As the digital world continues evolving and interactive screens take over our most common tasks, user experience design has become highly relevant. A digital product designer's job is to ensure that the interfaces, apps, and websites they create are easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and functional.
While Figma skills, design software, and accurate implementation of UX methodologies are important for product designers, three essential soft skills are crucial to succeed in this role. Soft skills are the personal attributes and emotional intelligence that enable individuals to work well with others and effectively navigate different intersocial situations.
These skills are often intangible, and measuring them may be challenging. Still, they are essential to accomplish goals in various roles and industries, and the digital field is no exception. They are also necessary for any digital worker to thrive in a constantly changing digital landscape.
The skills we will look at enable product designers to collaborate effectively with peers, build better relationships with stakeholders, and ultimately contribute to the success of the product they’re working on and their organizations.
So, let’s look at these three soft skills that every product designer should polish. Also, be sure to read through to the end for a bonus tip for you digital nomads.
One of the most important skills for a product designer is excellent communication. When participating in a UX project, you’ll probably work with various stakeholders, including developers, project managers, and product owners, not to mention your clients. It's essential to communicate your ideas effectively and understand the needs and requirements of all stakeholders.
Good communication also involves active listening. Listening carefully to feedback and criticism can help you understand your needs and make the necessary adjustments to your design. Always remember communication is a two-way street, so stay open to feedback and ask for clarification when necessary.
Empathy is an essential soft skill for a product designer. To create a product that users will love, you must first understand their needs and frustrations. This is where being empathetic helps. Designing a digital product involves putting yourself in the shoes of your users and understanding their pain points and desires.
By understanding your users' emotions and motivations, you can create a design that meets their needs and makes their experience with your product or app more enjoyable. Empathy can also help you identify potential roadblocks or issues that users may encounter and address them before they become a problem.
Even though product designers usually work with agile methodologies like Scrum, they often have tight deadlines and must be able to manage their time effectively to meet those deadlines. Good time management skills help you prioritize your work and complete your project goals on time.
Time is intertwined with communication and is especially important for product designers who work remotely (a huge portion of them), as they must be able to manage their time independently and effectively. You can use tools like Trello or Asana to stay organized and prioritize your work. Set deadlines for yourself and stick to them.
Extra Advice for Digital Nomads
If you're a product designer who works as a digital nomad or planning to do so, there's one piece of advice to help you. For this adventurous type of designer, organization is the most obvious and necessary soft skill. But beyond that, there is another ability commonly taken for granted, and that is flexibility.
Working as a digital nomad can be unpredictable, so responding flexibly is essential. Please be prepared to work outside your regular hours if necessary, and be open to any changes in your work environment. Our industry tends to move and evolve quickly, and sometimes our schedules, frameworks, and work habits must adapt.
As touched on throughout, good communication, empathy, and time management are the top soft skills for a product designer, in addition to flexibility, adaptability, and organization for digital nomads.
By developing and honing these skills and strategies, you can create designs that meet your users' needs and positively impact the digital world while enhancing your professional abilities.
The Rootstrap design team is always here to help you and offer guidance. If you are just starting your design journey, check out our best tips for junior designers.
Also, be sure to have the top must-have product design tools in your back pocket.
Best of luck from all of us!