In a world where the definition of almost everything is constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries, what exactly does it mean to be a Product Designer? We are in a process to know more who really is a product designer. What do you think? https://blog.zipboard.co/who-really-is-a-product-designer-2f2cd1bb8db2#.chqcetjik
I am guessing the main point of this long article is that a product designer guides the full product design from inception to being live. And that it takes a lot of different disciplines nowadays because our field is becoming more complicated by the day.
I think the following paragraph is harsh and unfair for an entire group of people:
That visual designers and developers are not usually the right people to devise test tasks. Most of them are too pleased with their own work to take an objective look at it, which leads them to focus too much on their own pet features/design elements and disregard the user’s goals. They might even dismiss the user’s complaints as minor because they’re not willing to admit their work’s deficiencies.
I also think your notion of agile teams is quite wrong. You say:
Once they are prototyped and validated with the help of user testing and interviews, the Product Owner turns these designs into an actual product.
I would very much hate this process. I want to be a product designer that's right in the middle of the development team, not in a separate team doing design and testing before it's being built. Making decisions as close to reality will help improve your product by giving you insights you can't get by just designing and prototyping.
Wes, Thank you for taking the time to read and also respond. You are right, the premise of the article is that product design is not just drawing pretty features, but from idea generation to customer experience, product designer gets involved and drives the product. " That visual designers and developers are not usually the right people to devise test tasks. Most of them are too pleased with their own work to take an objective look at it, which leads them to focus too much on their own pet features/design elements and disregard the user’s goals. They might even dismiss the user’s complaints as minor because they’re not willing to admit their work’s deficiencies." Do not mean to hurt anyone's sentiment, but lets face it, we tend to get lost in the details so much at times, that somebody needs to steer the product keeping the big picture in mind, and all we mean to say here is that, product designer is that person who can keep that vision alive. "Once they are prototyped and validated with the help of user testing and interviews, the Product Owner turns these designs into an actual product." This is only to define the broader responsibilities of product owner. As, I mentioned earlier, at every stage product designer is the one who keeps the focus of solving a user's problem alive . In fact, zipBoard, is built with that in mind that all stakeholders are collaborating well, not just in the design phase, but in every iteration of the product development phase as well.
I really don't like the term product designer because it implies that one person is credited with the design of the product, when in fact there are many people with and without designer in their title who contribute a lot to the design of a product and the experience.
What is described in the post is product management, which is the guiding and representing of a product, not really the design of it.
I think it doesn't require any further explanation beyond your post.
Agreed on all points, as I believe that nothing should be created in a vacuum; not a single aspect of the product development experience should be relegated or deferred. Successful products are built, created, and developed in a holistic manner, starting from user research, testing, experience design, and so on.
From someone who works with all types of designers on a daily basis I can give some insight. I will preface this by saying that I work at a big agency, not a startup or as a part of an in-house team. At said "big agency," a product designer is a designer like the rest of us. The lines are blurred. Sometimes I do their job and sometimes they do mine. We are all designers. We may have specialities but we are all working together to solve problems. At the end of the day, I own the visuals since I am a visual designer. The product designer is responsible for the product itself, being how the product flows, works and acts.
The title "product designer" means on thing; it means they "design" "products" as opposed to websites, interfaces, brands ect. They focus on digital products. I have friends who are product designers who do UX, interaction, visual, motion and more and they are a product designer. The smaller the office the more responsibility. The larger the office the more specialised they can become.(As with any design position) In a large office with many specialised workers, a product designer basically means they build the structure and flow of a digital product. AKA they are a UX designer focusing on digital products rather than websites or other digital marketing material.
P.S. Thier job is not easy.
P.S. to the P.S. I constantly see designers who are not "product designers" doing "product design" because they can. I am not by any means a product designer but I have done my fair share. If you are a good designer, thats what happens. You get thrown into something new and you do a good job... Or at least try to. But, What else is new.