“Why should I even care about the differences?” you ask. Well, if you’re working on even a small part of your digital experience, it’s important that you understand just who you need to talk to and when in order to get the most bang for your buck.
To make it simple, let’s think about the 3 different terms in the context of Google Maps. Bear with me, I promise it makes sense.
Product design - The Google Earth
We’re in charge of the fully zoomed out view of your digital experience. We get to see everything and everyone from way up here, and it’s great. We’re not only helping to design a product that looks fantastic and gets users from A to B, but also ensure that it aligns with business goals and technical constraints by working closely with you too. This can only be achieved by having a worldwide view of your business and collaborating with other teams.
You should talk to us when you have a business or technical challenge to tackle alongside an initiative for a new digital product, be it a website, web application or mobile app.
UX design - The Google Maps
Now we’ve zoomed in slightly, we’re focused on users specifically. The key is in the name here: User Experience design, and this is what’s most important to them. Whether it’s conducting user research, defining user personas or creating user flows & wireframes for a digital product, everything must be delivering value for the user.
You’ll likely need their help if you are looking to better understand your prospects & customers before diving into creating a new digital product, or updating an existing one.
UI design - The Google Street View
Finally we’re up close and personal with your digital product. This is where everything visual & interactive gets created. Colours, fonts, icons and more from your new or existing brand identity come together to create interactive elements such as buttons, forms and navigation. Their best products are created when taking all of the learnings from the UX ‘work’ to ensure that they create something both visually appealing but also easy to navigate and understand.
You will need a UI designer to either translate all of the learnings uncovered from the UX ‘work’ into precise and detailed designs, or to help visualise smaller changes to existing products, before going to a development team.
So there you have it, the next dinner party that your ‘designer friend’ attends, you’ll be able to not only nod along but tell them that they’ve probably had it wrong this entire time.
At Freestyle our product design services span all 3 of these disciplines to create engaging digital experiences that leverage customer insights, support your audience needs and champion your brand to drive growth and differentiate. If you're ready to get started, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Matt Hemmings, Product Designer, Freestyle