Many people get confused with the skills required of a visual designer versus a product designer. The life of a product design professional is quite different. There's a lot more that goes into designing beautiful and highly functional products than you might expect. Research, planning, and user testing experience are must-haves for any successful product designer. Read on to find out why each is an essential skill in your future tool-kit.

Launch Your Product Design Career

Learn how to design smarter websites from industry professionals, 100% online, with the security of a career guarantee when you graduate.

User Research

As a product designer, you’re creating for the user. It’s all about what the user wants and needs. In order to get that info, you have to be able to conduct good interviews. You’ll need to know how to run research experiments like focus groups and surveys to extract the right information to build a useful product.

Information Architecture

When you’re creating digital products, you must understand how to organize and store all of the data and information that you have from mockup designs and user research. You’ll usually deal with shared cloud environments that require careful planning and IT storage organization.

Prototyping & User Testing

To ensure the digital product you’re building is actually worth the cost of investment, in time and money, product designers need to know how to create prototypes and conduct user tests to measure performance before going live. These test drives allow for more insight and gives you an opportunity to flex problem solving skills by pivoting on ideas that don’t.

Visual Design

Product designers need a plethora of visual design skills to visually express what the product will look like. Skills include understanding typography, hierarchy, grid systems, color theory and more.

Frontend Design

To power user interfaces, it’s great when product designers know front end programming languages like HTML, CSS, and presentational JavaScript. You won’t need to be a coding expert, but these skills are important if you want to advance in your career.


Can I learn Product Designer skills on my own?

Yes, you can. You can learn product design by learning the basic principles of human-centered design and then start making product prototypes. You should look for classes or books on the subject of human-centered design or design thinking. Both processes focus on evaluating the needs of the user and designing new products to meet those needs.

What type of projects would I work on as a Product Designer?

As a product designer, you’ll likely focus on designing tech projects, such as apps, software, medical equipment or consumer electronic products such as computers and smartphones.

Does Thinkful teach these skills?

Yes, our Product Management Bootcamp has been developed by leading industry professionals and will teach you everything you need to get started in this space. Learn how to manage product life-cycles, think and speak like a product manager, and build amazing products from start to finish.

Ready to learn the skills to launch a new career in product design?

See how Thinkful works.

Share this article