To avoid confusion, let’s setup some definitions for the differences between Coders and Designers as we believe they relate to the business and art of Marketing, Branding and Communications (MBC). At the technical level, we’re talking about programmers whose work output is code – data structures, procedures, algorithms, accessibility. Designers are describing the things to code – views, paths, behavior and sequences of events. Both are problem solvers. Both are creative functions.
Yet coders are responsible for the ultimate success of the program. Designers are responsible for the success of the user who is using the program. Simply put, coders are about the technology. Designers are about the user. The best results are achieved when both work collaboratively to achieve a common goal – to make the best program.
At the MBC level, we distinguish between the coders and designers of digital marketing solutions and the designers of MBC solutions. For example, a good digital marketing resource will have both good coders (programmers) and good designers (web/app designers). In fact, good web/app designers have some commonality with good designers in MBC – the user and the user experience.
However, we believe the definition of a designer at the MBC level, not only includes responsibility for the user (customer/stakeholder) and their experience, but also for understanding the business model of the organization – its audiences, its competition, its culture, how it’s different, and how it makes money (or sustains itself if it’s a non-profit).
Further, a “designer” at the MBC level may also be responsible not only for visual design, but for content design and development. In other words, the scope of their responsibility is broader, and includes all forms of communications – including digital marketing. In fact, a designer at this level should collaborate with the web/app designer at the technical level, as much as the web/app designer collaborates with the coder.
Here, the goal of the collaboration is not to make the best web/app, but to achieve the best MBC goal for the organization – using the web/app in concert with potentially many other activities (digital and non-digital tactics) that are part of an overall strategy.
Now, coders are not responsible for design any more than designers are responsible for technology. And, web/app designers are not any more responsible for an organization’s overall marketing strategy as MBC designers are responsible for code. Let the code warriors solve technology problems. Let the web/app designers solve user experience problems. Let MBC designers solve the bigger business messaging problems – along with content and direction that they will then implement across all communication channels, including digital marketing channels.
If we follow this practice – a best practice from our MBC perspective – then everyone is truly doing what they are best at doing and collaborating with each other to craft the best technology, user experience and messaging for their clients. As such, it’s an obvious rationale for why coders can’t design. It’s not in their responsibility, their skillset, and a gross misuse of their creative expertise.
Further, from the MBC perspective, digital marketing solutions like coding and web/app development should occur in collaboration with the MBC designer and only after the strategic MBC work has been done with the client. Otherwise, the business goal of the client will surely suffer. That’s why…
There is no app for what we doTM.