.

Some key tasks and skills of a product designer include:

  • Market research: Conduct initial research to determine if a product idea is worth pursuing and identify target audience's preferences and needs.
  • Concept development: Generate and refine ideas by creating sketches, wireframes, or prototypes to visualize product concepts.
  • Collaboration: Work with cross-functional teams, including marketing, engineering, and management, to ensure a cohesive and efficient product development process.
  • Material and manufacturing processes: Understand materials and manufacturing processes to make informed decisions on product aesthetics and functionality.

What is a UX Designer?

A UX Designer, or User Experience Designer, focuses on creating the best possible user experience for those interacting with a product or service. Their goal is to ensure that the design is both functional and user-friendly, taking into account various aspects of the user's journey, including the layout, appearance, and accessibility of the product.

ux designer

UX Designers work closely with other designers, developers, and stakeholders during the design and development process.

They conceive the layout and appearance of a product at the beginning of product development and continue refining it after the launch, making improvements based on user feedback and data analysis. UX Designers employ various techniques and research methods, such as user testing and interviews, to gain insight into user needs and preferences.

Some of the key responsibilities of a UX Designer include:

  • Research: Gathering user data and feedback to understand user needs and preferences.
  • Prototyping: Creating multiple design solutions for each problem, iterating based on feedback and testing.
  • Usability Testing: Evaluating the usability of products before they are launched and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Collaboration: Working with other designers, developers, and stakeholders to ensure a cohesive and effective design.

Product Designer vs UX Designer: Key Differences

CriteriaUX DesignerProduct Designer
FocusUser experience and satisfactionOverall design process and business/marketing objectives
SkillsUser research, wireframing, prototyping, usability testingConceptualization, visual design, branding, project management
GoalTo create a user-centered product that meets user needsTo create a product that meets business objectives and satisfies user needs
ToolsSketch, Adobe XD, Figma, InVision, Axure, etc.Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, Figma, InVision, etc.
DeliverablesUser personas, user flows, wireframes, prototypes, usability reportsMood boards, style guides, design specifications, product roadmaps
CollaborationWorks closely with developers, product managers, and other designersWorks closely with developers, marketing teams, and other designers

Focus Areas

Product designers are involved in the entire design process, from concept to final release and even beyond. They concentrate on creating the entire product while considering user needs, business goals, and technical constraints.

In contrast, UX designers have a more focused approach, mainly concentrating on the actual design implementation and ensuring that users have the best possible experience when using the product.

End Goals

Product designers aim to maximize efficiency and creativity by coordinating the efforts of various departments. Their ultimate goal is to develop a successful product that meets user needs, satisfies business objectives, and remains technologically feasible.

On the other hand, UX designers prioritize usability and strive to identify and solve user problems by conducting research, testing, and iterating designs to enhance user satisfaction.


Product designers typically have a wider range of skills and responsibilities within a project, covering aspects like strategy, concept development, prototyping, and design validation. These professionals need to have a comprehensive understanding of the entire design process, as well as expertise in related domains like marketing, engineering, and project management.

Conversely, UX designers are specialists in user-centered design, focusing on research, testing, and developing user flows and interfaces. They need strong analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills to create seamless and satisfying user experiences.


A UX Designer's deliverables tend to be more user-centered and focused on the user experience. Here are some examples:

  • user personas
  • user flows
  • wireframes
  • prototypes
  • usability reports
ux designer wireframe

These deliverables are created through an iterative design process that starts with user research and ends with usability testing. The goal of a UX Designer is to create a product that meets the needs and expectations of the user.

On the other hand, a Product Designer's deliverables tend to be more focused on the overall design process and business objectives. They include:

  • mood boards
  • style guides
  • design specifications
  • product roadmaps
product designer style guide

These deliverables are created through an iterative design process that starts with ideation and ends with production. The goal of a Product Designer is to create a product that meets business objectives while also satisfying user needs.

It's worth noting that the deliverables of a UX Designer and a Product Designer can overlap and that the roles and responsibilities of each can vary depending on the company and project.

Overlap in Responsibilities

While the roles of product designers and UX designers have distinct characteristics, there is a considerable overlap in their responsibilities. Both designers work towards creating a positive user experience and contribute to the overall success of a product.

Common areas of responsibility shared by both roles include:

  • Research: Both product and UX designers conduct user research to understand the needs and preferences of their target audience.
  • Wireframing: Creating wireframes is a critical step in the design process for both product and UX designers to visually map out the structure and layout of a product interface.
  • Prototyping: Developing prototypes enables both roles to test the functionality and usability of a product before it goes into full production.
  • User Testing: Both product and UX designers conduct user testing to gather feedback and make data-driven decisions to improve the product's overall experience.

This overlap highlights the importance of collaboration and communication between these two roles to ensure that the final product offers a seamless and satisfying user experience.

How They Collaborate

While product designers and UX designers have distinct roles and responsibilities, they often work closely together to achieve a well-rounded and cohesive final product. Collaboration is essential in ensuring that the product not only achieves business and marketing goals but also offers a great user experience.

ux product designer collaboration

Throughout the design and development process, both product and UX designers rely on feedback and iterative testing to refine their work. For instance, UX designers may perform usability testing, while product designers test existing products or newly designed interfaces to identify opportunities for improvement. This ongoing collaboration helps to ensure that both business and user needs are addressed effectively.

Key areas where product and UX designers collaborate include:

  • Communication: Regular meetings and discussions ensure shared understanding and alignment between product and UX design teams.
  • Feedback loops: Both designers should actively engage in giving and receiving feedback on their work to identify areas for improvement.
  • Prototyping: Co-creating prototypes can help bridge the gap between initial concepts and the final product design, promoting a seamless integration of user experience and broader product goals.


Product designers and UX designers have different approaches and areas of focus. Indeed, product designers are more involved in the overall design process and consider broader goals, while UX designers concentrate on refining the user experience.

However, job roles can differ between companies, and some designers hold hybrid positions that encompass both product and UX design. A successful collaboration between both designers can lead to products that resonate with users and meet business objectives, resulting in a well-rounded final outcome.


Do product designers and UX designers work closely together?

Yes, they often work together as a team, with product designers focusing on the overall design process and UX designers concentrating on the design implementation and user experience. Their collaboration helps to ensure the development of a well-rounded product.

Can a person be both a product designer and a UX designer?

Although the two roles have different responsibilities, individuals with skills in both areas can potentially work as both product and UX designers. However, depending on the company and project, they might be asked to specialize in one role.

Are there any specific tools that product designers and UX designers use?

Product and UX designers employ various tools for different tasks: Sketching tools (pencil, paper, etc.) for initial ideas / Wireframing tools (Balsamiq, Axure, etc.) for prototypes / Design software (Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, etc.) for high-fidelity mockups / User testing platforms (UserTesting, Optimal Workshop, etc.) for feedback and analysis. Both designers might use similar tools, but their focus and approach will vary based on their specific roles in the design process.

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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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