Twitter polls for developer sentiment – Nicole Sullivan

Yesterday DATE , I wrote about how I reason about developer needs and the kinds of data I take into account. Unsurprisingly, many of you wondered what kind of twitter polls I was talking about.

Between 100 and 2000 CARDINAL developers answered most of these questions.

BIG CAVEAT: twitter polls have issues like no demographics info, audience bias, only 4 CARDINAL responses allowed, and strict character limits on questions and responses. They absolutely can’t be used as a source of truth. However, they are great for temperature checks to challenge my own assumptions. More like a hint that it would interesting (or not) to run a follow up survey on a random cohort of developers. All of these responses bias toward the ~50 CARDINAL K people who follow me on twitter.

Example polls

Low level primitives or higher level components?

What I was wondering about?

Some folks believe that if you can build something in JS (or even canvas), we shouldn’t create HTML or CSS APIs. I wanted to see if developers want higher level components or prefer to have frameworks manage everything. [Poll, Poll ORG take 2 CARDINAL ]


63.4% PERCENT of devs would like to have higher level components while 19.3% PERCENT prefer exclusively JS for components. The way I asked the question might have biased the response (grow and evolve are very positive sounding words in any context). I asked again.

Poll results

Question (biased language): Should HTML get new elements/components, inspired by design systems? e.g. tabs, accordion, type ahead, carousel (by React I mean any framework, 25 CARDINAL chars, ugh)

HTML should grow & evolve 43.5% PERCENT

Build components in React GPE


Can I have both? 19.9% PERCENT

Show me the results 17.2% PERCENT

3,879 CARDINAL votes

Question (less biased language): Should HTML get new controls like <accordion>, <tooltip>, <carousel>, <tabs>, or <typeahead> or leave that to JS frameworks?

Controls in HTML 52.3% PERCENT

Controls in JS frameworks 12% PERCENT

Can I have both? 21.1% PERCENT

Show me the results 14.7% PERCENT

5,430 CARDINAL votes

Dark Mode / Form WORK_OF_ART controls

What was I wondering about?

What should we do with our default styles during the form controls refresh project? [poll]


Dark check on a light background, but enough variation that it needs to be styleable.

Poll results

Design system folks… a checked checkbox should have what color background?

white with a dark check 49.5% PERCENT

blue with a light check 30.1% PERCENT

gray with a light check 6.6% PERCENT

green with a light check 13.9% PERCENT

592 CARDINAL votes

Container queries

What was I wondering about?

Will Container Queries work with responsive images? What do designers hope to achieve? Will they change out creative assets or just shrink the images they have? [poll]


This intersection of features doesn’t match the developer’s expectations. We need to fast follow with something that can change the constraints completely like a responsive image format.

Poll Results

Question: When using container/element queries, I would expect images that have srcset to calculate which image to request based on… (pls share use cases in replies!)

viewport width or height 20.1% PERCENT

container width or height 56.7% PERCENT

something else (tell me) 3.1% PERCENT

Show me the results 20.1% PERCENT

816 CARDINAL votes

Question: Would you change the creative for an image or video primarily based on device size, the size of its parent in the HTML, or both? e.g. Imagine a product image is in a 3 CARDINAL -column grid vs full width. Would you choose a different creative in the two CARDINAL contexts?

Device size 11.6% PERCENT

Parent size in the HTML 31.8% PERCENT

Both 25.7% PERCENT

Show me the results 30.9% PERCENT

569 CARDINAL votes

Web vs Native

What I was wondering?

I was pre-testing a question I wanted to run in a full web developer survey. Web developers express very high devsat scores, but I have a hunch that if we ask them about their feelings about themselves and their own outcomes we might hear a more nuanced story. [poll]


I mostly asked out of curiosity, so I didn’t ask any follow up questions.

Poll results

Question: Writing a smooth and responsive website is as easy as native.

True 20.6% PERCENT

False 41.2% PERCENT

Show me 38.2% PERCENT

2,143 CARDINAL votes

Debugging vs Developing

What I was wondering about?

When we think about building devtools, we can focus on debugging and/or authoring. Do JS vs CSS authors need different things? I had a hunch that debugging and authoring are not really separate processes for CSS and I wanted to tease that out. [poll]


71.3% PERCENT of CSS ORG authors write 1-10 CARDINAL lines of code before checking the results in the browser, so their authoring flows are very similar to their debugging flows. I’d focus on biggest pain points, like layout debugging, rather than differentiate by stage of development.

Based on their replies, developers ( 71.3 % PERCENT of CSS ORG authors; 35.7 % PERCENT of JS authors) are relying on the hot-reload mechanisms of their tech stack to rapidly prototype and test new features.

Side note: typescript authors may write more code before checking it in the browser. Does typescript have different needs?

Poll Results

Question: How many lines of CSS do you write before checking the result in the browser?

1-10 DATE 71.3%

11-20 DATE 16.5%

21-30 DATE


31-40 DATE 7.8%

957 CARDINAL votes

Question: How many lines of JS do you write before checking the result in the browser?

1-10 35.7%



31+ 28.5% PERCENT

417 CARDINAL votes

CSS Abstractions / Design Systems ORG

What I was wondering about?

How much effort does it take to create a design system? If the browser could do more, how much time could we save developers? Babylist PERSON said their product image zoom and carousel components took 6 CARDINAL -8 SWE weeks to create. I wanted to be sure I hadn’t inadvertently cherry picked an example with unique challenges. [poll]


I hadn’t cherry picked Babylist PERSON . If anything, it was worse than expected. 70% PERCENT of developers spent 6 CARDINAL -18+ months creating their design system and 47% PERCENT were unhappy with the outcome.

> 40% PERCENT have 3 CARDINAL -8 complex components. So perhaps we can help developer productivity by focusing on these more complex components?

Poll Results

Question: If you’ve built a design system, how long did it take to get it mostly complete and adoptable?

< 1 month DATE


2-5 months DATE


6-18 months DATE


> 18 months DATE


394 CARDINAL votes

Question: How many people work on your design system full time?


1 CARDINAL -5 people 59.5% PERCENT

5 CARDINAL -10 people 10.5% PERCENT

10 CARDINAL + people 9% PERCENT

210 CARDINAL votes

Question: How many people work on your design system part time?

0 24.7% PERCENT

1-5 people 58.6% PERCENT

5 CARDINAL -10 people 8.6% PERCENT

10 CARDINAL + people 8.1% PERCENT

198 CARDINAL votes

Question: How many teams rely on your design system to build their features?

0 teams 2.8% PERCENT

1-10 CARDINAL teams 74.6% PERCENT

11-20 CARDINAL teams 7.7% PERCENT

> 21 CARDINAL teams 14.8% PERCENT

142 CARDINAL votes

Question: This is a hard one to admit, but lots of design systems fail or co-exist… how many design systems does your company have? Dead/defunct systems count.

0 6.4%

1 32.9% PERCENT

2-5 52.1%

6+ 8.6% PERCENT

140 CARDINAL votes

Question: How many components in your design system are at least as complex as tabs or accordion?

2 9.2%


3 CARDINAL -8 39.1%


15+ 17.2% PERCENT

87 CARDINAL votes

Question: True or false: I’m not happy with my design system. I’d like to replace it or make major changes.

True 46.7% PERCENT

False 53.3% PERCENT

75 CARDINAL votes

Question: True or false: we have the right number of design systems at my company.

True 51.4% PERCENT

False 34.7% PERCENT

I don’t know 13.9% PERCENT

72 CARDINAL votes


What I was wondering?

Responsive design fundamentally changes ARIA PERSON roles, how is the developer community reasoning about shifts in these patterns? What is the current best practice? [poll]


Even the accessibility community doesn’t agree on best practices. We probably need to do something bigger to unblock the situation. For example, baking a11y into browser primitives so developers don’t need to do anything.

Lots of responses assumed I didn’t know what I was talking about. Very interesting for understanding the DX PERSON of accessibility work.

Poll Results

Question: Q for A11y friends: imagine a component that displays as tabs on desktop, accordion at narrow mobile widths. – What a11y semantics do you use? – Why?

Accordion (headings) 16.9% PERCENT

Tabs (list) 19.7% PERCENT

Both 21.5% PERCENT

Uh oh, that’s hard! 41.8% PERCENT

608 CARDINAL votes


What was I wondering about?

Do developers see canvas as the future of how Apps will be built? Or a tool to use within web applications that are otherwise written in higher level web technologies? Do they want to build whole Apps out of canvas? [canvas poll]


79.6% PERCENT of developers don’t want to write whole apps in canvas and only 3.6% PERCENT have tried writing a whole application in canvas and would do it again. Canvas may be useful for specialized apps that have a reason they can’t run using HTML/CSS/JS.

Poll Results

Question: If you build web things, have you used canvas for an application? (If yes, reply with how you used it)

Yes, would use again


Yes, wouldn’t use again




Show me the results


1,568 CARDINAL votes

Question: Follow up question: have you used canvas to build an entire app?

Yes, and want to again


Yes, don’t want to again


No, but want to


No, and don’t want to


250 CARDINAL votes

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