In 2020 Taylor and Jordan from UX Tools released a survey and collected responses from over 4.000 designers. They wanted to find out how designers in 2020 changed the way they worked together and remotely. The survey results let us find out what design tools these designers have used to work on their design projects.

2020 Design Tools Survey - Taylor & Jordan, December 2020
2020 Design Tools Survey - Taylor & Jordan, December 2020

What is a designer?

First, we start by getting a better idea of who the 4.000+ designers are that filled in this survey.

The name or role that was most used is 'UX Designer' and 'Product Designer'. And the kind of content they produce is mostly focused on designing web apps, websites and mobile apps. They also work in different company and team sizes. The size of your design team can be an important factor when deciding which design tool to use. You want to know about the collaboration features of the tool. Also file sharing, easy access, real time collaboration are nice features to have in a tool.

Tools for different needs

The design process can consist out of different phases. You'll first start with getting a better idea of the target user and their problem. Then you start brainstorming ideas to help the user with their problem. You create a mockup or prototype of the solution and of course test it with your target users.

UX Design Process
UX Design Process

For each phase, you will need some basic tools. For example, post-its, paper and pens. But don't forget that we now live in a more remote, digital world where it is important to collaborate in a team or talk to a customer easily, efficiently and safely. For each important phase, there are design tools available. I discovered which tools were popular in 2020 for Brainstorming, creating Flows and UI Design.

We use Miro in our team for brainstorming on users, Persona's, user goals, experiences, etc.

Brainstorming

So what are the tools that would be used instead of a whiteboard, sticky notes and notebooks? A tool for brainstorming together is Miro. Not only are we using it currently in our design team, it is also a tool that had a growth of popularity in 2020 by 33%. We use Miro in our team for brainstorming on users, Persona's, user goals, experiences, etc. It is like a virtual whiteboard/ notebook where all of our notes and thoughts can be put together.

Other tools that are getting good reviews and feedback from the designers are Whimsical and Mural. Both of them have a similar look and feel as Miro.

Relationships and Connections

Also known as user flows, flowcharts, process diagrams or user journeys. This helps the designers to have a better understanding of the user using a product. Highly rated tools in this category are again Whimsical and Miro. But the most used software is Figma, as a primarily used tool. I personally have used both Miro and Figma before for creating user journeys and flows. But recently I have used Draw.io for creating flowcharts. It depends on how you want to work with the tools. For a more collaborative software I think Miro would do well, as well as Figma.

UI Design

An important part of the design process is creating the interfaces for the web app, mobile app or website. In 2020 the tool that got more popular was Figma. They created benefits for remote and collaborating designers and teams, with their link sharing, live collaboration and auto saving features. I have used Figma a lot during 2020 and still do. Now in the team, we are using Sketch. Sketch was the second most used software for designing interfaces, especially for Mac users.  Figma and Sketch are also two tools who have been popular in 2020 for prototyping.

Our Toolkit

Our toolkit at Cloudoki's Design Team consists of

  • Miro for brainstorming and creating user stories
  • Sketch (and Sketch Cloud) for UI Design and creating a design system
  • Google Drive for file storage.

As long as we can work together collaboratively, with each other, and have access to the files, it is a good toolkit for our design team.

Conclusion

The most exciting tool of 2021 is Figma according to the survey. Figma seems to have taken over a lot of designers last year. Tools like Figma and Sketch keep producing new features and updates. They went along with the new remotely and digital world of designing and working together. Today, this is still happening. There are some great tools available for your next design project, look them up, try them out and have fun working on the next project.

If you want to read through the survey responses and data yourself: you can find the survey results by UX Tools here: https://uxtools.co/survey-2020/.