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Product Design is an increasingly widespread function in digital service companies. Just as the profession of UX design appeared in the 1990s with the democratization of the computer, Product Design was born in response to the evolution of digital uses. Websites, applications, or social networks: companies design and market ever more efficient products, which they equip with ever more innovative features.
In a competitive objective, it, therefore, becomes necessary to deploy advanced skills within the framework of these projects. It is in this context that the company requires extensive and transversal know-how from its product team. The new Product Designer function guarantees the implementation of an offer that meets success with users while satisfying the strategic challenges of the company.
What is the concept of Product Design?
Product Design refers to the entire design chain of a digital service. Market research, identification of the need, development of the solution, testing, production, marketing, monitoring, and continuous improvement: Product Design consists in managing the project as a whole, coordinating the specialized skills involved at each stage of the cycle. It's a kind of digital project management.
The function is recent, and it is the companies that build its definition as they refine their needs, formulated in the job offers of Product Designer, more and more numerous. Note that contrary to its literal translation, Product Design is not product design. The function goes much further: it is a question of reconciling commercial success and business strategy. The digital product must not only seduce the user but also fulfill the objectives set by the company. To this end, Product Design mobilizes as much creativity as technical. The Product Designer is:
- Visionary: he "designs" a prototype of a digital service that satisfies the needs of consumers, or even anticipates their future expectations. In the design of the product, the notions of UI and UX are naturally at the heart of the Concerns of the Product Designer to seduce the user.
- Pragmatic: during the development of the digital product, the scalability and security aspects are also points of attention that fall within the remit of the Product Designer. He also ensures compliance with the budget, cost control is a central issue in the objective of profitability of the company.
Product Design vs UX Design
UX Design, for User Experience Design, is a component of Product Design. When UX design focuses on the user experience, Product Design includes the strategic directions of the company.
Illustration: the company wants to develop an application to offer an interface of its website better adapted to mobile screens. The UX Designer imagines an intuitive application for the target user whose profile has been previously defined by the Product Designer. The Product Designer studies the economic feasibility of the project proposed by the UX Designer, coordinates his work with that of the UI Designer, ensures that the developer realizes the application in accordance with the guidelines of the UX Designer, and manages the product launch in collaboration with the product manager and marketing teams.
What is the role of the Product Designer?
The missions of the Product Designer
The Product Designer manages the overall project of designing a new digital service, evolving or improving an existing service. He does not perform all the tasks himself in a concrete way, and therefore does not need to be a specialist. Like any manager, he nevertheless knows the challenges and techniques specific to each Product Design activity.
- The Product Designer studies the market to identify or anticipate a need.
- In collaboration with the UX Designer and the UI Designer, he designs the digital product in response to the need, within the budget allocated to the project.
- The Product Designer oversees the design of the experimental prototype and tests it with a representative sample.
- He launches the digital product in production with developers.
- The Product Designer ensures the implementation of the marketing strategy and analyzes the sales results.
The training of the Product Designer
The profession of Product Design is relatively new, yet many training courses already exist for candidates who wish to learn or improve. Several paths are possible to become a Product Designer:
- A course in business school or management school allows you to train in business strategy. The student acquires the necessary skills to master the commercial and financial challenges of Product Design, and is trained as a manager to be able to manage the company's digital projects. It is then recommended to complete the curriculum with specialized training in digital and design, to be sure to understand the technical aspects of the subject. Experience in business, over time, allows you to improve your skills to claim high hierarchical positions.
- Some design schools, such as Gobelins or Strate, initially specialized in industrial design, are expanding their training offer to adapt to the uses of digital technology. The course includes artistic subjects to stimulate creativity, but also technical subjects related to digital, such as computer programming. These long and advanced training courses are valued by employing companies that focus on innovation in their Product Design approach.
- Short training courses, in the form of workshops or mentoring, possibly online, also exist to acquire skills on a specific aspect of the transversal profession of Product Designer. UX, UI, or digital marketing: a few weeks are enough to learn the basics of these techniques, in order to be familiar with all aspects of Product Design.