Web-Assed Web Apps

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read
Web-Assed Web Apps

UX Tools performs an annual survey of designers to see what software they're using, and it's always fascinating to see the results. This year's results are out now and you should check them out.

The image at the top of this post shows what apps this audience is most excited for in 2022 and oh boy is it a wasteland if you're a fan of native apps. Sketch is really all you've got, and it's pretty low on the list. Sketch is still number 2 on the list for UI design work…

Figma leads by a ton, Sketch in 2nd, Adobe XD in 3rd
Image via UX Tools

But, the usage trends tell a much more dire story. Basically, Figma and Sketch have completely flipped positions over the past 3 years.

Graph showing results since 2017. Figma is going way up and Sketch is dropping fast.
Image via UX Tools

You should read the whole thing, but there are a ton of things you could take away from this survey, but my takeaway is that web apps are absolutely dominating this space and users seem to be very happy with the tools available to them.

I know that some folks have an undying passion for native apps, and I like them too, but I really think we make ourselves look out of touch with the rest of the world when we go, "ew, it's a web app, that's terrible."

It's also worth noting that a lot of the design-centric apps work best on the web because the web allows them to do things that native apps simply don't do. Web apps allow people like me to design something on my machine and share it with co-workers and clients without needing to send them instructions on what app to install, how to license that app, and how it works on macOS, Windows, or oh god, Linux. I just send them a URL and they open it in their browser. The flexibility, accessiblity, and ever-increasing power of the web as a platform is frankly incredible.

10 years ago people would say, "sure, simple things can happen on the web, but you'll never have something like Photoshop running in a browser." Well, a whole bunch of designers who worked in Photoshop 10 years ago have moved to Figma and other web apps, and Photoshop itself runs in Chrome today, with more features and browser support coming down the road. I'd keep this in mind when you have the instint to say, "yeah but big things like video editors and 3D modeling can't happen in a browser," today.