Presenting the MDN Web Developer Needs Assessment (Web DNA) Report

Meet the first edition

We are  very happy to announce the launch of the first edition of a global, annual study of designer and developer needs on the web: The MDN Web Developer Needs Assessment. With your participation, this report is intended to shape the future of the web platform.

The MDN Web DNA Report 2019.

On single-vendor platforms, a single entity is responsible for researching developer needs. A single organization gets to decide how to address needs and prioritize for the future. On the web, it’s not that straightforward. Multiple organizations must participate in feature decisions, from browser vendors to standards bodies and the industry overall. As a result, change can be slow to come. Therefore, pain points may take a long time to address.

In discussions with people involved in the standardization and implementation of web platform features, they told us: “We need to hear more from developers.”

And that is how the MDN Web Developer Needs Assessment came to be. We aspire to represent the voices of developers and designers working on the web. We’ve analyzed the data you provided, and identified 28 discrete needs. Then, we sorted them into 14 different themes. Four of the top 5 needs relate to browser compatibility, our #1 theme. Documentation, Debugging, Frameworks, Security and Privacy round out the top 10.

DNA survey fundamentals

Like the web community itself, this assessment is not owned by a single organization. The survey was not tailored to fit the priorities of participating browser vendors, nor to mirror other existing assessments. Our findings are published under the umbrella of the MDN Product Advisory Board (PAB). The survey used for data collection was designed with input from more than 30 stakeholders. They represented PAB member organizations, including browser vendors, the W3C, and industry colleagues.

This report would not exist without the input of more than 28,000 developers and designers from 173 countries. Thanks to the thousands of you who took the twenty minutes to complete the survey. Individual participants from around the world contributed more than 10,000 hours of insight. Your thoughtful responses are helping us understand the pain points, wants, and needs of people working to build the web.

Where do we go from here

The input provided by survey participants is already influencing how browser vendors prioritize feature development to address your needs, both on and off the web. By producing this report annually, we will have the means to track changing needs and pain points over time. In fact, we believe developers, designers, and all stakeholders should be able to see the impact of their efforts on the future of the web we share.

You can download the report in its entirety here:

MDN Web DNA Report

Want to learn more about MDN Web Docs? Join the MDN Web Docs community, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, or follow MozDevNet on Twitter, to stay in the know.

Got a specific question about the MDN DNA Survey? Please share your constructive feedback and questions here or tweet us under the #mdnWebDNA hashtag.

About Kadir Topal

Kadir Topal is the Product Lead for MDN Web Docs where he works with his team to provide developers with the information they need to build delightful experiences on the open web. He also works with a group of browser vendors and the W3C on the annual Web Developer Needs Assessment. He’s been a long term contributor to Mozilla, having started the German Firefox community in 2002. Kadir lives in the Ruhr area in Germany.

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About Allison McKeever

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  1. Timothy

    Greetings from Wuppertal:

    Outstanding overview of Web DNA Report 2019.

    Now is time to be very specific and focused on the details of involving developers in moving this report into action. We need a team(s)/committee to begin the work.


    December 19th, 2019 at 11:52

  2. Shawn

    I hope the next edition will be published as a responsive webpage as the PDF report is hard to read on mobile.

    December 22nd, 2019 at 12:58

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