30 Mar 2022

App Designers Vs App Developers: Is There Any Difference?

This blog explores the similarities and the differences between the two, and how both roles work together interchangeably and how their job scopes provide value to your business.

30 Mar 2022
App developers and app designers are easily mixed up on a day to day basis.
Not only do the job titles sound similar, but they both have one thing in common- they are heavily involved in the creation of a new mobile application.

What is an app developer?

App developers are the team of geniuses responsible for programming the ‘structure’ or ‘logic’ of a mobile application. During the app development process, the app developer will take the wireframes from the app designer to turn it into a workable product. Generally speaking, three types of developers are involved in apps. They included the:


Front-end, back-end and full-stack app developers.


Front-end app developer.

Front-end developers write code for the user interface, based on designs provided by an App Designer. To achieve this, they use app building frameworks and technologies such as Swift, Ionic, React, Kotlin etc. 


Back-end app developer

Contrary to popular belief, the back-end developer is not responsible for the looks of a mobile application, but its functionality- the ‘under-the-hood’ part of an app. They integrate systems of record such as Salesforce with working databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL or MongoDB, as well as Cloud platforms like AWS to make sure data is stored securely, obtained efficiently and delivered to your mobile app. Back-end developers are also responsible for developing the admining portal for an app. The admining portal is responsible for allowing the client and other authorised users to update content. 


Back-end developers are also tasked in creating APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to interface with third-party systems. This can include things like analytics, payment processing and customer relationship management systems. 


Back-end app developers are adept in languages such as Python, Ruby, NodeJS, Typescript, .Net or PHP. and so much more. 


Full-Stack App Developer

Full-stack developers are the ‘jack of all trades’- doing everything from both front-end and back-end development services. They are responsible for building an entire mobile application from start to finish. They utilise frameworks such as Swift and Kotlin to get the job done. While they are not specialised as backend and front-end devs, they possess a wide range of skills that are beneficial to ensuring that your mobile application works to the best of its ability. 


An app developer is responsible for the following tasks:


  • Understanding UX principles defined by the designers to ensure you implement an app is intuitive and easy-to-use
  • Understanding and using programming language tools including XCode, Swift and Kotlin to code the structure and logic of an application. 
  • Use the latest technologies to create a stunning and high performing mobile app. 
  • Engineering and front-end coding of ‘design patterns’. 
  • Integrating the API into the mobile application stack
  • Ensure minimal vulnerabilities exist in the front end codebase.
  • Using tools to resolve performance issues and memory leaks. 
  • User Interface testing integrated into the App’s build pipeline. 
Front End & Back End Services

What is an app designer?

App designers are responsible for designing how users will navigate a brand new mobile app, and what the app will look like (interface of an application). 


With thousands of apps on the market, it’s super important to differentiate your app from the rest of the competition. An experienced app designer can make this happen!


Their skills are critical to the success of your new app. 


App designers must have the drive, the technical know-how and the expertise to build an interface that draws in the user and make them want to interact with the app, and consequently your business. The best way to achieve this is to ensure you have an app with a well designed user interface and user experience that is easy-to-use, functional and beautiful. 


App designers are responsible: 


  • The appearance of the application – this covers colours, buttons, fonts, graphics and other elements essential to its operation.


  • The experience of the experience – this includes the use of tab bars, navigation structure and controls, modal views and other ways a user interacts with a mobile app. When, where and how are all crucial components to ensure that your users have a frictionless experience with your new app. 


Designing an app for mobile? App designers will take into account the size of a screen, whether it can be interacted via touch, and how the keyboard will factor into the app’s design. 


When it comes to tools of the trade, app designers will use a variety of programs such as Sketch, Figma to Adobe XD build designs and mockups which are shared regularly with clients, developers and users for feedback. 


Using wireframing and sketching tools allows app designers to build high fidelity and interactive prototypes for both Android and iOS apps so clients and their customers can experience the app before the final product. Doing so, you can deliver a better service that’s more on point with your business, validate designs early and locate any pain points so you can rectify them quickly. 


App designers daily tasks can range from: 


  • Understanding the goals of the new app
  • Understanding the needs of the user
  • Developing concepts of what the app might look light
  • Brainstorm ideas how the new design can solve the needs of the user
  • Create wireframes which include screens of content, navigation paths and basic interactions 
  • Testing designs and prototypes with end users prior to development
  • Reviewing the work of a developer, validating the correctness of the implementation


What’s the difference between app designers and app developers?

App designers are the geniuses that plan the scope of the app, come up with the concepts for what the app will look like, and brainstorm ways to solve problems that may arise to designing wireframes. Designers don’t write the code- they leave that job to the app developers. 


On the other hand, the tech-savvy app developers ensure the app is functional and has the features needed to accomplish its purpose. 


The developers goal is to ensure that the app is efficient, fast, easy-to-use and secure whilst helping the user to complete a job they’re trying to get done. The designer’s central focus is to make sure the app is appealing, intuitive and features distinct navigation structures that are user-friendly, and offer a fantastic user experience.


So who’s better? 


In truth, neither can exist without the other. While the job descriptions have different ways of thinking, they are both integral to the development process of an awesome app.


App Boxer can provide you with the best of both worlds. Our specialist team of app designers and full-stack developers have the technical skills and expertise needed to take on the most complex projects in our stride. When you’re ready to hire an expert app development company to build a mobile app that can perfectly streamline your business’s goals, don’t hesitate to reach out today. 


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