Digital product designers work in a delicate space that straddles the line between technologist and artist, and embraces aspects of both realms. They design software and websites, with a focus on aesethetics and user experience. It's their job to solve some sort of problem through intuitive and attractive technology, so they spend a lot of time thinking about the end users of their product. These professionals have backgrounds in design, programming, and UX. For those who create audio tools, having a music education is also a tremendous asset. Who better to design audio tools than those who have used them?
With the product's concept and direction in tow, the digital product designer takes into account that experience—perhaps tapping their network of artists for further testing and interviews—as well as their understanding of music theory, creative skills and processes to build wireframes, or initial mockups, of the product. They often are involved in projects from the outset, and therefore need to work well with various colleagues and clients, offering technological perspective to creative ideas. The ability to quickly mock up early prototypes based on these conversations, and revise them frequently, is paramount to this hybrid role.
Digital Product Designer at a Glance
Becoming a creative technologist requires a strong portfolio or track record as a developer, though a degree in computer sciences, production, engineering, or other related subjects can be helpful for training and to make candidates more attractive to employers. Given their understanding of development and design, programmers may have an open path to becoming creative directors and or chief design officers.
Programming, UX design, coding, development, digital design, client relationships, prototyping, creativity, communications, curiosity, video creation, game creation, SEO, leadership
Digital product designers need to be as rational and analytical as they are intuitive and creative. They are detail-oriented, but can see the big picture. They get in the weeds, but complete prototypes quickly. People who do well in the role are extremely inquisitive, and like to get their hands into everything from the start. Not only are they unafraid to break free of the status quo, they relish it.
Digital product designers tend to lead typical nine-to-five lives, working for companies with paid and scheduled vacation time. The hours can be long, so it's important to be able to get along and enjoy close collaboration with coworkers.