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Exploring The Role of Product Designers

  • Publish Date: Posted about 4 years ago
  • Author:by Xcede

​Discover one of the most influential roles in the tech industry today.

Historically, a user-experience designer has been someone who shaped the product itself and how it is used. However, this role has gone through a transformation in recent years, often becoming a hybrid position that encompasses both UI and UX skills, merging both technical and business acumen with product thinking to support a more holistic development process. Helping to create products in both the consumer and commercial space that have a greater emphasis on user experience. Often referred to as ‘full stack’ designers, product designersare sought after across the digital jobs market due to the rising demand for user-focused products.

We look at what the rise of this hybrid role means for our clients and candidates.

User Experience is More Important Than Ever

The role of product designer first emerged in the consumer space, where a seamless user experience was vital. Now the B2B market is increasingly looking to develop products that have the same intuitive usability. The rise of mobile apps and a progressively technology-dependent world have also contributed to the expectation that users should enjoy a consumer-grade experience in every aspect of their digital life. This shift in mindset is contributing to a boom in demand for product designers.

Choosing a Product Designer Can Deliver Impressive Benefits

Why choose a product designer over traditional UI and UX teams? The explosion in product designer demand is not only driven by need but by impressive results. It can be more cost effective to hire an end-to-end generalist who can cover all areas of the product design process than specialists in the individual verticals; this is often the case in start-up environments where budgets are leaner.

However, we are now seeing some large tech businesses opting for a hybrid product designer over UX or UI designers, as they choose to structure their teams in squads to serve a particular product stream. In this model, a hybrid designer is often preferred due to the pace at which a product needs to be built, and to promote consistency across all product areas.

Product Design Talent is Hard to Find

Despite the growth of product design roles, great talent can be difficult to source as high-demand meets a lack of candidates with the sought-after end-to-end skill set. We find that candidates tend to have a UI or UX background, having developed their skills to move into an amalgamated product designer role. Many may not update their CV or online presence to reflect this wider skill set. This means finding the right product designer can be challenging and traditional talent searches may yield disappointing results. We often connect with potential product design candidates through industry events or forums. Our wide network and industry expertise help us to access hard-to-find talent.

Smaller Organisations are Ahead of the Crowd

We are seeing smaller organisations take the lead in the shift towards product designers, with some larger companies maintaining a traditional UI/UX divide. This means that many of the candidates we speak to are keen to join smaller and more agile organisations where they have the chance to implement their wide skill set in a true product design role. This is creating opportunities for start-ups and SMEs to access exceptional talent. 

Product designers are here to stay and they are shaping our digital future. If you’re searching for your next product design role or for a talented product designer to join your team, Xcede can help.