I was recently reading a blog about UX potentially eliminating the need for software product managers. But the two are not competing areas of focus. They are very complementary and need to collaborate to leverage the best of both disciplines.
This is a true statement:
Winning products are created by visionary, multidisciplinary teams that are able to deliver a stunning experience. Those who have mastered the magic of crafting the user experience are able to smash their weaker competitors. (Marcin Treder, UXPin)
Both User Experience Designers and Product Managers can fulfill the roll of helping to create products that are well designed and easy to use. Why? Because both are deeply entrenched in understanding users, their needs and pain points as well as their product.
The more I study user experience, the more I realize how important good design is. In fact, I believe consumers in most markets expect it. Personally, when I visit a website that looks dated, I immediately leave irregardless of how valuable the information or site might be.
A number of senior designers from major Internet firms — including Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Airbnb and many more — are working together to create a documentary about the power of good design. Sponsored by InVision, you can view the trailer here. It looks like it will be very powerful. I look forward to seeing it.
Good design, when coupled with a user experience focus, has the power to completely change an industry. A perfect example is Nest, who created a revolutionary approach to a simple device — the home thermostat. It's true that good engineering was required to make it possible — but that's not really the problem anymore — now it is more about creating a unique user experience that is simple, intuitive and tranformative.
I spend a lot of my helping to determine improvements to customer facing applications. Creating functional specs, user stories and use cases are all good. But there is just something about a good wireframe that speaks volumes.
I find wireframes do a number of things to help as a product manager: