Product Designer vs. UX Designer: The Difference Explained

Product designers and user experience (UX) designers are often confused with each other, and sometimes the titles are used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between these two roles, and understanding these differences is crucial for businesses and individuals seeking to pursue a career in design.

What is a Product Designer?

A product designer is responsible for the entire design process of a product, from initial concept to final delivery. They are involved in every stage of the product development cycle, including brainstorming, user experience (UX) design, project management, and business-related processes.

Product designers have a broader scope than UX designers, as they need to consider the business objectives, technical feasibility, and overall user experience of the product. They work closely with various teams, such as business analysts, developers, and marketers, to ensure that the final product meets the needs of both the users and the company.

What is a UX Designer?

A UX designer, on the other hand, focuses primarily on designing products that are pleasant to use and navigate. Their primary goal is to create intuitive and seamless user experiences that make it easy for users to accomplish their tasks.

UX designers typically have a narrower focus than product designers, concentrating on the hands-on design portion of the process. They conduct user research, create wireframes and prototypes, and test designs to ensure that the user interface is user-friendly and meets the intended user needs.

Key Differences between Product Designers and UX Designers

1. Scope of Work

Product designers are involved in the entire design process, from ideation to implementation, while UX designers primarily focus on the user experience aspect of the product.

2. Business Orientation

Product designers tend to be more business-oriented and work closely with business teams to ensure that the product aligns with the company's goals and priorities. UX designers, on the other hand, primarily concentrate on designing for the user's needs.

3. Leadership and Project Management

Product designers often take the lead in captaining the entire design process and coordinating with various teams, such as UX designers, visual designers, researchers, and business teams. They may have more experience leading projects or teams than UX designers.

4. Design Focus

While both roles involve design, UX designers are more focused on the hands-on aspects of designing user-friendly products, such as creating visual and interactive elements, wireframes, and prototypes.

Average Salaries

The average salaries for product designers and UX designers can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry. Here's a comparison of average salaries in the United States:


Glassdoor Average

Indeed Average

PayScale Average

UX Designer




Product Designer




Becoming a Product Designer or UX Designer

To become a product designer or UX designer, individuals typically need to develop a strong understanding of UX concepts, design principles, and relevant tools. Here are some key skills and qualifications:

UX Concepts and Skills

  • User-centric thinking
  • Prototyping and wireframing
  • User journey mapping and user flow creation

Design Tools and Principles

  • Familiarity with tools like Figma, Sketch, and Adobe Creative Suite
  • Understanding of typography, colour theory, and other design principles

Additional Skills for Product Designers

  • Project management and leadership experience
  • Collaboration across different teams (business, development, marketing)
  • Understanding of business priorities and product strategy

Career Paths and Related Roles

The design industry offers a variety of roles that are closely related to product design and UX design. Some examples include:

  • Graphic Designer: Responsible for developing visual aspects of websites, advertisements, and other graphical interfaces.
  • UX Engineer/Developer: Programs the front-end of websites and applications with an emphasis on UX principles.
  • UX Researcher: Conducts user research, surveys, interviews, and data-focused studies to understand user behaviour and preferences.
  • Product Manager: Oversees the planning, research, and collaborative aspects of product development, while working closely with design teams.


While product designers and UX designers share some similarities, they have distinct roles and responsibilities within the product development process. Product designers have a broader scope, focusing on the entire design process and aligning with business objectives, while UX designers concentrate primarily on creating user-friendly experiences. Understanding these differences is crucial for businesses and individuals seeking to build successful products and pursue rewarding careers in the design industry.

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