Product Management and UX/UI Design are two fields that work together. Product Managers (PMs) oversee the execution of the product idea. At the same time, UX/UI Designers are responsible for resolving issues based on their deep design knowledge. Overlap between roles is generally common; however, the lines can become blurred, leading to confusion and power struggles, which can be detrimental to success. In this blog post, we’ll analyze both roles, how they work together, their strengths, and where they overlap in a project. Remember, teamwork guarantees success in business goals!
What is a Product Manager?
A Product Manager is responsible for successfully delivering high-quality digital products. Its main goal is to guide cross-functional teams in creating products, providing in-depth knowledge of the product, and making strategic decisions about it. PMs analyze competitive and market conditions, presenting a unique product vision that offers value based on customer demands. Their responsibilities include many activities such as research, launch, and expansion.
What does a Product Manager do?
Through market research, a PM establishes a product's vision and goal, defines what the team will deliver, and the timeline for product implementation. Likewise, they create a product roadmap to help team members visualize the schedule, prioritize features, and efficiently track project progress. The PM role includes tasks such as multifunctional leadership to the design, development, sales, support, and marketing teams.
In terms of skills and repsonsibilities, PM must handle a wide variety of knowledge and experience in defining inbound product strategy and outbound product marketing. Plus, among other skills, a PM is an observer, a strategist, an aligner, a driver, and a fixer. Remember that a PM is responsible for their product's success, which is why they need to be masters of so many topics.
What is a UX/UI Designer?
A UX/UI Designer is responsible for identifying opportunities to create better User Experiences. A good UX/UI Design focuses on providing users with a seamless and intuitive experience. Likewise, a UX/UI Designer must create practical, desirable, and effective products, guaranteeing that users can easily navigate and achieve their goals while using a product.
What does a UX/UI Designer do?
UX Design, short for User Experience Design, takes charge of creating the product's start-to-end experience, having the user needs, interaction patterns, real pain points, and requirements defined through User Research. User Experience Designers aim to validate assumptions in the design requirements specified at the project kick-off. Also, during UX Design, UX Designers have to create different personas according to the various user types, identify the problems that need solving, test prototypes with users in A/B environments, refine UI designs based on feedback from users, create a balance between business requirements and users’ needs, collaborate closely with the development team, and run usability testing, such as user interviews, to assess a positive User Experience.
On the other hand, UI Designers create wireframes to map out the User Interface and layout of the design, build interactive prototypes to test and improve the UI Design, run User Research to understand the needs and preferences of the target audience, create visual design elements such as icons, typography, color schemes, and graphics, collaborate with developers and Product Managers, create design systems and style guides and understand accessibility requirements.
When starting the project, the first step is to start with User Research so that designers can create an effective user journey and sketch the product's user interface. Then, they create low-fidelity wireframes and sometimes high-fidelity prototypes using prototyping tools to visualize the interface and share ideas with the rest of the team. In this same sequence, designers test the prototypes using different methods to collect customer feedback and optimize their designs according to their feedback. The idea is to keep refining the designs even after product delivery to ensure the product is always user-friendly.
Regarding skills and responsibilities, UX/UI Designers need a high-level understanding of end users and design and prototyping tools like Figma orAdobe XD. Also, designers focus on creating user journey maps, user flows, sketches, and interface designs. These activities include prototyping, user testing, and wireframing.
How Do Product Managers and UX Designers Work Together?
As you can observe in the graphic above, both areas have a relationship with the customers. This approach includes sharing the perspective with cross-functional teammates and ensuring that user feedback has a leading role in the final product features. Product Managers and UX/UI Designers prioritize solving real users' issues, which means they are both on the same page in defining product requirements.
A PM is the intersection of business, tech, and design, which involves defining problems to solve. In other words, it’s the part characterized by describing the problem that the user is having and identifying why solving this problem would be good for business. On the other hand, UX/UI Designers overlap in the game by defining the problem to solve using a deeper understanding of the design and user implications of solving the issues.
In final words, both roles maintain three aspects in common, considering that they share the same goal, focusing on developing and improving products to solve the users' problems. Plus, they are responsible for defining the issue, thoroughly considering it, the people they are solving it for, and how both areas can keep improving. Finally, Product Managers and UX/UI Designers must understand users empathically, including studying and analyzing user behaviors when using the product and interacting with them to get feedback.
How Product and UI/UX Design Teams Collaborate?
The first step to successful collaboration within the Product Development process is defining each role and its responsibilities within a project. The idea is not to interfere where crossing areas exist, such as conducting early market research and during the prototyping phase. You must be consistent, considering that Product Managers should define "what," and Designers should execute the "how."
The PM defines the strategy to avoid confusion and unnecessary high-handedness, and the UX/UI Designer must create features that align with that strategy. At project kick-off, a process standard should be discussing product-related work to establish which items should be on or at the end of the list. Additionally, communication is one of the key components of this collaboration to deliver successful products.
There are some key differences between Product Management and UX/UI Design. While the first is responsible for product insight, direction, and overall strategy, the second focuses on design, usability, and functionality. However, its common goal is to successfully collaborate within their product roles, with lots of data sharing and transparency, for building successful and viable products. Design Process, Product Life Cycle, and Product Development Process differ from company to company. However, it is important to establish clear communication guidelines between both roles and guarantee that all product people are responsible for their respective roles in product teams to achieve product success through the End-User's Experience.