Figma is a web-based collaborative design tool. If you’ve been into web design and development, you know many other tools like Sketch and Adobe XD. Figma is more like Sketch with a slight difference in functionality.
The only difference between these two tools is that Figma is web-based (runs in a desktop browser) and allows you to collaborate in real-time with your remote team. That sounds awesome, right?
Well, if you’ve been thinking of trying some new design tool this year, Figma may be the right one for you. In this review, we dig more into the unique features of this tool, pricing plans, benefits and give you a heads up on why you should look forward to using it.
The Figma Background
Figma is a design tool that was co-founded by Dylan Field in 2013 with a vision to make the design more accessible to everyone.
In one of the Techcrunch articles, the co-founder states that Figma was designed to make interface design more collaborative and do what Google has achieved with text editing.
Dylan Field may have been right because Figma is currently making design work much easier for people. Figma is available as a web-based design tool and is currently one of the most useful tools.
If you have a web design team using Adobe XD and Sketch, you may be wondering why you should make that switch to Figma this year. Well, here are the reasons you should choose Figma and not other tools.
Figma Enables Real-Time Collaboration
Today, design work is more collaborative than before, and that means teams need to work together regardless of their location. With Figma, teams can collaborate with designers on different tasks and share work with clients and colleagues.
Sharing different versions of the design draft is a bit hectic to most designers, and that may soon be over when you start using Figma.
When you choose this tool, you produce, share, and communicate in one place with your team and clients. Figma makes it easier to work as a team remotely, and this is a unique feature you don’t find in other tools.
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Other benefits of using Figma for design and collaboration include:
- It is easy creating boards for different projects and work together.
- You can create and export finished designs across different platforms.
- The comment feature on the tool allows you to give feedback to your team as you work on a project.
- Share different elements between projects, thereby improving speed and efficiency.
- Multiple users can log in and share one document at the same time.
- It comes with a ‘team libraries’ feature which enables users to create design systems with text styles, colour schemes, and other elements.
- It saves work automatically, so your team does not lose any useful data when working on a document.
All the collaboration features on Figma are much easier to access because the tool is web-based and works in real-time. Some collaboration features that make Figma stand out from other tools to include a flawless sync process, observation mode, shared assets, and team libraries.
Provides An Array Of Interactions For Users
Figma, just like Sketch and Adobe XD, provides an array of interaction options for its users. The only difference is that with Figma, a user can define only one interaction per user interface.
Other tools can allow you to define two interactions for every UI element, for instance, click and hover.
Prototyping In Figma Is Simple And Intuitive
As a move to remain at par with other tools, Figma is now providing transitions between frames. Other tools like Sketch include artboard prototyping.
When you choose Figma, you eliminate the need to have a separate tool that does slideshow-style prototyping like Marvel and InVision. There is no need to export when you want to review files since all you need is a simple presentation with transitions.
It is easy distributing Figma prototypes just like you would do to Figma design files. As long as you have a link, you can view and comment on a prototype.
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All the user comments are captured on a comment panel and saved in Slack. Also, all designers working on the project can get CSS attributes from the prototype, see the design workflow, and drop a message for team members.
Developer Handoff Is Easier With Figma
Figma is straightforward to use and displays all code snippets on selected objects or frames in Android, iOS, and CSS formats. Developers can use such formats when reviewing their design files.
The developer handoff in Figma lets a user embed specification within a document. It means once a user has shared a link, there is no need to republish or share it again since all specifications of the document are updated automatically.
Any web developer can inspect the design component in every file they view. Developers don’t need any third-party tool to get information.
Also, if a team wants to do extra work other than CSS display and simple measurements, Figma has integrated with Zeplin to make it easier for them. Figma provides the best user experience compared to Sketch and Adobe XD.
Previewing in Figma
Another aspect that most developers would consider when choosing a design tool is the preview. Figma does not disappoint with its preview feature.
With this tool, users can send a link to the team and clients and then show a mockup on the browser. This makes it easier for the entire team and the clients to determine how much progress they are making with the project.
Also, under the preview, any user can set the link under view only so that other users do not make any changes to the link. Users can also grant other permission to interact with the document and show the owners what changes they would like to make to the design, like adding another copy.
If you would like to preview designs in embedded format, Figma allows for that. Figma displays the design rather than the code, giving you peace of mind as you work on the document. However, it takes some time to load into the browser when a user clicks on the Present icon.
On-Demand File Versioning
With Figma, file versioning is on-demand and automatic. The software has an in-built versioning system that mitigates the file versioning process. That said, after making all the changes on a file, users can easily create a named description and version of the file and save it.
Until all changes are committed to the original version of the Figma file, the live file shared is not affected in any way. Additionally, it is easier to overwrite the original file and restore any saved versions if you need a duplicate copy.
Figma comes with a unique feature called the Vector Networks. Simply put, this is an enhanced pen tool that enables you to control fills, bending, and strokes. You can learn more about vector networks feature by reading this post on Medium.
Frames And Artboards
Frames and Artboards are some of the best features you get when you start using Figma. In Figma, frames contain prototypes on a canvas. It means with this tool, you can create more than two frames on a canvas.
Frames are important in design because they enable you to create a container for the design prototype and add layers to a canvas.
Another unique side of Figma is that it offers all the known functionalities of Adobe XD artboards. You can nest frames in Figma and use them to create buttons and navigation bars.
You get various frame sizes for Mac and Windows desktops. Figma also gives you the freedom to create personalized frame sizes by simply clicking on Frame then drawing a frame size you want on the canvas.
With Figma, you can create a frame for both landscape and portrait view, which is hardly available in other tools. The frames in Figma provide all the functionalities of artboards in Adobe XD, which makes Figma more convenient to use. What Figma frames can do is way beyond what Adobe XD artboard does.
Figma has a lot to offer in the form of supported platforms and plugins. The tool offers a web-based application that enables editing in any browser with a Web GL interface.
It is also easy to view Figma design files on a desktop browser. You can install the Figma application for Mac OS, Linux OS, and Windows. It means the tool is compatible with some of the best OS you find around.
Any user can preview the designs on their mobile phones using the Figma Mirror App. It is easy to view and feel how the design will look like in the actual device. Using the app, you can preview both interactive and static designs.
Cost and Pricing Plans
Figma, just like other design tools, offers you a free trial plan when you sign up for the first time. This tool is available in three basic plans; Starter (Free), Professional, and Organization.
The starter plan enables you to learn how to use the tool for up to three projects and editors. Figma also provides a 30-day unlimited history and cloud storage. You can handle one team project for the free plan and access unlimited viewers and comments on your project.
The Organization plan allows you access to shared fonts and design system analytics. You also enjoy centralized teams and a wide design system for your team.
FAQ About Figma
Is Figma available on a free plan?
Yes, when you sign up with Figma as a first-time user, you get a 30-days free trial on the Starter plan. If you need access to other functionalities, you have to subscribe to Organization or Professional plans.
Can I cancel my current Figma Plan?
Figma will notify you 30 days before your plan is set to renew. On getting this notice, you are free to change the number of a seat on the yearly plan before the next year. If you don’t change the seats, Figma will automatically renew the same number of seats again.
Also, Figma allows you to choose not to renew the annual plan. In this case, all your team editors will pay for the service monthly.
Where on Figma can you see a breakdown of associated costs and team editors?
On the Admin Dashboard, you are free to manage your team. When you start the upgrade process, you will be free to review current editors and downgrade all team members to viewers only. This way, you can pay for the number of editors you want.
How do you adjust admin privileges on Figma?
As an admin, you are free to adjust the privileges of an editor or team member. Visit the Team Page to change the permissions of each team member. Figma has no limit on the number of admins you can have in your team.
There are multiple design tools you can choose for a web developer. However, when you decide to work as a team on a project, Figma is the best you can have.
This is a promising design collaboration tool with all the features you need to end your project successfully. It has a lot of buzz around design collaboration with plenty of workflows.
The only downside of Figma is the loading time for larger files. It takes time for the files to open up if you don’t have a stable internet connection.
The success and future of Figma will depend on how designers and developers will regard real-time collaboration. This is because Figma is built on the concept of doing things together in real-time.
It means this tool will have a bright future if most designers prefer to work as a team regardless of their location. Figma has a lot to offer, and it is more cost-effective than other design tools, making it one of the best you can have for your design team.