Five years ago, it was all about UX, but we saw through that. At the time, we were pretty stoked about figuring out the best way to get to answers in product design (still are!). However, we realized that there aren't a lot of designers out there that understand what it actually means to be a product designer.
The Values of a Product Designer
Product designers not only need to have a core set of skills, but a few key values as well. Embodying these values is just as important as being able to solve an interaction design problem or code up a page.
This is the bread and butter of a product designer — the baseline requirement. If a designer isn't able to do this, they're not a product designer. Why? Because product designers should aim to find that sweet spot between customer needs, business goals and technical feasibility. These three areas are what blur the lines between a designer and a developer in the "traditional sense, " and the reason why we've done away with those tired concepts at ZURB.
Product designers get excited about new ideas, and doesn't always shoot things down. In turn, they aren't afraid to question their decisions, or let other people build off their ideas.
Knowing when to say no
Conversely, a product designer also knows when to say "no." More importantly, she'll know how to say no — backing up her decisions with data, customer feedback or her own past experience. Because she understands the customer needs, business goals and technology, she's able to justify her design decisions and move the product forward rather than run around in circles.