Becoming a product designer might not be as easy, but what is a bit more challenging is also more rewarding. Overall, product design is a misunderstood profession and there is a lot of confusion about the profession.
Nowadays, product designers are highly demanded because of their creative solutions to real-world problems. Therefore, if you are interested in becoming a product designer, you need to know an approach to solving real-world problems.
Well, let’s not wait anymore because in this article we will find out what are the most important steps to take for becoming a product designer.
What are the differences between UX design and product design?
Many people might be confused between a UX designer and a product designer. However, a product designer is responsible for focusing on the overall process and ensuring that a product matches the company’s needs.
On the other hand, we have UX designers who work the most at the beginning of the product development phase. Still, product designers are more focused on improving the product experience.
What is a product designer responsible for?
A product designer is responsible for several tasks and they are the following:
- Design: They are called product designers because they deal with design. A product designer is responsible for using typography, color, and many other design elements when creating a product.
- Team collaboration: Like any other industry, you will have a team with whom you’ll collaborate. Anyhow, a product designer collaborates with researchers, other designers, and a business team. This part is highly important because it helps align a product with the company’s goals and ensures the product is user-friendly and the right fit for users.
- Research and testing: Product designers are responsible for conducting A/B testing, conducting UX research, email surveys, and more.
9 Ways to become a product designer
To be good at solving problems, you must know how to brainstorm. This is especially important if you want to be a product designer. They must always come up with new solutions for solving new problems.
Brainstorming also includes gathering opinions from your team to make up for the correct type of feedback from your team members.
2. Pay attention to the product designer’s salary
You need to learn more about the salary you will expect for any job you start. Each country offers a different salary range and even when you work remotely, you might be able to earn a higher salary than the average one in your country.
For example, the average product designer salary in the USA will be around $90,000 in 2022. But, of course, salary ranges differ depending on your position. Salaries might go as low as $60,000 and as high as $170,000.
3. What is your why?
Whichever career you begin, there always needs to be a “why.” For example, many people think you have to be highly talented to become a product designer, but that isn’t the case. Instead, becoming a product designer is about commitment and requires you to conduct the proper research to find out more about the new solutions you can offer for the product.
Alternatively, you can even consider going through an online course about product design. These can include a longer course or even a few day trials. There are many courses online that can help you identify if you are for product design or not.
If you have some knowledge of it, you can join a more advanced course. However, if you still don’t know the basics, try learning more about it.
4. Build up your portfolio
Your portfolio is what makes the most out of it when you try to become a product designer. A well set up portfolio will define many things, especially if you have enough work samples to show your clients. In addition, whenever a client checks your work, this will help them make better decisions on whether they should trust you or not.
Your portfolio might represent different things, such as your actual work or even experiences you had by yourself. In other words, they should look professional and be able to solve real problems with the right design elements.
Especially when you are about to apply to job sites, your portfolio matters a lot and can serve as a useful item when you are trying to be hired. In addition, this is an excellent way of showing hiring managers your capabilities and if you can fit in with other experienced designers.
Each story you present to hiring managers from your portfolio should be able to solve a problem because if they don’t, you may not be considered as good of a product designer. If you have some incredible designs to show, never let them unmentioned in your profile!
5. Create a customer journey map
A customer journey map is created by the highest professionals who want to learn more about their audience. This is usually helpful when identifying how your customers interact with your product. In this case, you have the space to understand the emotions and needs of users in each customer journey step for creating an appropriate solution.
6. Take courses
There are many different courses you can enroll in when you think about becoming a product designer. For example, here are some of them:
- Basics of user experience design: An introductory course will show you a general overview of UX design, where you can learn design alternatives, prototyping, and much more. Usually, most introductory courses are free and offer you a certificate after you complete them.
- UI design basics: These courses show you how to use powerful tools such as UI design. These introductory courses will usually teach you more about creating websites, using the right tools, and more.
- Everything about user experience: We have often mentioned that user experience is something fundamental that a product designer needs to know. Here, the basics of UX, testing, and more, are involved.
7. Build up your professional network
It’s always a good idea to talk to different experts and try to meet other product designers. For example, if you are in university or were, it’s a lifetime opportunity to get to know professionals. Any person you meet is another opportunity to go to the next level.
You can even consider building your professional network on platforms like LinkedIn. The social platform has more than 300 million active users and is a worldwide popular platform now. LinkedIn acts like other social media platforms but is more for B2B purposes.
Especially if you have a considerable amount of followers, you can get contacted by many professionals. Additionally, if you are more active and add enough experiences to the platform, the chances of you getting contacted by professionals in the design industry are even higher.
8. Conduct usability testing
This testing method allows you to evaluate how easy the product is to use. During a usability test, you ask users to complete a set of tasks using a prototype product, where they’ll give you feedback on the product and if it meets their expectations.
Usability testing is one of the best ways you can solve problems as a product designer. If you aren’t familiar with usability testing, you can always try it out with a professional first.
However, as a rule of thumb, never conduct usability testing with less than eight participants. This is because at least eight participants are the correct number of people you need for conducting a successful usability test.
9. Don’t forget to try and gain at least some experience
Even if you don’t have any experience, don’t worry about it. There’s always room for becoming better at what you do. In this case, you can start working at a startup or even start as an intern. Even if you are an intern, you can still get a great job and work for a highly successful company.
Alternatively, if you are still in university, you can find out if any programs teach you more about product design, which will help you further develop your skill. For example, high-end universities will usually offer classes and mentors to further help you with your product design career.
Wrapping it all up
That’s about it for this article. We showed you the differences between product design and UX design, what a product designer is responsible for and the nine ways how you can become one.
Of course, everything comes down to how passionate you are about being a product designer and if you are willing to contribute to this career.