Collaborative, cloud-based design is crucial in what we do at Equilibrium, so it’s critical for us to find a design platform that suits our varied business needs.
One that specifically took our eye was Figma, a cloud-based design tool that’s used for UI design and prototyping—so on paper it was spot-on for our needs.
Its two main competitors in the design space are Adobe XD and Sketch. Adobe XD is currently lagging behind in its abilities, while Sketch is a Mac-only platform. Before making the switch to Figma we were actually using Sketch, but were never 100% happy with its capabilities. We always felt that there was a better solution.
So after hearing Figma regularly brought up in the industry, we decided to trial it out.
And we haven’t looked back. In just twelve short months we’ve seen massive improvements in what we’re able to achieve, thanks to this platform.
Here are some of the benefits we’ve experienced using Figma, and the value that it delivers to business.
This is where Figma really shines.
As it’s a browser-based platform, it doesn’t need separate copies of the application to run. It has all the collaboration abilities of Google Docs, which means that working on projects is seamless, with multiple designers working on the same project at the same time.
You can see who’s using the platform, and where they make changes, in real-time.
It’s this collaborative feature alone that is getting design teams to dump Sketch and make the switch like we did.
A smoother way to prototype and comment
Previously, we would upload our designs to InVision, with all comments being handled strictly within that platform. This was never ideal, each time there was a comment that required a change, we would need to make the change to the design file and upload it back to InVision.
Figma removes this double-handling, with prototyping and commenting in-built to its functionality. Design reviews can happen in real-time, with teams providing live feedback and making changes to the prototypes as they discuss them.
There’s no need to publish files, go back and check them, amend comments, and re-publish; it’s all done smoothly within the app, which has greatly improved our workflows.
Sharing and developer handoff has been simplified
Figma gets rid of the need to use InVision to share designs with clients. We can now share an entire design project, or a specific page, directly to the client, all within Figma.
Each page of the design features a code snippet that’s available in multiple formats. We just share this link with the client, and they can review the design within the app, or browser.
Not having to deal with the transfer of large files and versions is the way forward, and Figma is a leader in this.
As it’s platform agnostic, our front-end developers were instantly attracted to Figma. They can view the design files quickly within their browser of choice, and are able to produce a page that looks just like the design. The ability to set different levels of access means that our developers can continue working without worrying that any changes they make are going to produce negative flow-on effects to the back-end.
Wireframing has never been easier
Since switching to Figma we have been able to shave days off our wireframing process. Literal days. Previously we would have created a wireframe in Axure, which is a cumbersome, expensive, and outdated product. We would then build out the design in Sketch, and then prototype it in InVision.
Figma allows the user to develop a wireframe library, which features all the components we would use in a design, available to drag and drop into the new design. This was a game-changer, as it enables our designers to rapidly complete an entire project wireframe using pre-approved, pre-tested components.
The prototyping ability makes presenting wireframes to our clients easier than ever before. It’s such a simple process that we find ourselves wireframing even the smaller projects and sharing this with the client. This ease of use enables us to work more collaboratively, and ensure we’re all on the same page as the project progresses.
Thank you, Figma
We’ve only been using Figma for a year, but in that time it’s streamlined our design process significantly. It’s meant we were able to say goodbye to wireframing products like Axure, and move away from InVision for our design presentation and commenting needs.
It’s presented us with a robust, holistic, collaborative design solution that we all love using. It’s obvious to see why design teams are adopting Figma with such enthusiasm; it really is the complete package.
Now, in all honesty, Figma isn’t without its flaws. It does have its own quirks to get used to. But the small team who run the platform are always improving its operation, and with the success of the latest updates that have recently been rolled out, there’s definitely more value to come.
We believe that Figma will dominate the design and prototyping category—as would anyone who has had the opportunity to use it for a project.