The Design Tools Survey

The Design Tools Survey

TL;DR: Today I’m launching a survey of the tools that digital designers are using in their work. It will run for a week and the results will be made public.

Update 11 Jun 2015: The survey is now closed. Thanks to all that have taken part; I plan to present the findings within a few weeks.


Last month I shared what I learned about popular design tools during an informal mini-tour of several New York City design teams. It was fascinating for me to hear what’s actually in use at some of the best shops in the city, how new tools and workflows are being adopted, and to compare all that with what gets published in the places where designers gather online. Much of what I heard was consistent with what we read on blogs, Medium posts and Designer News, but there was also a lot of nuance that doesn’t seem to surface in those forums—like how Sketch has an air of inevitability that’s greater even than its actual adoption—and also a few undercurrents that get rarely mentioned—like how there are actual, apparently sane people who swear by InDesign for user interface design. Wild stuff.

Of course, as I readily admitted in the title of my blog post, what I learned was flatly unscientific. In some ways, that’s not inherently bad; the challenge of assessing this space with true statistical accuracy is probably more trouble than it’s worth (unless you’re a venture capitalist). Still it would probably be valuable to get a broader understanding of these trends, at least to ensure that what I heard is representative of more than just the handful of teams I visited.

Short of replicating that tour on a larger scale and in more cities than just New York, I realized that there’s a lot that can be learned with a simple, online survey—which is what I present to you today.

Survey closed

This is a comprehensive though simple questionnaire that asks what software you as a designer are using for brainstorming, wireframing, interface design, prototyping, project management and version control. The questions are almost all multiple choice, and it takes less than five minutes to complete. Please head over there and participate right now!

I built this with the elegant survey tools from the superb Typeform service, though as you’ll see when you take it, there are a few shortcomings in the way the logic flows owing to Typeform limitations. Still, I think you’ll find that it’s pretty straightforward.

My intention is to run this survey for a week and then to publish a blog post that summarizes the findings. I’ll also publish the complete results data (excepting any emails or other personal data) for those who are interested. The survey is not sponsored or underwritten by any company; it’s purely for my own curiosity and for the benefit of the design community at large. Please take a few minutes to register your answers and then share it with all the designers you know. Thank you!


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