What is a Product Designer?
On 13th October 2020, the Partech Shaker hosted a Webinar as part of its Shake & Learn series about the role of Product Designer ‘Qu’est-ce qu’un Product Designer?’. For this Webinar, we were incredibly lucky to be joined Frédéric Dardion who has over 14 years of experience in this field and is now the Senior Product Designer at Thiga. The Webinar was chaired by Isabelle Tresson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator at Partech. The discussion covered a wide range of topics from Product Design and Product Management right through to UX and UI design.
Frédéric spoke articulately about his role at Thiga and their mission. Thiga’s basic function is to help companies create the best digital products possible and he divided the way in which they do this into three succinct areas: Consultancy, Immersion and Training. These core areas use skills that are transferable across both Product Management and Product Design. After this, he went straight to the heart of the topic by discussing the definition of Product Design as a discipline. Frédéric defined it as creating the best user experience for digital products. Despite this simple definition, Product Design is a multi-faceted discipline which differentiates itself from others forms of Digital design such as UX Design. Frédéric emphasized the importance of Customer Experience for Product Designers both online and offline and how this ties in with the role of a Service Designer.
Frédéric explained the differences between Product Design and UX Design. For Frédéric, UX Design focuses more on the user experience and the functionality of the app and the tools within it. Although both disciplines work towards the same end goal of maximizing Customer Experience, Frédéric believes it is the culture within the two disciplines which is the true differentiator. He summarized this culture as one which considers the business needs of the company and focuses on collaboration to come up with the best solutions.
After unpacking the process of Product Design as a discipline, Frédéric set out the skills needed to become a Product Designer. Frédéric spoke of the importance of skills in User Research and how knowing the needs of customers is vital to creating the best product possible. Another key skill is the artistic element of UI design and how visuals play a really important role in creating a product that is both appealing and accessible. These skills, among others, were highlighted as the key practical skills for a Product Designer. On a personal level, Frédéric underlined how Product Designers need to have good ‘soft skills’. These ‘soft skills’ are those such as being a good communicator, being empathetic and being interested in the clients you are serving. Frédéric accentuated how these skills help Product Designers daily. They help both when working with developers and creating a good relationship with the various Product Managers that the designers work with. Frédéric spoke of the working partnership between Product Designers and Product Managers. He explained this as a collaborative relationship as the two parties are working towards the same end goal and so, often share the same vision. He also highlighted the flexibility of the working relationship as there are no defined roles, but it is important to agree on who takes charge of what.
Following this overview into the world of Product Design, it was up to our attendees to ask Frédéric their own questions. An important question was posed about the state of the market for Product Design. Frédéric responded by saying it is evolving all the time and although most companies searching for Product Designers are start-ups, large corporates also call out for these skills within their various teams. There was further query on the skills and the recruitment process for Product Designers. Frédéric interestingly pointed out that he often looks for people who are problem solvers and are not afraid to add their own ideas, instead of those who work to a set remit. He also remarked on the fact that although from afar it comes across as sector dominating by younger generations, there is no age limit and experience is a highly valued skill.
A massive thank you to Frédéric for an engaging and dynamic discussion which gave all our attendees a great depth of knowledge and plenty of food for thought.
Online resources shared by Frédéric:
Le design sprint, ou comment passer de l’idée aux utilisateurs en 5 jours
Comment faire pour que la recherche UX ne soit plus un frein
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