Differences Between Internet Product Roles and Product Design Roles

In today's job market, non-technical positions in major internet companies are becoming increasingly attractive to international students with non-computer science backgrounds. These non-technical roles are essential in the creation of a product, and this involves both product and design roles. As a job seeker looking for a job in your home country, you might frequently come across job titles such as product manager, product assistant, product designer, and interaction designer. These job descriptions have similarities and differences. Let's explore the differences between internet product and product design roles.

1. Responsibilities of Product Roles

Product manager doing a check in the factory

Product positions are generally referred to as product managers, and junior positions might be called product assistants. Product managers have a role that is often challenging to define in the internet industry. 

In simple terms, they are responsible for a specific product or product line based on different internet companies product strategy. Their responsibilities include defining product strategies, planning development, conducting requirements analysis, and driving product objectives, including tasks related to development, design, and marketing. 

Product managers need to clearly define their responsibilities in their roles, in order to maximize the internet company’s benefits, enhance it’s image, and expand internationally. They not only need to understand what the product should be (the product's objectives) but also how to achieve those objectives (breaking down requirements) and ultimately bring the product to fruition. Product manager responsibilities can be summarized in six key areas: market research, product definition and design, project management, product promotion, product marketing, and product lifecycle management.

2. Responsibilities of Design Roles

Drawing to visualise the product

Design plays a significant role in whether an internet company can achieve the utmost professionalism and excellence in user experience. Internet design roles often include interaction designers, visual designers, and user experience designers. They are responsible for the overall positioning of a product, its functionality, and interaction design. They manage the visual aspects of the user interface and continuously iterate designs based on feedback.

Professionals in design roles need to have a strong sense of aesthetics and the ability to learn new things. Their responsibilities include:

  • Creating reasonable product design proposals based on the product manager's product development concept and development plan.

  • Designing product functionality and creating relevant product requirement documents.

  • Monitoring and providing feedback on interaction design, continually optimizing and improving the product to enhance the user experience.

  • Collecting industry trends and information about competitors to optimize product design strategies.

  • Assisting the development team in designing and developing the product, tracking the development process, and making timely adjustments for optimization.

3. The Relationship and Distinct Differences

Team working together on a project

If we view product design as an entire chain in the birth of an internet company’s product, this chain includes user research, product managers, interaction designers, visual designers, development, and testing. This demonstrates that product managers and designers are in a top-down relationship within this product chain. 

Therefore, they collaborate extensively in daily work, and there is some overlap in their skill sets. For example, product managers also need to learn some knowledge of interaction information architecture, while interaction designers need to understand business analysis to improve themselves. Visual designers should no longer rely solely on aesthetics for judgment and should strengthen their understanding of interaction and user experience. Today, product and design roles are far from operating in isolation.

Of course, in practice, people's time and energy are limited, and it's challenging to cover all aspects. The backgrounds of product and design roles are also very different, and they have their respective focuses in the product creation process. Product roles focus more on the business aspect, emphasizing product strategy and scope, while design roles lean toward user experience and visual aesthetics, belonging to the framework and presentation dimension of the product.

In a Nutshell

This is what Recruitery wanted to share today about the commonalities and responsibilities of internet product and design roles in internet companies. I hope this provides some assistance to international students returning home who hope to work in these two fields. Recruitery wishes you all the best as you look for your dream job!