Application design and development
As technology has become more sophisticated, the line between application design and development, software engineering and web design and development has become increasingly blurred. Often the skillsets of many kinds of professionals are required to deliver today’s complex applications, as they become more powerful, more specialised and more usable. Simultaneously, tools are being developed that make application design and development more accessible and intuitive, so that less and less knowledge is required to build simple, useful applications.
What is the difference between a designer and a developer?
In the broadest terms, a designer plans and a developer delivers. What that means is that the application designer’s role is to determine what the application does, how it looks and how users interact with it, and it is the developer’s role to write code which makes those things a reality. This makes the designer’s role more of a creative, client-facing one, and the developer’s role more of a technical, behind-the-scenes one, but both are equally vital to creating a usable app.
What does an application designer do?
Application designers operate on multiple different levels, and they may specialise in one part of application design or take a holistic approach that covers the whole lifecycle of app design and development. The functions often performed by application designers include:
- Coming up with the application idea
- Defining the applications functions
- Planning the visual identity of the app
- Creating graphical design elements
- Creating the overall layout
- Determining the information architecture
- Refining and amending visual and structural elements throughout the development process
What does an application developer do?
Application developers utilise development tools and coding skills to achieve the goals put in place by the client and designer. The functions often performed by application developers include:
- Examining the feasibility of the design
- Formulating solutions to technical problems
- Using development tools to put together the layout and visual elements
- Coding the functional aspects of the app so that they are operational
- Creating prototypes for testing and refining purposes
- Offering ideas and alternatives to improve the app’s functionality
- Adding security and usability measures
What can applications do?
The short answer is: anything. Application design and development is incredibly powerful. The digital environment has nearly endless applications in both business and personal contexts, from creating tools that make workers more productive, to assisting management, to analysing data, to creating games for entertainment, the combination of design and development principles offer a level of control that is limited only by the imagination.
There are very few business processes which can not be simplified or enhanced through the use of good application design, and there are endless opportunities for these skillsets to be used to increase productivity and offer better services.
Businesses engage app designers and developers both to create apps for their clients and to create internal apps to assist them in managing and running their organisation. These days, apps can be created for computers, for mobile devices and even for the web, and many applications are designed to communicate with other pieces of software to amplify productivity through increased automation.