One of the hardest parts of hiring for User Experience (UX) roles is actually figuring out what to call the person you’re hiring. What is the difference between a Product Designer and a UX Designer? Does it even matter?
Based on the roles Synergis Creative qualifies and hires for our national Fortune 500 clients, I’ve noticed several key differences between each type of UX title. And to attract exactly the right person for your role, the title could make all the difference! Below is a visual and textual explanation of each role.
- Full-Stack UX Designer: Full-Stack UX Designers – usually just called “UX Designers” or “UX Generalists” – can do a little bit of everything. They’re involved in discovery and early research, through flows and wireframes, and into prototyping and validation. A solid Full-Stack UXer can:
- Interface with stakeholders, users and cross-functional teams.
- Produce deliverables ranging from research reports, personas, user flows, wireframes, low-fidelity through high-fidelity mockups and interactive prototypes.
- Conduct multiple forms of usability and validation testing and incorporate user feedback into an iterative design process.
- Work effectively within a style guide or use components from a Design System, though some may have stronger UI Design skills as well.
- Advocate for UX across all stages of the research and design process.
- UX Researcher: A UX Researcher partners with stakeholders to determine and prioritize business goals, with users to understand user needs, and with UX Designers and Product Managers to implement their findings. A dedicated UX Researcher primarily uses qualitative methods but might lean more toward generative or iterative research. A UX Researcher who does a mix of both would:
- Participate in discovery.
- Conduct observational studies/ethnography.
- Participate in 1:1 user interviews, focus groups and surveys.
- Conduct usability and validation testing.
- Work in tandem with and present findings to design and product teams.
- UX Architect: A UX Architect may design wireframes, mock-ups or prototypes, but their focus lies more in how information is organized and presented in a meaningful way. They will turn research into user flows, work closely with content strategists and validate content and organizational design. An Architect’s skillset includes:
- Content audits
- Information Architecture
- User flows
- Accessibility and usability
- Product/Interaction Designer: Product and Interaction Designers overlap in the same stage of the process, but might still have a slightly different skillset. Product Designers specifically focus on designing end-to-end applications, software or digital platforms. Interactions Designers might work on any of the above, responsive websites or specific features. A Product or Interaction Designer will focus on:
- User flows
- High-fidelity comps & user interface design
- Usability and validation
- Motion Design (primarily Interaction Design)
- Create style guides and/or design systems.
- Cultivate a look and feel for the product or site.
- Establish visual patterns, spacing, typography and color to guide intuitive experience.
- Turn high-fidelity screens into working prototypes.
- Test and validate visual design decisions.
Even these general guidelines can vary from company to company. Ultimately, it’s best to sit down and really define the deliverables your UX resource will be responsible for, who they will partner with and what type of product they’ll be working on. And, if you need help titling your role, reach out for a free consultation with me or one of my teammates!
About the author
Sofia Krasny serves as a Sr. Account Executive for Synergis, focusing her efforts on the Creative side of the business. For the past six years, she’s been serving the needs of leading creative firms, departments and agencies by carefully matching talented creative and marketing talent to full-time, contract or project positions. She’s an expert in User Experience and helping companies evaluate their UX needs. Sofia earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.