A history of diagram search terms

draw.io 14 Apr 2023


Diagrams are growing in popularity worldwide, and search trends reflect this in interesting ways. By comparing various search phrases in Google Trends, we can see that “how to diagram” has been pretty stable over the past 20 years. But now, people are also searching for which type of diagram to use and when they would be best put to use.
Search trends clearly show that more people know that diagrams are useful and now need to know what type of diagram to use

Let’s dig a little deeper into these diagramming search trends.

Flowcharts, mind maps or org charts?

Of the three most popular types of diagrams used in organisations, especially in meetings, which would win out of flowcharts, mind maps or organisation charts?

Unsurprisingly, flowcharts are the most popular - they are used to document processes in all types of industries and teams.
Flowcharts are more popular than mind maps and org charts

BPMN diagrams, cross-functional flowcharts and swimlane diagrams, dataflow diagrams, gitflows, and value stream maps are more specialised forms of flowcharts, and all searched for at roughly the same rate.
An example BPMN diagram that details the steps involved in processing an order
BPMN diagrams are more structured than flowcharts

Which teams diagram the most?

If you work in this field, you’ll not be surprised that IT diagrams are the leading search phrase, much more than business diagrams, marketing diagrams and training diagrams all combined.
Diagrams in IT are more often searched for than business, marketing and training diagrams combined

It’s mostly likely because software and technology is increasingly more complex, and therefore easier to document visually in diagrams.

Different types of diagrams in IT

It was a little surprising to see network diagrams decrease in the long term search trend, but perhaps people are now searching more often for cloud infrastructure diagrams. Or perhaps network management tools are automatically documenting their infrastructure for them.
While UML and network diagrams are less often searched for, mockups and user flows are becoming more popular

UML diagrams have been losing popularity over time - they can be quite time consuming to draw and maintain for complex software products. When looking at the different types of UML diagrams, class diagrams are still regularly searched for.
A class diagram based on the basic class diagram template in draw.io

Reflecting today’s faster software development and release cycles, the search trends clearly show that mockups and user flows are increasingly popular.
The best way to control which feature flags are enabled or disabled, and set user target segment rules is via a visual interface
Mockups - like this feature-flag control panel - are easily created in draw.io

Business diagrams for project management

The most popular business diagrams searched for are used to explore and justify business and project management decisions.

The structure of an Ishikawa diagram resembles a fish skeleton, where the ribs are the categories and their sub-branches are root-causes, all leading to the problem or defect on the right

While fishbone diagrams for root cause analyses of problems, have been a constant search phrase over the past twenty years, both decision trees and Gantt charts have seen minor popularity dips. Both popular search terms right now, however.
Root cause analysis or fishbone diagrams are still one of the most popular types of business diagrams

We’re a little confused - what happened in 2015 to cause the spike in searches for “Venn” diagrams?
Why did the search for Venn diagrams spike in 2015?

Diagram software, tool or app?

When looking for a way to draw a diagram, do you search for diagram software, diagram tool or diagram app?

These days, app is gaining ground fast, probably because everyone has mobile devices.
Software, tool or app - which is most often used when searching for something to draw a diagram with?

And because we were curious, of the common wrong spellings of draw.io, drow.io has been the most popular in the past three years. Drizzt won’t notice.
Root cause analysis or fishbone diagrams are still one of the most popular types of business diagrams

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