Product Design vs UX Design – Similarities and Differences

The design has evolved to be a complicated concept as a result of the rapidly developing technology and changing user expectations.

In this article, we will focus on two kinds of design: Product Design vs UX Design. They are two terms that are commonly used but can easily be confused with each other. 

The design has become one of the determining factors in the success of a business in today’s marketplaces. Hence, both product design and UX (user experience) design are important actors in the marketing strategy of a business.

Although both kinds of design require very similar technical skills and serve similar interests, there are some distinctive differences between them.

What is Product Design?

Product Design is defined as the integrated approach of building a new product from the beginning to the end.

This process involves everything from doing market research, identifying problems, developing the product, coming up with informed solutions and the other related tasks.

Starting with real-world problems, product designers aim to provide solutions and create products easy to use. Their responsibility is to think about the significant aspects of the product, which leads to the best design and marketing success. 

Check out this article for tips on product design.

What is UX Design?

User experience (UX) design is used for creating products that provide a meaningful experience to users.

The process includes the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product that covers aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.

To offer a smooth user experience, UX designers start by asking questions about product functionality. They also think about the users’ motivations for adopting a product and try to provide a practical and aesthetic design. 

Here are some bad examples and good examples of UX design.

Product Design vs UX Design 1

What are the similarities between UX Design and Product Design?

There are reasons for the confusion about these terms.

Both product design and UX Design require similar designing skills which have the design thinking at its core. Design thinking is a human-centered approach in which the designers seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems.

Design thinking is an iterative process; it continually evolves. Both UX design and product design require the designer to emphasize creating a more functional product for the end-user.

Managing the data is another core similarity between UX design and product design. In both job titles, the designers are expected to focus on quantifying and analyzing data well. Moreover, both designers use similar tools and programs during their process.

What is the difference between Product Design and UX Design?

Since companies have different demands from their designers, it is hard to tell a solid difference between product design and UX design in terms of the job description.

Despite sharing many functional similarities, they are slightly different from each other. While the UX designers focus on the specific aspects of the product usage, the product designers’ work domain is more generalized.

Focus and responsibilities

Their main difference is about the groups whom they are responsible for.

The product designers focus more on the requirements of the business compared to the UX designers who firstly care about users’ needs.

To give an example, a product designer thinks about the compatibility of the product designing process with the future goals of the business. But a UX designer focuses purely on various usability problems of the users.

That is why we can consider that responsibility as a difference as it requires product designers to consider other situations. The focal point of the design changes the way work is done.

Method to design

Along with their focus, their working methods differ.

UX designers’ main concern is to elaborate on how the product feels. To focus on this, they work through writing product user scenarios and constructing interaction patterns. They prototype an interface for the product. They track what users do through various kinds of testing methods such as A/B testing and email surveys.

However, product designers are more involved in the creation of the look and feel of a whole product. They give insight into how certain parts of the product should operate. They find a market opportunity and strategize how to implement the solution to the problems.

Product Design vs UX Design 2

Skills to use in design

There is no doubt that high design skills are the key to both jobs.

Along with the problem-solving and communication skills both jobs require in common, there are small differences in the skill range, too.

The product designers need a higher level of decision making and business foresight, whereas the UX designers focus on more specific design responsibilities.

Product designers are responsible for making general decisions during the design process. Hence they need skills such as UI design, user research, visual design. Meanwhile, UX designers should have expertise in prototyping tools.

The required skills from UX designers include skills to create process flows and sitemaps, workflow diagramming skills and user feedback collecting skills.

Tools needed

Another slight difference is the tools they make use of.

In general, both of them rely on similar design software, including prototyping tools. In addition to that, product designers use mind mapping tools and sketch tools, while UX designers use wireframe design tools and interactive design tools.

Here is a list of UX tools you should check out if you are interested in UX design.

Even though their main objectives are close, the relationship between product design and UX design shows a good case of a division of labor.

Both of them are essential for a business to create a difference. Even though their focus questions are different, they both help to create loyal customers by prioritizing the users’ problems and developing a product that solves those problems.

Lastly, UX can be improved with the help of AI as well. Read our friends at’s blog on this subject: How To Improve Your User Experience With AI.

Frequently Asked Questions

✏️ What is Product Design?

Product design refers to the process of creating a product that addresses the need or a problem of an audience.

📝 What is UX Design?

User experience (UX) design is used for creating products that provide a meaningful experience to users.

❓ What is the main difference between UX and Product Design?

Although there are lots of differences between UX and Product Design, the problems they try to solve and their focus is what mainly separates them.

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Selman Gokce

Selman Gokce

Selman Gokce is the Senior Inbound Marketer of UserGuiding. He is highly invested in user onboarding and digital adoption, especially for SaaS, and he writes on these topics for the UserGuiding blog. When he's not writing, you can find him either listening to LOTR soundtracks while cooking or getting angry because he lost in a video game.