Survey Says: Most Execs Doodle Visuals by Hand

Purchased Image iStock_000008721394MediumA recent survey of business owners, executives, and managers revealed some startling facts.

Perhaps the most surprising is this: Nearly two-thirds of upper-management business people who took the survey say they use a pencil and paper to convey visuals in their business. We aren’t talking about doodles on a note pad for their own amusement during a meeting. This is to visually communicate ideas to others.


Creating Visuals is Extremely Important in Executive and Management Roles

Interestingly, the vast majority of respondents said that it’s either “somewhat” or “extremely” important that they create visuals as part of their job function.

This raises an interesting question. Given the importance of the activity, do most high-level execs use a pencil and paper to create visuals because they are freakishly gifted artistically? Because why else would they use such a rudimentary way to present information of such importance, right?

Unfortunately, the survey didn’t ask this question. Let’s go out on a limb and venture a guess. Based on my own anecdotal evidence watching the suits (me included) at a whiteboard trying to draw a decent stick figure, I’ll say probably not.

So why are they doing something they consider so important by hand (assuming they don’t have the hand of Leonardo da Vinci)?

Business Execs Want Ease of Use and a Professional Look

Digging a bit further into the survey, we find another interesting bit of data. The survey group was asked, “How important is it to you personally that software used to create visuals has each of these attributes?” The overwhelming winner, at 73%, was “Easy to Use.”


In second place was “Simple,” which seems to me to overlap with ease of use, so I didn’t put it on my chart. But clearly, the message is there: most diagramming software is just too complicated (or at least that’s the perception) for higher-level executives to want to mess with.

Other strongly desirable attributes are “Creates Visuals that Look Professional” and “Allows Me to Create Visuals for Complex Concepts/Ideas/Processes/Data Etc.” Of less importance are the ability to collaborate with two people at once and availability of a “modern app” such as SaaS or a net-native platform.

Our New Video Explains the Combination of Ease-of-Use and Professional Results You Get with SmartDraw

It’s sort of a maniacal focus of ours. Among all of the attributes of our diagramming software, it must meet these two criteria: It has to be easy for anyone, regardless of skill level, to use. And, despite its simplicity, it must produce a beautiful, professional-quality output.

Check out our new video. It’s only a couple of minutes long, but I think it does a very nice job of conveying this message. What do you think?