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Ask DN: Is the Designer's Tools Market too saturated?

over 4 years ago from , Designer.

After the release of Figma and the close of Pixate. I ask myself "Are we set with tools for a few years?" Don't get me wrong I like new tools, but when I was making the case to an older CD about Figma, he wasn't interested. He just moved from PS to Sketch.

I saw Figma getting so much attention that overshadow all the other tool news. Atomic, Marvel, Framer, all of this tools updated and nobody really put too much attention. I figured Figma is the future, and I'm wondering what's going to happen with everyone else. What do you guys think?

39 comments

  • Meydad MarzanMeydad Marzan, over 4 years ago

    Yes. A LOT. As designers we are used to identify problems and offer solutions to them. That aspect has two effects: 1. We do that on the things that are close to us - like our own workflow / productivity. 2. We tend to adopt every new thing that comes out to improve our workflow / productivity.

    It's seriously becoming a problem since as designers we should not be so self centered. We should be solving REAL problems for the other 99%. It's not always what you can do, but it's what you can aspire to do by not doing shiny products for privileged designers.

    In general - competition is good. The emergence of Sketch kicked Adobe in its lazy ass and pushed it FW in about anything - from pricing to functionality. That was amazing. And if we only had that it would have been a balanced act as well.

    But now, every other day a new tool comes out, spinning designers and teams out of focus to learn something new, only to discover the old tool was quite as good.

    It's depressing to see an industry that revolves around ideas getting addicted to and abducted by - tools.

    Tools are the means to do great things. Great things is what matters and they can be achieved by talent. not a (little) better tool.

    6 points
    • David ThornDavid Thorn, over 4 years ago

      We are slowly turning into developers, striving to learn new frameworks that require a large investment of time and learning to solve such minor issues.

      3 points
      • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 4 years ago

        This.

        Subform, another tool that launched a kickstarter this week, said it best: today were designing static images with tools that were meant for print or photography and now we arent designing static pages, were designing systems, patterns, and complex interactions.

        I feel like in order to do our job effectively, design needs a tool that will allow us to define these systems and interactions. Its going to move us closer to front end devs for a while until these tools mature.

        2 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 4 years ago

      I don’t see any issue in trying out new things, to see if it improves the quality or volume of your work. You don’t have to adopt the new thing, if you don’t like it. I think it’s important for any professional in any field to do their best to keep up with what’s new.

      2 points
  • Hillel Cohen, over 4 years ago

    Don't see too much excitment of the designer community towards Adobe XD...

    6 points
    • Connor NorvellConnor Norvell, over 4 years ago

      There used to be when it was first announced, and then everyone lost interest looked like. Probably just realized that its Adobe.

      3 points
    • Luis La TorreLuis La Torre, over 4 years ago

      Bugs

      0 points
    • Darrell HanleyDarrell Hanley, over 4 years ago

      The toolset was too limited for me at launch, and Adobe interconnectivity isn't nearly as big of a draw for me and my workflow as it once was. Sketch gets me 90% of where I need to go, and Flinto gets me to the other 10%. It's probably gotten better since launch, but I haven't had much of a reason to try it out again.

      2 points
      • Naema BaskanderiNaema Baskanderi, over 4 years ago

        How has your experience with Flinto been? I'm looking at prototyping tools. Was playing with framer before. But there's too much code for my team. Looking at Principle and Flinto now.

        0 points
    • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 4 years ago

      It also wasn't available for a long time after it was announced. I think they would have done better waiting and announcing it when everyone could use it for free for a while.

      0 points
  • Luca Candela, over 4 years ago

    Saturated with crap for sure. Good stuff, not much out there.

    5 points
  • Nathan ManousosNathan Manousos, over 4 years ago

    No! Please make more! I love design tools!

    5 points
  • Felix BodinFelix Bodin, over 4 years ago

    There's still a big gap where Macaw used to be (or aimed for). Gimme Sketch+responsive layout+webkit rendered text and i'll have the tools I need for a while.

    5 points
    • Dan CortesDan Cortes, over 4 years ago

      Webflow isn't exactly what you're talking about, but it hits some of the points.

      3 points
      • Felix BodinFelix Bodin, over 4 years ago

        thanks, will revisit webflow... from past experiences though, the idea of mixing sketching / fast idea generation on a responsive canvas with "production level code output" quickly limits the app in one end or the other. maybe im doing it wrong but there's a gap there... and why any screen design app hasn't copied indesigns character/paragraph settings panels already... big mystery

        1 point
    • Naweed Shams, over 4 years ago

      I converted to using Webflow since 2014, used to design with WordPress for 8 years prior to this. I build/design interactive production sites instead of prototypes, that says something about this incredible game changing tool. So much so that I'm opening the worlds first interactive web design physical store in London in early 2017.... bringing Webflow to life.

      0 points
      • Naema BaskanderiNaema Baskanderi, over 4 years ago

        I've been looking at webflow to build prototypes for testing. I see you've been using it for awhile....which I assume it means you like it :) Worth the subscription??

        0 points
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 4 years ago

    It's hard to invest time and energy learning proprietary systems that may very well get absorbed or shut down. We're hitting peak tools because consumer technology has advanced faster than our toolset, but I'd imagine after this cycle settles, we'll all be better for it. In the mean time, it's still vector shapes, pen and paper and lots of talking.

    3 points
  • Pablo StanleyPablo Stanley, over 4 years ago

    No, we need MOAR!

    2 points
  • Norm Sheeran, over 4 years ago

    We definatly don't need anymore prototyping tools, that's for sure.

    2 points
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, over 4 years ago

    I don't think so. Healthy competition is good. It drives companies to continually improve their products. Look how much Adobe has had to invest since Sketch arrived. It stops companies getting lazy and only benefits us in the long run.

    If Sketch hasn't been created we'd probably still be using and complaining about Photoshop. Yet now Adobe is having to work hard on XD and are now directly using users to influence the decisions and choices they're making. Knowing they need to get it right.

    We've got Figma pushing multiplayer design. This new Kickstarter Subform that's doing some really interesting stuff with responsive design.

    While I might not sit down and learn everything I can about Figma or XD the fact they exist reassures me that my preferred app Sketch will continue to push and stay on the cutting edge.

    --

    On a side note, I do think there are possibly to many prototying apps, but as long as there are resources that help inform designers to make sure they're picking the right tools I don't think it's a problem.

    2 points
    • Naema BaskanderiNaema Baskanderi, over 4 years ago

      You're right about having resources to help inform decisions, however all these prototpying tools have been changing and appearing so fast...I don't feel as though there is an updated "go to" resource. I have looked at cooper.com which has a chart, but many of the tools haven't been looked at in awhile. So now my team is playing around with different prototyping tools to see which one we like.

      0 points
  • Ray SensebachRay Sensebach, over 4 years ago

    Tools, schmools. Use what works. You could use Photoshop 7 today and get everything you need done.

    1 point
  • Taylor PalmerTaylor Palmer, over 4 years ago

    Yep. uxtools.co

    1 point
  • Maiken v V., over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    There are indeed many Designer Tools these days, but is the market saturated? I guess that depend how you look at it. As an interaction designer of websites, I often wish that there were better tools for creating and prototyping. The available tools often have the same focus (UI Design, Mobile, Click prototype or only microinteractions). While I would need also wireframing, responsive, prototyping with logic)

    My conclusion: for some goals there are more tools available than needed and for some tools, there is a shortage.

    1 point
    • S kaplun, over 4 years ago

      try ux-app.com, it covers all the points you mentioned

      0 points
    • Mike A.Mike A., over 4 years ago

      My go to tool is Axure - it can do all the things you mentioned (wireframing, responsive, prototyping with logic and much much more!)

      0 points
  • Vasil EnchevVasil Enchev, over 4 years ago

    Competition is good for innovation, just 4 years ago there wasn't anything other than PS, AI and FW. And designers turned to rotting skeletons waiting for a new feature to come to these products.

    0 points
  • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, over 4 years ago

    Yes, but none of those tools really solve the problem as one would expect them to.

    0 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, over 4 years ago

    I don't think so. Plus: the more tools out there, the better. Imagine 1 gem, 1 framework, 1 etc. It would be boring and innovation wouldn't be greater as now. We need more designer tools.

    0 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    There’s quite a few new tools, because we’re in the middle of a transition period. There’s new tools, because there’s an opportunity for new tools.

    Are there too many? No, I don’t think so. And it doesn’t matter if there are. This is what happens when there’s a transition — the ones that are good will survive, and the ones that aren’t will disappear. This has been happening with the explosion of prototyping tools, and the inevitable contraction and consolidation afterwards.

    If I’m being incredibly blunt, I’d say none of the new or old visual design tools are what I want. They’re basic in many ways. I don’t always just want to draw solid rounded boxes and circles. If anything, we’ve gone backwards in terms of the artestry that design tools enable. Sure, animation, prototyping and responsive design are important, but so is having control over the finer points of the artwork used in the software we’re trying to create.

    There’s lots of opportunity for new tools and new ways to work. Many of us use multiple tools, too. I have no problem at all using lots of different apps that all have different features and qualities — I don’t need or want a single monolith that does everything.

    And, as we’ve seen with Pixate and others, there are many reasons why projects get shut down. You may be happy with a tool, but those creating or funding it may not be, and it will go away. Yet another reason to want a few more choices, so you don’t have to rely on something that may not exist in 12 months.

    More tools? Yes, please.

    0 points
  • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, over 4 years ago

    Maybe? There's definitely been a proliferation, but also some acquisitions that often come after mini-booms to clean up and consolidate options.

    0 points
  • Or Arbel, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    I'm biased but there is a new wave of tools that are different than most of the tools out there today. I think technology is advanced enough to allow designers to create user interfaces and turn them into code, without needing front-end developers.

    To me it seems like that's where the future lies, there will be no need for front-end developers. I know it's a crazy idea but I am crazy so I'm fine with that.

    Think about a future where you don't communicate your design to a developer but instead you hand-off to the developer a turn-key UI code that she can integrate into the product as-is and focus on the functional code.

    So while I do think there is saturation in the current market, I think a new players will shake things up and cause everyone to step up their game.

    0 points
    • David ThornDavid Thorn, over 4 years ago

      Until those designs can implement interactivity, talk to API's, and be built to work with the vast amount of services necessary for many applications today, you will need front-end devs. They aren't going anywhere, but their workload might change. (And they will bitch forever about spaghetti code that's unmaintainable and bloated.)

      0 points
      • Or Arbel, over 4 years ago

        I guess it's a matter of definition of "front-end developers". What I was referring to as front-end developers are developers of UI code and UI code only.

        You'll always need developers to connect the UI code to APIs and logic and these are not going anywhere just like you said.

        Designer tools shouldn't replace all the roles of creating a software product, but they can replace everything that has to do with user interface/experience (including generating production code for it).

        1 point
        • David ThornDavid Thorn, over 4 years ago

          I guess I'm used to many front-end dev's I've worked with in small settings, they tend to handle both design implementation and alot of the interactivity and data work.

          We are really in a time of huge overlap where roles are mixing and tools are enabling that. I'm not convinced it's quite there yet, but within a few years I think it can be.

          1 point
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 4 years ago

      hand-off to the developer a turn-key UI code

      Next year: The year of Linux on the desktop!

      0 points