With so many tools vying for your attention and money, it can be tough to know what the best options are when you’re prototyping a new UI or collecting test data from users. Taylor Palmer has your back with a survey of over 4000 UX and design professionals to see which tools made the biggest differences for them last year. We take a look at the results in this week’s episode.
- 2020 Design Tools Survey
- 2020 Design Tools Survey data
- Everything you need to know about Design Systems
The following is a machine-generated transcript of this episode. It will contain errors until it has been reviewed and edited, and we apologize for the difficulty that may cause for screen readers. Do you want to help us speed up our transcribing process? Consider sponsoring an episode.
Cat got your tongue.
You ever just kind of walk up to the microphone and you’re getting ready to say something and then just nothing comes out? Yes.
That’s kind of what just happened to me. 82 80 episodes, 80 episodes. And I’m finally like, I don’t know how to start this. This is Episode 80. Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for jumping in with us. I am your host, Michael Fienen.
And I’m your other other host. Aaron. How you doing, Michael?
I I think I gave you some good facial expressions. There is. I was processing. Like, what clever thing am I going to say here and nothing. Nothing came out my mouth
this glorious year of 2021.
If you want to start 2021 with us and do it the right way run by our sponsors over a new cloud, you can check them out at new cloud dot com slash drunken You exits in you cloud dot com slash drunken you x. Check them out for interactive maps, illustrations and things of that nature.
Outside of that, if you want to check us out, be sure to swing by Twitter or Facebook were slash Drunken you X If you wanna catch us on instagram slash drunken you x podcasts or drop in chat with us anytime it’s drunken. You x dot com slash discord We are social human beings, dammit! And the I’m lonely
Little, little What do you got there? You have a glass of brown liquid,
its’s liquid assets. See, my wife got me these glasses, and when you get to the bottom of it, it’s as easy, tiger, like in the bottom of the glass. Um, this evening I am drinking Mort lock 16. That is not cling on wine of any sort. Morlock. New to me. I had never heard of Morlock and all of my journeys and all of my buying Morlock was one that was off the beaten path. It’s the beast of Duff Town thistles, the distillers dram.
This is a space side Scotch the bottle. And folks, I do, actually. And just as a plug for our instagram, I shared a picture of this on our instagram. But look at this bottle. That’s a beautiful because it is a gorgeous bottle. I ah, I like it. It’s different. It’s got a very for a space side. It’s incredibly nutty,
like I’m not trying to promote our social again. But it’s worth going looking at our instagram just to see the bottle, because it’s a really nicely
bottle. It’s a nice bottle like it’s like a bottle that I’m looking at Last Ice Cube. Do I get rid of it? Do I stuff some lights in it? Turning into a lamp? I don’t know, but it’s It’s nutty. It’s It’s a little sweet, but not not like a candy. Sweeter sugar. Sweet or rosy sweet. It’s not very floral. Got a very sort of nutty, earthy, sweet if that makes sense.
Like if you’ve ever drank coffee and thought that coffee tasted sweet without sugar in it like that sort of. I don’t know what that flavor is in coffee that that could make it that way. I’m doing a terrible job. It’s also got like a very dried Citrus, like if you’ve ever had, like a dried orange or something like that, like like not a not a wet, soppy fresh orange like a very muted Citrus kind of dry Citrus flavor, right. But it’s it’s got a punch to it. Is it the beast of Duff Town? I don’t know. E definitely tasted relative terms.
What is tough time have to offer, like you know what other kinds of beasts the duff have to offer.
What do you got to CNN?
I have I’m calling you to finish sniper. Its’s a white Russian, but it’s you’re just making something up. Well, yeah, eso its’s a shot of Kahlua, a shot of vodka, two shots of Bailey’s and then another shot of Kahlua on the top. And so it’s basically five shots of liquor in one glass.
So this is going to be interesting. Luckily, Kahlua and Baileys or not, they’re like, what, 20%? 20
e think they’re like, Yeah, 40 proof for something. But let me tell you like these air sneaky because it’s so smooth, like the Baileys in the Kalua together are just They don’t taste like liquor at all. And so you’re just drinking it And then, like I mean, like my second one and then I’m like, Whoa,
so you’re saying we have to talk fast tonight?
Well, I’ve only got one, but reported heavy. So we’ll see
folks this week on the drunken UX podcast. We’re gonna be looking at the 2020 Design Tools Survey. This is a survey that was done last year by Taylor Palmer of UX tools. Dot ceo. Um, he’s underscore Taylor Palmer on Twitter. This was something I’ve I’ve seen it in the past. I don’t think I saw it last year, but I believe in 17 and 18.
I had kept an eye on it and I saw it pop up again in the middle of this December, I think, was when he released the results and I went, Oh, I forgot. That was a thing. Let’s jump into that and I got to look into it. I’m like, Man, there’s a lot of really interesting stuff and I think some interesting stuff that is a direct consequence of last year that’s worth talking about.
So we’re gonna go through some of these results I mentioned it came out in the middle of last month. He collected over 4000 responses. So a pretty, you know, respectable number of people answered this to make it. I think useful. And the other cool thing is that he released all of the results freely available. You can get this.
If you go to ux tools dot c o slash survey 2020 and we’ll have links in the show notes as well, so we’ll just run by drinking you x dot com But he’s got a link there where you could go. Just download the survey results. So big. Shout out to Taylor. Dude, you did great work. I’m looking forward to digging into this, and he started with demographics. This one’s easy. By and large, he’s discovered that UX designer and product designer were the main titles of people who responded. So keep that his content things,
they they are. I think what your product right. And I think it also depends heavily on just what your market sector is, what your company is, where you know people wear many hats, you know, and as a result, you know, there could be a lot of overlap, and I think you’ll see that in the tooling and the processes people reported using that. That’s where the real overlap, I think, starts to fall. I I think it’s important to emphasize, though this is sort of a designer focused survey. This isn’t like when we looked over the state of J S or the C s s uh, survey.
Um, this is not developer focused. So if you are a developer, designer or designer developer, I think this stuff will be very useful to you because I think sometimes we don’t. You know, we don’t always keep up with what the latest tools are because we’re too busy doing the other half of our work. One of the things that he mentioned in the demographics that I thought was of interest.
25% of respondents used Windows as one of their platforms, which was up from 18% last year to 7% bump. And I don’t know if that’s because of people working from home, and they have Windows machines at home. Oh, or yeah, and I don’t know that there isn’t. I don’t know that there’s a way to distill that from the results that air here, but it would be interesting to know if that’s just a skew because people aren’t in their offices.
I’ve always chosen toe work on my Windows machine, but I’m also developing inside of VM that’s running Linux. So uh huh, the other side of demographics that I thought was interesting. A huge number of the respondents most we’re three years or more experience. Uh, so there’s like there is a distinct wait to people all the way up to 10 plus years.
Like the three. It’s three groups, 3 to 5 years, 6 to 10 years or 10 plus and those three were all hovering right. About 1000 people each responded to that, leaving less than 1000 with two years or less.
Right? There might be some selection bias there, like maybe if you’ve had three plus years experience, you feel more comfortable responding to a survey like this. But it’s
or you’re more likely to see the survey to begin with like you’re tuned in tow the news and your industry stuff that you’re reading, that you see the link pop up, whether read it or, you know, ux design that cc or one of those. But with with the three years plus, I don’t have a whole lot to say about that, except that I do find it interesting that there is a lot of experience bleeding through, and I wonder what that means.
I don’t really know. I don’t have a good answer like, Is it bad that we don’t have as many people two years or less? That air timing in doesn’t mean we have less people coming into the industry. I don’t know.
That’s a good point. It could be not. It kind of points to maybe this idea of perhaps maybe market saturation like we have a lot of these UX people already. And there aren’t Mawr entering a pipeline or they’re fewer intricate pipeline. So maybe, like we ramped up, quickly filled a lot of these positions and then we haven’t had we had to decrease the pace.
That’s that’s one thing that I think is missing from some of these results is I do think it would be interesting to have some third party context added into it like, say, you know, here’s here’s what the respondents said about their experience and then if you go toe, you know, if you look at monster dot coms, you know, research from last year, here’s, you know, here the number of jobs that they posted and had filter something there to just kind of contextualized. Some of that information would be cool, but you could do that on your own if you if you really wanna know.
I know we don’t have this in the notes, but I right next to that chart is a chart that has how many employees work at your current place of employment. I was surprised by this, I was expecting, maybe like a bell curve distribution, but it’s pretty leveled out for most of them. It’s right around 200 to 600 except at the 11 to 100 size, which is 1200 people. There are 1200 companies and 1000 plus, which has 800 company for 800 entrance.
I do think that would benefit from being spread out a little more mhm, like the difference between a company with 11 employees and a company with 100 employees. Like like That’s that grouping right there. Like it’s it would be like the 101. The 500 feels better because it’s like when you’re talking hundreds of employees, you’re right about a Danish scale. But I would have liked e
would want to know
like I would have at least like to have seen, maybe like an 11 to 50 and then a 51 to 100. Maybe to kind of break that up, because I think that would I think that balance would tell a story.
Yeah, like 1 to 10 is kind of We’re a startup. 11 to 11 to 50 is sort of were a successful startup or we’re a startup that is succeeding. Presently, when we get above 50 it’s like, Okay, we’re serious now, So yeah, that would have been a good segmentation. And what
is it about? I’m just doing math in my head here. About 15% identify as freelancers.
Oh, yeah. 6600, 604,000.
I think that’s Yeah. I actually think that’s exactly 15% isn’t it? Yes. Not that drunk yet. Okay. Brainstorming is his next section. This one’s interesting because it definitely lends. Lends itself to the company where you’re part of a team. Because if you’re a one man army, you’re probably not brainstorming whole lot, at least not like collaboratively. You may be doing it. Certainly by yourself are something along those lines.
But the tooling and the answers are very much geared towards a you know, how do you brainstorm with people? Type of situation, which can also, you know, not necessarily mean that your brainstorm with other UX designers or other Web developers. Maybe you’re brainstorming with marketing. Maybe you’re brainstorming with HR.
Maybe you’re brainstorming with your your sea levels or something like that, like it’s entirely possible that you are brainstorming with non technical people because they may be your stakeholders and you’re trying to assess what’s the value in in, you know, a certain feature or what? You know, what is it they’re trying to get at or what new market segment are they looking at? So that’s something to keep in mind.
I think a little bit there, he says. Here. Miro had absolutely massive growth this year, likely due to an increase in remote workers. Miro grew from being used by 5% of respondents in 2019, the 33% in 2020. This, to me also feels like it falls like if you Googled, I needed like an online white boarding app. What should I use? And marrow is just the first result. There
have a used Miro before
I have used like a like the demo, whatever version of it, but not recently, and not like to any length.
We use it at my job and I got to say, like the hype Israel, like you could use it for pretty much anything. Like if you imagine anything you could do on a white board, you can very easily do it on this. And what’s I think the thing that I think is most remarkable about it is that when you have multiple people in the same session, you see their mouse cursors moving around on the screen.
You can see what they’re doing, Okay, But also, you can infinitely scale in or out, and everything is victory ized, so it all scales evenly. So we have I used. I used Miro a couple months ago to dio flow diagram of where was documenting one of the processes we had that was really high touch like it bumped around a much different classes and vials, and I wanted to sort of show This is how this particular request is going to flow.
Do everything and and I you know, I initially started out at, like one scale, and I had to keep zooming out. But I was really impressed that, like, you know, the funk. It’s smaller but it skills pretty smoothly and all the graphics will affect arise. They don’t get weird. I’m sure we’re not using it for you Ex specifically re using it for a lot of different things.
But just as like a general white boarding tool, it it was just amazing. And I were not sponsored by Miro. Although if you would like to sponsor us, I will happily say this every episode in tosses. A few bucks, that’d be cool. You know where to find it. Uh huh.
The thing that stood out to me in the brainstorming section, though, is that a stigma was ranked the second most used tool with sketch and Adobe X d is 3rd and 4th, though they were pretty distant at that point. But the thing is, we’re talking brainstorm, and we’re not talking about the other, you know, other uses, right, like their main uses.
And so the idea that people were using like Figma as a brainstorming tool is kind of interesting, and I would be curious to see what that even looks like. Now. I don’t use sigma like as a designer. I’m Maura Consumer, as as a developer. My designer gives me the Sigma file, and so I have to go in there and pull stuff out of it. So I don’t have that that base layer of interaction with it. So I would be interested to know what what that means.
Like, what does brainstorming in those tools look like? And you’re gonna This is gonna be a recurring theme. So just brace yourself for that. The other thing that was left out, though. And he notes this and Taylor mentions this in the results. Um, he intentionally left pen and paper out.
And like, traditional white boards as a consequence for obvious reasons, because 2020 people weren’t collaborating in person because I would say, like, if you wanted meet a list, my best brainstorming tool. It’s a giant yellow legal pad in the pin. Yeah, I you know, I go through that process for my brainstorming and because I rarely take that and need to translate that directly to something digital.
Usually I will translate it to digital, but I’m translating parts of it as artifacts or something like that. So
all right, like, I swear we’re not sponsored by Miro yet. Um, I’m just gonna say one last thing, I think for brainstorming purposes specifically like you want the tool that really is not gonna lock you into anything specific and is highly collaborative and has a lot of space. You could kind of just let your idea kind of explode and explore, and that is something that Miro definitely excels at.
So, like, I am not at all surprised that it topped it out. I have not used Figma. I think I’ve seen a screen cap of it, but I haven’t used it. I have gotten stuff from X D and envision,
um, Marrow did score a 4.4 and satisfaction from people to as well, so clearly. Well, not just well like well used, its well liked.
I don’t know that I would use mural for, like, mock ups or whatever as much it’s it’s not rigor, and it’s not structured enough for that. But for brainstorming, it’s amazing
so but to that point, so for you, I design your top three tools were fig, MMA sketch and XD. I mean, no, no surprises there at all. Yeah, stigma. Interestingly, unlike the other two, fig HMAS showing, though, was strong. Regardless of what platform you were using. So Mac Windows didn’t matter. Figma ruled the roost for both sketch, um is Mac OS only So they are limited in that way. You know, they made a choice, and that’s the choice they made.
And I know people love sketch, but the fact that it is Mac os Onley obviously limits its reach. XD is a well, a XD obviously, uh, not obviously. But XD came out better on windows than Mac OS, which is I mean, it’s interesting. I kind of I would have expected maybe Mawr. But I do have to say I am still surprised. X d is not more popular.
I cannot Every time I see XD I see that face the
emotions. I know
I dio I can’t not see it and maybe they should leave kind of annoying
e. Well, I kind of wondered
if they if they were intentionally doing
don’t know, experienced design, I mean Oh, is that what that means? E Just get design or something?
No, I I really am because the thing about it and I’ve talked to designers who used sigma and you use sketch and envision and all of these, and pretty much universally, they all say, Yeah, X d is free and you’re getting what you pay for. Like it’s not as good as the others. Other options that are out there but it’s free.
And when you figure the number of people who are out there freelancing or who are working at companies that are small and aren’t looking to dish out a lot of extra subscriptions to stuff, since you probably already have a subscription to Creative Cloud for Photoshop and or illustrator at the very least uh, the fact that X is right there I just feel like that would be a market opportunity that people would take advantage of mawr.
But they haven’t been. I’ve said that before. That’s that has come up in the past when we’ve talked about these tools and I’m still surprised by it. Uh, I would love to hear other if if you have used any of these, including X D, and don’t like X d, I would be interested to know what you’re like. Specific complaints are about it because it just it feels usually when something is free. That’s a big you know, WordPress.
We hate WordPress, right? Every every devil, almost. Debs will say, Yeah, we don’t like wordpress, but we use it because it’s free and it’s out there. It’s it’s got everything, you know, It’s not perfect, but, you know, I can’t get experience engine or something like that. Um What? What is it? Uh, whatever. Adobes. Uh uh, CMS is that costs, you know, $120,000. You know, obviously we’re not doing that.
So we’re gonna swallow the pill and do wordpress and and next, you just feels like you’d be swallowing the pill. And I have used x d. I like XD. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s good. Like it’s good enough that I don’t want to pay for Figma. I would use my free x d and make do. That’s me. And I say I I am a developer designer. I am somebody who doesn’t do that stuff full time.
So I am maybe not nearly a sensitive to the quirks or the failings, because I just I don’t use it deeply enough prototyping, which is an extension of you. I design, but is separate. There was an interesting note on it for the leader. Over the last few years, there have been three different top tools. Every year it has changed from fig are from envision to sketch to sigma, which is interesting because each one of those has, like, been super hot and it’s it will be interesting to see.
Okay, so is Sigma going toe hold out on this, or are we literally waiting until the next new thing in a month? Right. So I think it says a lot about what we’ve been learning about these tools in the industry. Because before, like, envision came along, we had balsamic, you know, like way had tools like that, which I like the balsamic. Actually, it was a new air app.
It was really no frills. I like that about it. Lo lo fidelity, white and red. Yeah, Yeah, it was a good tool,
But it, I think, speaks volumes towards the tools that we’re putting in place. So think about CSS frameworks like, you know, if you go, go look a tail winds home page right now and on their home page, they have a live coding example of some HTML. And as you’re watching it, classes were getting added to elements and the element on the left.
The visual piece of it, is actively changing as they’re adding classes to stuff and basically doing live prototyping and foundation has pushed this. Bootstrap has pushed this. You know, every CSS framework is designed around this idea of Yeah, I just go set something up real quickly and just throw some utility classes on it, and you’re good to go.
Um, and it’s interesting to see that happening on distill happening because I think as you get pattern libraries built and really learn your own design system, I think that live prototyping approach becomes not just faster but more useful as well. Quite frankly,
And then you get people getting distracted away from focusing on the layout and moron. Well, this isn’t gonna be blue, right? We don’t want blue. We weren’t orange. Well, yeah, I know it’s not gonna be. It’s gonna be orange.
I think a lot of it depends on where you are in your product, lifecycle. Because if you are for so good example here, you know we’ve got a landing page system and we get information from marketing to build Page X. And so what we will do is we will set up a call with marketing and to a screen share and in real time set up their page with them so we can close the feedback loop on it rather than setting something up, emailing them, waiting three hours for a response by that point where at lunch.
So we’re gonna be, you know, gone for another hour, get back, make changes. And by the end of the day, it’s taking you all day to make a simple page, whereas a 30 minute phone car video call with a screen share and you can set something up. And in that environment, when you’ve already got all of your artifacts, I think it’s very quick to do that kind of prototyping, as opposed to. I’m creating something new from scratch.
And you know, we don’t have templates yet. We don’t have a pattern library. We don’t have CSS set up for this. And I think that would influence how useful Figma is over HTML, you know, straight HTML or something like that. Um, or to a lesser extent, one of the tools down this list is Web flow. Oh, remember that which is a site builder.
Um, so people are using different tools to kind of approach this from a Hey, let’s just make HTML standpoint. Web flows. Um, notorious is not the right word, but infamous, famous for the quality of the HTML, the output and how simple their tools already used. So that
was Episode 63. In 20 mid 2020 we had E. J. Mason and Ruben Nick on Broad Web,
talking about the accessibility features that were rolling into their application design systems. Now I want to talk about this because I get the results. I don’t like the results, at least from a semantic standpoint. So the top tools the top three tools for which software do you use for managing design systems? The top three tools are fig, MMA sketch and Adobe XD.
Again, not a huge surprise here. Like, you know, these tools are used in those aspects, but the reason I don’t like it is I don’t think they manage design system. I think they are one of the things you do when managing a design system, but I don’t know that I would say that those tools individually, manager design system and somebody will disagree with me on this. But that’s okay,
Big stigma. So I have, Like I said, I haven’t used Sigma. I have heard a lot about it, and I’ve heard people picking it out because of the design system aspect and on the on their website they specifically call out design systems by name, so I maybe maybe that’s part of the reason people go and use it. I think there’s a lot
of cross pollination between the words design system and pattern library. Sure, I think we e. I think we use those really interchangeably. And we shouldn’t because they are very different things.
Like how you I knew Excuse. Yeah,
very similarly, actually. Thing is, who’s like figment sketching Adobe XD? They’re what they’re gonna do really well is manager patterns manager artifacts, your components, your tokens. Um, I have seen entire style guides put together in Figma, right? But to say that stigma is managing that style guide I would disagree with. It’s being used to edit it, but it’s not managing it.
And if it’s trapped inside of Figma, then it’s definitely not managing because the design system, philosophically, to me, a design system is meant to be accessible. At least everybody in your organization and everybody in your organization does not have access to your sigma, probably unless you’ve got, you know, big account. And there’s so there’s an article over ux design dot cc. Everything you need to know about design systems.
Go check it out first and foremost, but design systems are composed of things that stigma and sketch and x d don’t do You need design principles and values written into it. Well, that’s an abstract concept that you write down. That’s not something. You manage an application.
You do have a style guide. You do have a pattern library, but those air pieces of the design system You may include a voice and tone document inside your design system, because the content you create is part of your design. And above probably all else, you’re gonna have a ton of documentation. And storybook is listed as one of the is the fourth most used tool.
I’ve never used that one, but I find interesting looking at the chart. Um S O the chart has broken down, uh, black bar for uses, primary tool, and then it’s stacked with a gray bar used the secretary tool. And storybook is the only one that is disproportionately used as a secondary tool. Why is that? I’ve never used it.
Storybook is a secondary. I mean, it’s meant to be a secondary tool, because storybook is a pattern library it’s frequently used for demonstrating things like Web components. Um, it’s incredibly powerful. The one thing, and they have a name for it now, and I’m not gonna remember what it is.
Um, you, when you set up like a Web component, you can set up a bunch of options that go along with it, and all of those become toggles and check boxes and input boxes and sliders down below, which becomes really useful for running tests. So if you were to do something like build a Web component, you could write a test that could toggle all of these options and check the output kind of look. So it’s incredibly useful.
It’s Ah Bear like it is a dense piece of software, but it comes bundled like if you’re building Web components with something like open WC, it comes bundled with that. So when you spin up a Web component, it’ll just launch storybook with it, and your Web component will be deployed inside storybook. Oh, that’s cool. Very cool, very dense. It can, however, fill some of the gaps I’ve been talking about because storybook can be deployed as just a thing.
People could go look at you can include documentation in it. You can include style guide stuff in it. You can include any extra. You know you won’t have your logos defined and and, uh, trademark rules and things like that. And it is, Well, you can do all of that. I use fractal. I really enjoy fractal. It also kind of falls in This fractal is by nature a pattern library.
But it also has a really robust markdown system where you could include all your extra documentation. So when you wanna articulate your design principles in your design values as part of your design system, you could include all that in there just by throwing in a few extra markdown files. And it creates pages for you.
Um so it covers both the things that tokens the artifacts, the patterns, but also the how and the what and the why of documentation and marries those together. Other killer thing about fractal that I love. I don’t think you could do this with storybook, but again, somebody may prove me wrong on this because I just I have to go back and look at the build process on it. But with fractal, you can build out to get her pages.
So we’re building a get hub Repo with our pattern library in it with fractal And when you commit to it, it will automatically around the build and deploy to get her pages and that z s So it’ll be a living document that is there for everyone to see it on. Ben it If we hire a third party designer to come in and help us with the project, we could just be like, Oh, and go to this page. And here’s our entire design system.
If, uh, give this a different metaphor, this one’s gonna be good. I swear. Have you have you have watched things called TV shows
on the color television
on the color television or black and white, depending on, I mean, you’re older than me. So maybe years were silent. I don’t know, E keep forgetting
old in here because you have a giant beard and I don’t got
you on that one. Almost spit his drink out. So he did. But in seriousness, though, when you watch a TV show crossed several episodes, do you ever think about the fact that every episode of that show was probably directed by somebody different and written by somebody different.
No, I I see that when I look at the episode West on Wikipedia, like if I’m trying to find a specific episode, but I don’t think about that while I’m watching it,
but you’ve never had toe think about it because you’re shows are consistent from episode. Episode, right? Do you know how that happens?
I’m guessing there’s like a document of some kind that establishes that shows
there is a person who is the document it’s there called the Showrunner. So one of the reasons why the walking dead started the suck after the second season was because Frank Darabont was showrunner for it and got fired. And so the show changed as a consequence of that. And so that’s kind of an example of what happens. That’s what your design system is meant to do.
It’s meant to be your showrunner for your digital properties, so that if people are coming in and out, they can all dance to the same song, so to speak. I’m really all over the place with these metaphors. I’m gonna I’m just going to say I don’t love the idea of FEMA being a who will use to manage the design system, though I do understand why it’s listed there. I think I think the idea is bigger than that. I guess that’s the way I would put it.
E think totally. I’ve been watching The West Wing for the first time all the way through. And, um, I ran on Wikipedia that even though we kind of attribute the show to Aaron Sorkin, I guess he was only writing the show for the first three seasons, right? And after that it was a different writer is one of the other original writers, but it’s a different writer.
Um, and I’ve just crossed the threshold into the fourth season, and so I’m I’m kind of curious to see, like what? What is different about it. Like what feels different, not Sorkin esque. User testing
is, as we were running up on the tail into these little bits of tidbits. What is the most important user testing tool of 2020?
I can see the show notes, but I would also I also was in the last episode. I know I’m a little drunk, but even without the show notes and having been in the last episode, I would say video conferencing of some kind. The show notes indicate Zoom I would agree with, and
the show notes indicate Zoom because the survey indicated Zoom. Yeah, Zoom is the clear winner here, especially as it becomes a household name anecdotally, for those in the United States, it’s like calling a bandage, a Band Aid or calling a tissue a Kleenex. I hear people calling any sort of video conference a zoom call that Z
so confusing I’ve had I’ve had people tell me we’re gonna do a zoom call and then they mean I mean hangouts or like, a Skype call or something. But they just say, Oh, well, have a zoom call later, but they don’t mean using Zoom and it’s Yeah,
we’re not quite past that disassociative step yet with a Xerox, for instance. Uh, actually, don’t you zoom a whole lot? We do most of our stuff through Google hangouts, but of course it worked. We’ve got Google app, so but yeah, interestingly, and you know the kind of go back to the start, right?
Miro is a great brainstorming tool because it’s really generic and doesn’t try to like be one thing, zoom consequentially because it’s just a good video conferencing platform and screen sharing platform. It just sort of lended itself to being good for helping with user testing.
Have you seen all the like power features on zoom like breakout rooms? And, um, you could do crazy stuff with moderation and I don’t know, I’ve been in some zoom calls where it was like, Wait, what? You could do this with
you. I haven’t like that. I don’t use it a whole lot. Most of the time when I’m in a zoom, it’s mostly just me clicking the button and sitting back and listening to whatever is happening. So that z my experience with it. But I do get what he’s saying, though, Yeah, like and what you just said, People say Zoom a lot when they don’t mean zoom because there are a lot of competitors to zoom. There are a lot of other platforms.
You and I are on a video conference right now through discord, and it’s Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s just it’s good, and by all measures, at that point, mhm. But people will shorthand it that way. Interest. It’s interesting Um, but I think that the take away that I get out of that is this idea that it’s kind of the ultimate example of necessity being the mother of invention. People couldn’t use her test face to face in the same room.
And they said What we have available to us. Well, we already have a subscription to Zoom. So how about we figure out how to make that work and they did. And the fact that Zoom wasn’t trying to be prescriptive on features or force people into a box made it just kind of work for that. And I think, anecdotally, you could do that with that. I could do that with discord. Right now. You know, I could do a lot of those same things at that point.
But just the general idea of people figuring out how to do remote user testing has been big right? He also discovered 23% of people don’t do user testing. That’s kind of surprising. E. I don’t think it’s surprising. I do think it’s sad. Yeah, I would say we don’t do enough.
I do wish we did a lot mawr, Um but I would probably say that no matter how much we did so mhm the I think where this gets a little more interesting is people are a lot more critical of these tools to whereas I think with water mark for, you know, the prototyping tools and the brainstorming tools and all of those are already really high, and people are really satisfied.
The user testing look back and maize were the Onley to that scored over four stars. Everything else was lower.
Yeah, the usability hub marvel and you use your testing were all 3.83 point nine and then look back in May’s for four point. Oh, and
up. It is interesting to know that people are using these tools, though I think we’ve mentioned usability Hub in the past. I don’t know what their model is necessarily like now, but it used to be go, you know, throw five bucks at it or something, Um or is that? No. There there was like a site where that was like that was like $5 usability test dot com or some It was something like that.
But the idea is you could go in and set up a test with you know, with goals that the user supposed to go pursue in an interface, and the system will ask them the questions and track where they’re clicking and what they’re doing and ask them why they did it for you and then return the results to you. So I mean, it is very useful. It would be interesting. And maybe in the raw data, some of this is there.
But I would be interested that, like, you know, if anybody gave comments on the platforms, like why they did or didn’t like usability hub or look back or what have you
looking at the photograph? It’s It’s interesting that, um, zoom as a primary tool is just about as much as May’s, the next runner up as a primary plus secondary. Yeah, the zoom is roughly 500 respondents, and maize is in total between primary secondary just over 500 then usability.
Hub is what 4 50 books like and Look Back is about 400 those are all total zooms combined like composite score is like nearly 800 being private anyone, and I think that we’ve talked about this on the show, a bunch of times about how your user testing and usability testing doesn’t need to be anything complicated. It’s.
And I think that this just underscores that, like you can get away basically, just doing screen sharing and having the person use the thing while you watch them do it. Yeah, and that’s enough.
Yeah, There there’s sort of that 80 20 roll, right? Like if you could get 80% of what you need that that last 20% starts to go up in cost. You know, for each percentage point mawr that you want to do it gets, you know, progressively mawr expensive and labor intensive. So if you wanted to get, like, you know, in 95 98% quality tests, so to speak, the cost of doing that for you goes up exponentially to start chasing. I’m really curious.
I’m really curious about what the value proposition is of tools like maize or usability hub. Or look back that I owe, um, compared to just doing no frills, you know, watching what you do usability test numbers because I Yeah, like it.
Yeah. I mean, you could go out and pull 100 people, but you can’t watch 100 people like you know, your eyeballs don’t scale, but software does. So you can, as a consequence, and still relatively cheaply, like you can get a lot of that information for the same cost. Probably is, you know, $150 gift card that you’re given somebody to sit in your office with you for a now, er or on a, you know, obviously assume call for their time.
So now that does mean the the sort of depth of information you can get is also much shallower, though. But I think the other way to look at that is kinda like analytics. You can use Google analytics and get a shit ton of information out of it. But realistically, you may only be tooled up to address really superficial things right now. You know, you may only have the bandwidth to deal with, you know, very small things.
So if you can’t dig into that deeper, more meaty kind of result, um, then why are you paying for it? Right, You know, um, so it’s just it’s a balance, right? It’s just balancing your needs with what you can execute on and quantity over quality. In some cases, you could get to that point where it’s like, Yeah, we don’t need ah 100 people Tell us it’s hard to use our search.
We wanna talkto three people really deeply and really look at why it’s hard to use. Um, And then I think there’s a transition point, basically, like I think it’s really valuable to start. I think those those mass tools and those automated tools can give you the superficial information and the scent.
It will give you the sense of where your problems are, and then you can spend the more meaningful time and money going right at that, sent with a few people over, like shared screen shares or eye tracking or, you know, those kinds of things.
All right, that’s an interesting feature. Add considered just having, like, really large aggregate testing of basic tasks and then kind of checking your funnel like a like a very focused funnel of analytics to see how well they accomplish the task or like how long it takes, I guess, with tools like Inspect, Foot and other spying tools, you can really dig into seeing exactly what they’re doing while they’re doing it.
And the only difference is that you can’t ask them questions while they’re doing it. But I guess you can still get an ample amount of information so you can ask better questions during your guided sessions. Okay. All right. I can see I see the benefit there.
So he wraps up, Taylor wraps up on this with the 2020 designers tool kit, which is just sort of ah CliffsNotes of what? The top tools were in each section. And I just want to call this house school. There is so much Figma.
Yeah, it’s basically it’s bureau for brainstorming, which I 100% agree with. And then it’s Figma for everything except user testing. So user flows you. I design prototyping, handoff design systems and version ing are all
Sigma sigma Sigma sigma. So the question I want to end on for you is is Figma at risk becoming a jack of all trades Master of none. Are they trying so hard to do all of these things? And at the moment, it seems like they are in fact doing them well. But is that sustainable? I’ve never
used it, so I don’t really know
think of it from a business standpoint. What happens? A sketch were to decide. Okay, we aren’t satisfied being Mac, only we’re gonna launch a Windows version. What if Adobe revamps X D and addresses all of the concerns there and still keeps it free? Like I I wonder how protected Figma is in this space as they start doing all of these different things and they handle while there is a lot of overlapping functionality, maintaining all that functionality and maintaining it well is increasingly time consuming.
I want to know more about Figma.
Go get a subscription is a good tool. I’m not gonna lie like as as a developer, going into it and accessing designs through it is nice and it it works very well. It’s really easy to read out the CSS especially, and see exactly what my designer made. Um, I don’t hate it. Uh, but like, we have a style guide in Sigma right now, but I have to take that out of Figma because I need other people to have access to it.
So it’s like to go back to the the the idea of, like, design, managing a design system like it was. The style guide was built in Figma, but I can’t manage it there. I have to manage it in the next journal service, which is gonna end up being fractal. But
the pricing for figure is not bad. Um, it’s three for two editors or three projects. And then if you bump up to but be bigger, it’s $15 per month per editor unless you pay annually this small discount. But if you do an organization, it’s $45 per editor purposely. What’s the benefit of a lot more? Oh, it’s for design systems. I don’t know. There’s different. It’s it seems like the pricing seems fair, especially given how much it how well it performed on this survey.
So to finish up here that he actually does have one more section and I wanted to break this out a little separately, is kind of our own. Wrap up on the episode he talks about, you know, the most exciting tools for 2021 the things that people are interested in getting into now. Obviously, Figma is number one on that list. As it turns out, the thing, though, that I want to call out is throughout these results, Web flow popped up just here and there.
It’s one of the tools listed as, uh, the ones people are most interested to learn. Um, you know, it came up in prototyping, and you I and you don’t see other site builder’s square spaces and in their wicks isn’t in there. I think that’s interesting. I think it’s a testament to the tools Web flow is building, and to the this idea of conFigma continue to reign supreme.
I don’t know, because if Web flow keeps doing what they’re doing, I think they have the potential to start building tool sets that may actually start to encroach on some of that territory. But it depends on what they want to do with their business model, because they are, I think, first and foremost, you know, they are a site hosting platform that just happens to have great tools.
If those tools start to translate outside, I think things get interesting. What do you excited about, though this year, like from a from a U X tool design tool, not developer tools? What are you interested and getting into this year? me personally. Um, well, not you. Privately.
Uh, I like Meryl a lot. I have enjoyed using it at work.
Become a marrow power
user. I don’t know that I use it that much, but I like the freedom that it gives me to, like, way stuff out. Previous to this, I used Dia like the diagramming tool for doing flow charts and stuff or, like UML diagrams. And Miro definitely has all that stuff, but like, it feels a lot more freeing. I like getting stuff from envision and XD. It’s helpful. I would
like to learn next, Any better this year. I think that would be one of my big ones.
I don’t know that I use I should try it out. Maybe it would be useful for me, but I haven’t used it. And I don’t have I
mean, you are fairly like I I tend to do a lot of front and back in stuff you do mostly back in. So I mean, I get it that you’re not really in that steeped into it.
Yeah. Um, if I was in charge of conducting, like usability testing at scale, I would want to look at some of those other products to see what they had to offer and if that would help me get more information. Um, but I could definitely see you just using Zoom again. I just I really like.
I like being right at the front and seeing what’s happening, And I think it’s part of the reason I don’t use a lot of the modern ideas that do so much automation for you, even if it’s time saving. Like I like having my mental model be current with whatever it is in America.
I’m I said. I’m interested next day. I am interested in getting a lot more into fractal this year. I’ve done some a couple of pretty cool things with it and started realizing how much power it has beyond what I thought it could do. And so I’m pretty interested in taking the design system we’ve been building at work and codifying it into.
Now. You know, the artifacts, the tokens, whatever language you use for that. The other one that I want to throw out there didn’t make it into the into the survey results. But I think it deserves a place in there is G A four which is Google analytics. For It’s the new version of Google Analytics.
There was a good analytic Google Intellects two and three.
Um, arguably, I don’t know where the cutoffs were during all. I mean, it has changed over the years and and had a couple of big update. G A. Four is Ah, hard cut, though. Like it’s. And if you go make an analytics account right now or profile, it’ll drive you into G A four. Um, and we’re gonna talk about it on a future episode and the changes and whatnot that it’s brought to it.
But it changes some very specific and occasionally irritating things about analytics. And in my mind, analytics are one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to informing you’re you X and your design, because that’s how you make educated choices.
That’s how you again to use that word sent analytics could be the first thing that gives you sense that there may be a problem in a goal funnel on a page on a feature that you’re trying toe have people use and now, like one of the big ones and G A four. Everything’s in the vent now every interaction on a page is an event there is. It used to be anything could be an event, but you had to make it that way. You had to tell analytics and event was happening.
Now everything is an event, and it just happens. And so you can now track that just natively in. Um, there’s, ah lot of neat stuff in there for that. So I’m kind of excited. Thio, dig into that a lot deeper and see what that could do for us on a design and usability front because you’re sort of outside of asking people, that’s, you know, the first signal that you get that something may or may not be wrong. Do you tell us, what do you think?
A. What do you most excited to use this coming year? What’s in your tool kit? Do you agree that stigma is the big boy on the block and will continue to be the big boy on the block? Um, do you agree with the results or or would you fall somewhere else along any of those spectrums? Let us know in the meantime, kick back for just a second. We’ll take a quick break and be right back.
Thanks for listening, everyone. What was that? What was that word you just used? What would you say? But was there an H and listening? Listening, uh, listening, listening. Thanks for listening, everyone. Your shiny people.
Let me just say that this finished labor drink is very potent. I have had one this entire. Would you say
that you that you finished it finished?
May. I’m gonna go take a nap after this, I think, or maybe just
e which it’s called going to bed at this hour. But okay, if you
wanna come talk to us about your favorite beverages for forgetting things, you can connect with us on base box or twitter dot com Flash, drunken, relax or instagram slash drunken UX podcast or or chucking you x dot com slash discord. I really embarrassed how hard that was. This is
entertaining to watch, though I assure you, if you are using any of these tools, you know, the advice that I think always pertinent is don’t put all your eggs in anyone. Basket stigma is here today could be gone tomorrow. As you saw in one of the results. You know, we went from InVision envision two years ago to sketch last year to figure this year as the top used tool. Some of these things, while it may look like they are here to stay, could be very fleeting.
Um, as we saw this year. You know, with Salesforce coming in and buying slack, you know, tools will move around. Um, you know, Adobe may decide. Hey, we really like Figma, and we want to be in this game, so we’re just gonna buy, figure and make it XD Keep that stuff in mind, because when you’re planning out your work for the year when you’re trying to figure out what’s worth learning what’s worth keeping an eye on, always good to sort of dabble around when you’re investigating these things and be flexible if you need toe jump ship or try something else Because one thing I mean, none of these tools are gonna help you keep your personas close and you’re closer. It’s all
we didn’t see that coming.
This episode of The Drunken UX Podcast brought to you by nuCloud.
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