Product Design Interview Questions and Answers for 2023
Create an effective product design job post
First of all, create an effective job post on job boards or social networks like LinkedIn. This will help your recruiters get the right candidates to interview. Focus on the following:
Describe your company with sufficient facts, and make the introduction appealing. Explain the career development opportunities you offer. Talk about the company’s culture, work environment, company values, and skill development opportunities. Finally, explain your compensation and benefits policies and packages.
Job description for a product designer
Describe the product design job by highlighting how it will add value to your clients. Talk about the importance of the contribution of the designer at every stage of the design process. Explain how the product designers will need to work with other designers in the design team and cross-functional teams. Finally, describe your expectations about the designer using quantitative data and qualitative data systematically to make decisions.
Roles and responsibilities of a product designer
You want a product designer to undertake the following responsibilities:
- Setting up design requirements based on user research and inputs from business/IT stakeholders;
- Product design is a continuously evolving process. Your product designer needs to be able to identify improvement opportunities in the design of a new or existing product;
- Analyzing how a new product would meet customer and market needs;
- Weighing different trade-offs before making design decisions;
- Staying up-to-date with trends in the design of digital products;
- Studying various product design best practices implemented by leading companies like Amazon, Adobe, Uber, Netflix, etc.;
- Leading digital product design exercises in a hands-on manner;
- Creating wireframes and other applicable artifacts;
- Using applicable tools like whiteboards and visual design tools;
- Communicating the product design effectively to business stakeholders and the software development team;
- Coordinating with the software development team to ensure successful implementation of product design;
- Reporting project status.
Product design skills and competencies that you should look for
You want a product designer with a bachelor’s degree in information technology or related fields. Look for the following skills and experience:
- Sound knowledge of all product design processes and phases;
- Years of experience in user research, copyrighting, wireframing, prototyping, visual design, interaction design, and usability testing;
- Robust knowledge of modern software development methodologies and processes;
- Thorough understanding of the processes, methods, and tools involved in software development, testing, and DevOps;
- Excellent knowledge of product design processes, methods, and tools (PM&T);
- Sufficient product design experience involving different clients and projects.
You need a product designer to have the following competencies:
- The ability to see the big picture: Product designers need to think from the perspective of the end-user.
- Passion for excellence: Delivering a winning software product requires adding tangible value to end-users in a sustained manner. Product designers need a passion for excellence.
- Commitment: Product designers need a commitment toward the scope, quality, cost, and schedule objectives of your project.
- Collaboration: Product design involves uncertainties, and product designers need to collaborate with a range of stakeholders. This includes end-users, product managers, software developers, etc. Collaboration skills are important.
- Communication: Product designers need effective communication skills.
- Problem-solving: The skills for solving problems are important for product designers.
Product design interview questions for a junior designer
Use the following product design interview questions to interview junior product designers:
Question 1: Is the product design process the same as the UX design process? Explain the similarities or differences.
Answer: Product design work differs from UX design. A product design is an entire design process that encompasses more than UX design. The differences between product design and UX design are as follows:
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- UX designers investigate behavioral patterns. They explore various ways to solve a business requirement and choose the best way. On the other hand, product designers work on all aspects. They don’t confine themselves to the user experience of the product. They design the product experience holistically throughout the product lifecycle.
- UX designers solve design problems concerning a product. Towards this, they work on the design of various aspects like functionality, usability, look-and-feel, etc. Product designers try to eliminate discrepancies between what the company promises and what the product delivers.
- UX designer or UI designer focuses on functionalities delivered by a product and how well it delivers them. Product designers go beyond that and look at all human touch points concerning the product. Towards this, product designers look into the product’s ecosystem too. They incorporate the relevant aspects of the ecosystem into the design of the product.
- UX designers work on designing an appropriate user experience for a product. On the other hand, product designers research, identify, investigate, and validate business opportunities and problems. Product designers also research and design potential solutions. They review appropriate key metrics to determine the success of the solution.
- UX designers need design skills. Product designers need that too. They also need skills in information architecture, content strategy, interaction design, UI design, visual design, and usability testing.
Question 2: Explain how to test product design. Which methodologies do you use for this, and how do you ascertain the usability of the product?
Answer: The purpose of product testing is to understand whether a product works according to the needs of users. This testing must include ways to understand how the user interacts with the product. Therefore, a product designer must conduct user testing.
There are different types of user tests, e.g.:
- Behavioral and attitudinal testing;
- Qualitative and quantitative testing.
Product designers need to include the appropriate number of users for each of these.
Investigating Behavioral patterns and attitudinal testing checks the perception and pain points of users about the product. Qualitative and quantitative testing focus on what users do with the product.
Qualitative testing requires direct observation, however, quantitative testing requires indirect measurement. Quantitative testing shows quantities, amounts, ranges, etc., in the test results. Qualitative testing results show subjective information.
Product designers might use moderate and unmoderated remote user testing. Moderated testing involves someone guiding a user if required, furthermore, this includes on-the-spot observation.
Unmoderated remote testing involves participants testing the product based on instructions. This mode of testing involves recording the session and collecting data using a computer.
Product designers might use a method named “heuristic evaluation”. This kind of evaluation identifies the usability issues of a product. One or more experts compare the design of a digital product against predefined design principles. These design principles are called “heuristics”.
During this evaluation, experts identify deviations from the design principles. Heuristics could include best practices, conventions, standards, etc.
Question 3: Take a recent product design challenge as an example and explain how you resolved it.
Answer: You should expect answers that demonstrate the hands-on experience of the product designer. The candidate should explain the business challenge. We expect product designers to explain the root cause of the challenge, and we prefer framing the challenge in business terms.
Product designers should explain the various alternatives they had. They need to explain how they evaluated various alternatives, and they should provide the reasons for choosing one of the alternatives.
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Product designers should explain what inputs they used for evaluating various alternatives. This could be analytics obtained earlier. Alternatively, they might test the product with a different end-user segment and analyze those test results.
Product designers might need to test different wireframes or interactive prototypes to validate hypotheses. Designers might need to conduct additional market surveys.
Product designers might need to revisit the earlier test results or interactions with user groups. They might need to undertake multivariate testing, A/B testing, etc., to weigh between alternatives. You should expect tangible answers and not jargon!
Question 4: Mention some of the key challenges involved in the work of a product designer.
Answer: You should expect answers that reflect experience in product design. The candidate should touch upon the following kinds of challenges:
- How does a product designer evaluate the success of a product design? What business-level success metrics should product designers use? How should they balance different approaches, e.g., KPIs (key process indicators), and OKRs (objectives and key results)?
- How do product designers align their work with the mission and vision of a company? What should product designers do to align their work with the value proposition of a brand? How should product designers ensure that their design exercise is in line with the marketing efforts of the company?
- How do product designers successfully convince the business stakeholders about the value of a particular product design? How do you explain a product design with high estimated costs to build the product?
- How do product designers convince the company that they need more data? The company might need to execute a new analytics project or undertake new user research to create the data. This requires investment, and the product designer needs to convince the company.
- How do product designers that work remotely collaborate with the business and software development stakeholders? Government clients impose stringent restrictions on communicating with their employees during a project. These limits on interaction can pose challenges when a software development company works with government clients. Many of these challenges impact the product design work, therefore, how do product designers resolve them?
Question 5: Explain the product design processes and methods that you have followed.
Answer: You should expect to hear answers that reflect in-depth expertise in product design. The following are a few examples:
- Product designers create their own approaches to design work, and these approaches evolve. Candidates should mention a few experiences of their career.
- Designers also use a few standard processes, research methods, and tools. Candidates should describe them and how they adopted them.
- Product designers must tailor their methods to suit the business goals of the company they are working with. Candidates should mention examples of them.
- Candidates should mention how they have used “design thinking”. You can read more on design thinking in our article here.
- Product designers need to mention their expertise in HCD (Human-Centered Design) with practical examples.
- Candidates should highlight examples of using tools and research methods like competitive audits, stakeholder interviews, user personas, empathy maps, user research, content audits, etc.
- Product designers should talk about their experience in designing MVPs (Minimum Viable Products).
- Candidates should describe their experience with methodologies like Lean, Agile, etc.
- Designers need to talk about their knowledge of information architecture, business model canvases, mood boards, storyboards, use case scenarios, user flows, customer journeys, wireframes, mockups, prototypes, and usability testing.
- Candidates should explain their experience with different types of user testing.
- Product designers should mention their experience with multivariate testing, A/B testing, click-tracking heatmaps, and quantitative analytics.
Interview questions for a mid-level product designer
Use the following product design interview questions to interview a mid-level product designer:
Question 6: Provide examples of working with business stakeholders and software development teams to implement the right solution.
Answer: You should expect to hear specific examples. The work of product designers involves in-depth collaboration with business stakeholders, software architects, software developers, and testers. A few examples are as follows:
- Product designers might have worked with business stakeholders to rationalize the requirements. Some business stakeholders might provide a laundry list of requirements, however, not all of them are required. Product designers often work with them to rationalize the list.
- Software architects make architectural decisions. They use various decision-making factors for this. E.g., they might consider non-functional requirements (NFRs) before choosing an architectural pattern. Product designers often work closely with software architects in this process.
Question 7: Talk about your experience with the HCD (Human-Centered Design) approach.
Answer: HCD is a popular approach for problem-solving, and product designers often use this framework. Experienced product designers should have hands-on experience with it. Expect detailed answers that could touch upon the following:
- The candidates should explain how they understood the users’ needs in previous projects.
- They should explain how they designed products that work across various use cases.
- Product designers should describe how they used HCD to design products that work on various platforms like mobile, desktop, web, etc.
- Candidates should explain how they used various studies like field studies and contextual observation along with HCD.
- Designers should explain how they set goals for user research. They should explain how they chose a sample size and representative users.
- Product designers should explain how they conducted user testing while keeping HCD in mind. They should explain how they conducted structured interviews during this. Designers should talk about how they collected results and analyzed them.
Question 8: Describe a few product design case studies you have reviewed closely to get design ideas for your work.
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Answer: You should expect detailed responses to this open-ended question. Candidates should talk about which app they reviewed as a case study and you can ask follow-up questions. They might talk about leading products from companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, etc. Candidates might also talk about apps like Uber or Netflix. Expect to hear about the lessons they learned by studying these apps.
Product design interview questions for senior designers
The following product design interview questions are suitable for interviewing senior product designers:
Question 9: Talk about a few leading trends in the field of product design.
Answer: You should expect to hear the thoughts of candidates instead of them listing out trends. They should talk about how product design is evolving with time. While many things change, the quest to deliver value to users remains a priority.
Candidates should talk about how various product design trends succeed to deliver value to end users. Furthermore, you should expect to hear limitations of certain trends too. Designing and prototyping tools help designers, and candidates should talk about them.
Question 10: Explain how you make websites and apps accessible to persons with disabilities.
Answer: Businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations are focusing on accessibility. Product designers must have expertise in making websites and apps accessible to persons with disabilities. This open-ended question should invite detailed answers.
A few examples are as follows:
- You should expect to hear how designers follow the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
- Designers should talk about how they performed accessibility data analysis.
- Product designers should mention how they incorporated accessibility considerations in user testing.
These product design interview questions will help you hire expert product design engineers. If you need more help with the interview process and onboarding process, contact us at DevTeam.Space.