About web, community, and code samples — Q3 2021 survey results

JaYoung Lee
Nov 11 · 6 min read

The Flutter UX team’s quarterly survey report is back! This was our 14th quarterly survey, and it ran for a week in August, announcing it through various channels like IDE pop-ups, Twitter announcements, and on flutter.dev. We received responses from over 8,000 of you, learning a lot about your needs, as always.

If you want to know how the team analyzes the data, check out this video.

This quarter, we found that 92% of respondents are positively satisfied with Flutter (39% somewhat satisfied + 53% very satisfied). This value has been consistent over the last 4 quarters, while the number of Flutter developers continues to grow. We still want to hear your thoughts on various parts of Flutter, so we asked about the following three themes in this quarter’s survey:

  • Developer community
  • Web support
  • Code samples in the source code files.

Read on to know more about what we learned from the survey and what we’re planning to do.

Developer Community

Forty-nine percent of all developers said they participate in some form of online or offline community. We found that most developers feel welcome in the community (86%) and feel safe asking questions (86%).

Most developers feel welcome in the community (86%) and feel safe asking questions (86%).

We are thankful to you, our developer community, for creating a safe and supportive space. Flutter is meant to be fun, and having the psychological safety to try new things, make mistakes, and surprise yourself with what you can build is a big part of having fun. We identified some areas where the Flutter team can work to have an impact, such as getting more questions answered, and providing better exposure for leaders in the community. We will work closely with the community to improve both.

Web support

First, we found that 38% of developers worked on a Flutter web app in the month prior to the survey. Additionally, 52% of total developers have worked on a Flutter web app within the last 6 months (since the release of the stable version). The questions in this section were asked to the developers in this group only.

A total of 63% of the developers were positively satisfied with Flutter’s ability to develop production-quality web apps (23% very satisfied). When we specifically asked about the performance of Flutter apps on the web, 67% of the developers were positively satisfied (23% very satisfied). While this is lower than the overall satisfaction, we were pleased to see that the satisfaction with web performance increased from 59% in Q3 2020.

To understand where our opportunities are, we asked which performance issues developers have run into. Unsurprisingly, initial page load speed was the most commonly experienced performance issue (48%), followed by scrolling (32%). For page load, we are looking into decreasing Canvas Kit download size and providing an API for splash screens. For scrolling, we are working on numerous behavior issues as well as jank due to image decoding. You can find more details in the public roadmap.

Initial page load speed was the most commonly experienced performance issue (48%), followed by scrolling (32%).

We also asked about the features that need improvement. SEO was selected by the most number of developers (36%), followed by download (bundle) size (27%). While we understand the importance of indexability on the web, our initial release of web support focused on the niche of web apps that put more emphasis on content creation and thus don’t require indexability. A good example of this use case is what Rive did with rive.app. They have a landing page written in HTML that is SEO friendly, and when a user launches the main app written in Flutter web, SEO is no longer necessary. Our current plan is to improve the quality of Flutter on the web first, so that it excels in web apps before tackling other use cases like apps or pages that put more emphasis on content consumption.

SEO was selected as the feature that needs improvement by the most number of developers (36%), followed by download (bundle) size (27%).

Code samples in source code files

To our surprise, many of you frequently use the source code files. In fact, 70% of developers read the source code files on a weekly basis, if not daily.

Seventy-percent of developers read the source code files on a weekly basis, if not daily.

We wanted to know how many of you actually read and consume the sample code in the /// comments. It turned out that 50% of respondents read the sample code, and about 21% copy the sample code, even if that is not very easy currently.

Fifty-percent of respondents read the sample code, and about 21% copy the sample code.

Then we asked about issues with interacting with sample code within the /// comments. We found that the biggest issue was the lack of syntax highlighting (27%). Also, long blocks of sample code made it difficult to read the rest of the documentation (25%).

The biggest issue was the lack of syntax highlighting (27%).

This result supports the benefit of hosting the sample code separately, which would shorten the length of the actual API documentation, and enabling support for syntax highlighting and converting symbols to clickable links. However, since many of you read and copy sample code within the documentation today, we might consider displaying the code inline with syntax highlighting; therefore visually separating the sample code from the rest of the documentation.

If you’re interested in following this topic, follow these issues related to the navigation support: Dart, IntelliJ plugin, VSCode plugin.

See you in the next survey!

An increasing number of developers adopting Flutter as a part of their main job.

Please keep sending your feedback our way. But the quarterly survey isn’t the only channel you can use. If you have urgent issues that need follow-up, please file them on GitHub.

The Flutter UXR team will continue to run surveys every quarter. We announce the survey on flutter.dev, in the Flutter IDE plugin, and on Twitter @FlutterDev. Please continue contributing your thoughts as the team seeks answers to important questions. You can also participate in other research by signing up for upcoming UX studies.

Again, thank you to everyone who participated in this survey and provided valuable feedback. Our goal is to build a product that you love, and we appreciate your time and effort in helping us.

Flutter

Flutter is Google's mobile UI framework for crafting…

Flutter

Flutter is Google's mobile UI framework for crafting high-quality native interfaces on iOS, Android, web, and desktop. Flutter works with existing code, is used by developers and organizations around the world, and is free and open source. Learn more at https://flutter.dev

JaYoung Lee

Written by

UX Researcher at Google

Flutter

Flutter is Google's mobile UI framework for crafting high-quality native interfaces on iOS, Android, web, and desktop. Flutter works with existing code, is used by developers and organizations around the world, and is free and open source. Learn more at https://flutter.dev