How Product Managers Can Work Better with UX Designers

Published September 3, 2019 by James Riddle
6 min read


The Internet is the most competitive space, and the right design can distinguish the product from the rest. Statistics show that every $1 invested in UX results in a return between $2 and $100. Those who are professionals in this field are responsible for the success of the project. And they are the product manager and UX designer. Nevertheless, you can’t expect much from a team where these two specialists are always quarreling.

Memo for UX Designers and Product Managers

To understand why manager-designer collaboration plays such an important role, we should agree that it’s possible to develop a great app only by rallying. Therefore, if we are already talking about responsibility for this area, then it is equal for designers and product managers as well.

“It is important to understand that providing great user experience is the #1 task for all the projects that aim to become popular. Nobody will use an app if it is impossible to use it conveniently. That is why great UX development is the task for the whole team, and the UX designer is only one of the links in this chain.”– Explains Domantas Gudeliauskas, who runs Hosting Wiki.

That is why you need to find out how to work with UX designers in the most effective way. Today we have prepared some useful tips for you that can improve your working experience.

Product Manager vs. UX Designer

First, it’s vital to understand the obligations of these two specialists. It is quite essential to understand the difference in responsibilities as well, as these two professions have the same ultimate goal.

Product Manager Responsibilities

  • Creation and promotion of new ideas, their implementation in the form of a finished product or service
  • Development and control of a line of products and services
  • Plan and control over its accurate execution
  • Competitor analysis and their activity forecast
  • Market segment analysis
  • Pricing policy creating and product life cycle forecast
  • Creation of a sales promotion program, development of presentation materials as part of marketing promotion
  • The close cooperation between the company departments, partners and negotiations with clients

UX Designer Responsibilities

  • Collecting data about the project and its target audience
  • Scenario design for users
  • Concept and style development.
  • Creating instructions regarding fonts, sizes and color palette
  • Creation of models and prototypes
  • Drawing prototypes of interfaces
  • User testing prototypes

As we see, UX designer and project managers work on different levels of abstraction. However, there is one shared responsibility for both of them. Project manager, as well as UX designer, should provide users with the best experience with their application or service. That is why the main task of PM is to find out what do users want from a particular app, and the task of UX designer is to implement it.

Image by Pendo

It so happened that the UX designer and product manager are forced to work together in many work processes. And that is why there is a room for quarrels between these workers. Yes, it is certainly difficult to reach an agreement when you look at a product from different points of view. The project manager evaluates the product as a whole, in a complex, while the designer performs only one of the stages of the project. However, the following tips will help to minimize the conflicts between PM and UX designer, and what is more, make their joint work effective.

Coordinate So That The Workflow Is Streamlined

In the initial phases, you need to unite and clarify all issues together. In order not to crash your entire project, you cannot work outside the team. Let UX designers know what is required of them. Ensure ongoing collaboration and be prepared to share project responsibility.

Pay Attention On Different Thinking

You may like it or not, but UX designers are creative people. Therefore, the working behavior of product managers and designers is different. First, you need to start with the fact that designers think visually and even abstractly. This is exactly what makes them designers.

Yes,product managers are focusing more on KPIs and budgets or the final product than on individual design problems. And here the battle of the titans can begin. Managers do not agree with the design decision, criticism annoys designers, and work begins to slow down. Therefore, before starting the battle, put yourself in the place of a designer.

Clarify The Goals

The main advantage for product managers is the fact that there is no need to tell UX designers about what exactly you want. Managers only need to help designers understand the ideas, concepts, and other features of the product.

Product managers should give designers a clear understanding of:

  • the targeted audience
  • budget size
  • deadlines

And then it’s up to the UX designer. When he has a clear understanding of the above, he will be able to work as efficiently as possible! For example, you as a PM see that it is necessary to increase the conversion rate of a registration page. In other words, you should tell a UX designer that there are some hidden barriers users face when starting registration. He should find them and improve the situation.

Never Hesitate to Provide Help

When someone asks questions, you should not be annoyed and incline that the person is not competent! You, as a project manager, first of all, analyze its future viability and potential success from a marketing point of view. And the interface designer looks from the inside. This person does what will determine how successful the product is since a convenient user interface is one of the main conditions for a promising application. The worst thing you can bring to your project is not to provide answers or help the member of your team. Even though the responsibilities of the designer and manager are different, their goal is common!

Never ignore the questions of your UX designer, but rather let him know that he can get the right answers from you!

Learn to Listen and Not Interfere with the Work of Others

Often, it’s possible to face a situation where a product manager criticizes the work of a designer. And the designer, in turn, insists on the need for this or that element of the UX. For example, the color of the Help button may seem inappropriate to you. But before asking the designer to make changes, conduct an A/B testing and find out what your users like more. Sometimes this behavior of managers can harm the user experience.

“Keep in mind that there are many projects that have failed because the users did not understand how to use them because of the poor interface. Just let your UX designer do his or her part of the common task.”– Explains Katy Britt, the manager at HR Software development team.

That is why sometimes you should not interfere with the work. Better ask the UX designer to explain why you should leave this item!

Do Not Forget About Personal Involvement In The Project

Let’s proceed to the work of managers, who are always obliged to meet deadlines and complete the project on time. However, this does not mean that your job is to set spurs to the designers! It is worth remembering that UX design does not endure haste, so this behavior will not bear real fruit. You must still help your colleagues, and then you can count on a real result.

As for designers, they should not give the manager a false impression of quick execution. Do not overestimate your strengths, but rather set deadlines with a margin. Moreover, when something does not work out on time, it’s worth informing the manager about it.

The project will not tolerate a lack of personal involvement! If you want to satisfy your customer, then never forget this point!

Final Words

As you can see, making work with UX designers effective is not so difficult. In fact, the product manager should be able to establish contacts with all team members, but with UX designers in the first place.

Start improving interaction with UX managers now, and a good result will be just around the corner. You must understand that you and the designers are the one unified team. Only with this approach, everyone will be able to do the job perfectly.

What do you think, how else the coordinated work of the UX designer and product manager affect the final result? We look forward to your opinion in the comments!

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