• Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, 8 years ago

    Crossposting this from Quora.

    As a designer, I feel like there are very subtle differences in these jobs, but ultimately they all end up with around the same results at the end of the day. That is, they design how a user interacts with a product.

    Let me explain, and keep in mind that this is my own view of the design world, and others very well may have different opinions of the functions of these titles:

    • A product designer oversees product vision from a high level (how does this feature make sense for where we want to be in 6 months) to a low execution level (how does styling this button this way impact how the user flows through this function). Product designer is a term that I believe was largely popularized with the rise of Facebook. They should perform all of the functions of the other listed designer types, combined.

    • A UX (user experience) designer is closer to a product designer than an interaction designer. These designers often deal with diagrammatic user flows opposed to based in pixels, wireframes instead of mockups, and user research. As the opposite of an interaction designer, they focus more on high level design decisions and mostly aren't very concerned with pixel level detail. These are the analytical thinkers.

    • An interaction designer is similar to a product designer, but I don't know if I would put one in charge of high-level features. They are also close to UI designers. I feel like interaction designers specialize in the actual interactions of an app — what happens when you hit a button, how a menu flies out, how to design your forms, etc.

    • A UI (user interface) designer could be a interaction designer, but most UI designers I find on the internet tend to teeter onto the side of visual design. More often than not, they design the aesthetics of the UI elements, but not necessarily how the elements behave after interaction.

    In the end, these people all perform slightly different functions to reach the same goal. Of course, you will find designers that say that they are one title and perform the function of another — this is, after all, my opinion, and also with job functions so close together, overlap is bound to happen.

    It's also important to keep in mind that you don't need to hire one of all four functions when building a design team. Usually, based on the kind of company that you're running and the stage that you're at, one of the above (two max) will do just fine.

    22 points
    • Nick Dominguez, 8 years ago

      This is probably one of the better explanations I've seen of these job titles. "Product Designer" to me is an umbrella term with all these other titles/responsibilities falling under it.

      Ultimately, if you work on a small team like I do, what you work on falls into a little bit of all these spaces. Even though I call myself a UX designer I could probably put any of these labels on myself.

      0 points