April 20

User Experience — How it Intersects with Product Management

What’s the difference between user interface (UI) design and user experience (UX) design? These two practices are distinctly different but how so is debatable. You could simply state that UI design concerns how a screen and its elements on a screen look, whereas UX design concerns how the user goes about interacting with the screens. To understand the distinctions more deeply Spencer Lanoue looks at how those who first coined the terms described the practices. And talks to several modern thought leaders in the space.

Changing the conversation about Product Management vs. UX. The road into Product Management is varied; you could be a business analyst, an engineer or in marketing before you get there. But its the UX designer that might find their new role to be most like their old one, albeit with some new functions and limitations. Melissa Perri experienced this confusion as she jumped from UX and Product Management jobs trying to find where she best fit. In asking how these two roles can work together in a team, she proposes that we think less about dividing functions between them and instead think about how they can share functions when necessary.

Which UX skills should Product Owners and Product Managers have? Roman Pichler reminds us of our core responsibility as a Product Manager; “to ensure that your product creates the desired value for its customers and users and for the business.” He states that “your job is not to design a great user experience”. That’s a controversial perspective but he defends it by insisting that the UX role should exist within the development team. The emphasis on UX will also vary from product to product depending on how big an impact it should make to the success of the business. This decision will usually be made by the Product Manager. But there are many areas of UX that Product Managers should be comfortable with, including user models (personas), interactions and research.

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


You may also like