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Why Figma deserves my time?

allentv profile image Allen T.V> ・2 min read

I have been dabbling with Adobe XD recently coming from Sketch and found the interface to be very user-friendly. After going through a bunch of tutorials about XD and with plans to build UI prototypes in it, I came across Figma. It was highly recommended by multiple folks and was dubbed as "highly collaborative". With my current workplace also giving out accounts, I thought why not give it a shot? Turns out, Figma is indeed highly collaborative in nature. It is like Google Docs for design. I was genuinely surprised to see multiple folks accessing the document at the same time, highlighted by coloured cursors with their names on it. Supporting Single-Sign-On (SSO) also helps with a faster login process. Having all my documents available through the browser was an excellent feature which I can also use through a desktop shell that is available to download, for those who prefer such an interface.

The UI preview feature works quite well and the ability to create high fidelity icons is a plus. Being able to see the CSS properties for different elements makes the process of translation to code quite easy. It is also helpful to see the relative distances between elements just by clicking and moving the cursor between elements.

Being able to share the designs with other by just a simple hyperlink is very powerful compared to sharing huge file blobs. It makes it so much more easier to share updates rather having to worry about different versions. For me, it makes the whole collaboration process much simpler and aids with faster iteration.

The only feature that I miss in Figma is the ability to add micro-interactions like a hover effect when the user moves the mouse pointer over an element, or a toggle state to highlight an action has happened. Introducing this feature would give designers an extra tool to communicate their ideas with developers especially to improve the user interaction.

Other potential features that I think would make a difference is the ability to generate a design system from the figma document that has all the common styles. This could be a combination of one or more SASS or LESS files. Right now it has to be manually generated by the developers to be used in a web application. If it was automatically generated based on an easy to use convention, making sweeping style changes to an application would be deterministic and easy to be done.

Being able to extend Figma through an API or plugins would make it easier for designers and developers to implement workflows that align to their organisational structure and way of doing things. After all, any productivity gains, is time saved!

I look forward to my journey with Figma and creating designs for new apps with it. The team behind Figma has been very receptive to feedback and understand good design. I look forward to the updates to the product and what others in the industry do with it!

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