Brainstorming can mean something different to everyone, but I still like to see what designers are doing before they start creating interfaces. Brainstorming could mean anything from exploratory mocks to requirements gathering. While most respondents are still using their notebooks or whiteboards, many still stay in Sketch.
I didn't ask any questions about user flows in 2017, so we can't observe any trends this year. I'm surprised we didn't see a stronger showing from Adobe XD or Figma, where designers frequently use their prototyping capabilities to communicates flows and paths. Sketch is not ideal for creating user flows, so I expect we'll see an increase in usage from dedicated flow tools like Overflow.io and Lucidchart in the coming years.
Are wireframing tools still a thing in 2018? The numbers indicate that most designers are wireframing in their primary UI design tools. The only true wireframing tool that cracks the top ten is Balsamiq. Next year, I'd like to be more thorough in asking designers if they actually create traditional wireframes.
The most important category of them all! Can anyone take down Sketch? Short answer: not yet. No surprises here, but it's great to see Figma moving up in the world. (If you're wondering how Windows users are accessing Sketch, I'm guessing it's through a virtual machine).
Each year, this is the most volatile category of tools. It's constantly changing and evolving, and this year was no exception. Sketch introduced its own prototyping tools which have proven quite successful.
Handing off designs as code is a relatively recent development in the typical UX tool kit. I expect that as these features get stronger within individual tools like Sketch or Adobe XD, we'll start to see stronger leaders in this race.
Design Systems, Component Libraries, Pattern Libraries, Style Guides. Whatever you choose to call them, most respondents are making them in Sketch (or not using them at all).
This is always an interesting, untapped market for design tools. I think the lack of usage comes from implementation difficulties: designers aren't usually able to set up these tools on their own. If you're not using them, you should.
The data here can be a bit scattered because some file management services (like Google Drive and Dropbox) offer version control tools, while some respondents are using both Drive and Abstract at the same time. Nevertheless, it is suprising how many respondents aren't managing their files using any system at all.
Based on this year's responses, these represent the most commonly used tools in each category. Sketch is still on top, but digging deeper into the data you'll find some movement in several of these categories—like Figma climbing within the top 5 in almost every single category.
While some designers are burned out on new design tools, these respondents aren't! See what tools are likely to take the market by storm in 2019.
People like you make this survey great! Thanks for participating in the second uxtools.co annual Design Tools Survey. Hopefully you learned something interesting, or maybe found a new tool to try! If you have any questions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.