There are many applications that allow you to design apps and websites, but Figma is unique. It is a web-based app with many advantages for teams working on UX and UI designs.
What Can Figma Do For You?
With Figma, you and your team can create digital designs and prototypes on the internet. There are no downloads and no licenses; access your project from any device with any operating system. There is a cost for Figma, but there is also a free plan for up to three projects. You can create designs from scratch or use pre-set templates, and the company provides many free tutorials on using the product and basic UX and UI design.
The UX/UI Design Process
While UX Designers work with people quite a bit, UI Designers are more on their own. UI Designers focus on the visual aspect (how the website or app looks) and if it does what it is supposed to. The UX Designer hands off the blueprint for the product to the UI Designer who is responsible for the final look of the product. They use software programs like Adobe XD to create websites and applications that are easy and enjoyable to use. The software also helps UI Designers build different levels of prototypes and test them to see how successful they are. The UI Designer is ultimately responsible for upholding the company brand in the design. Finally, XD makes it easy for the design to be passed on to Web Developers and other members of the design team.
What is Figma?
Figma is a web-based digital design and collaboration tool. It allows your design team to work together in real-time and saves changes as they are made. Members can also make comments on the project artboards, similar to comments in Google Docs, if they can’t be online at that time. Figma includes a link to create a Slack channel for the project and works with sharing tools like Confluence and SharePoint. Developers can easily view design code in CSS, iOS, and Android formats, so there is no need for an actual hand-off, but Figma also works well with display tools like Zeplin.
Essential Features of Figma
The most striking feature of Figma is that it is a browser-based application. You don’t have to download it to your computer, it works with any browser, and you are not limited to one device. This is a real advantage for teams where designers are using Macs and developers are using PCs. Figma saves changes automatically, so if your internet goes down, you won’t lose your progress and you can keep working on that particular project, but you won’t be connected to the rest of the team and you can’t change to a different project.
Another advantage of being web-based is the ability to collaborate in real-time. Figma recently introduced FigJam, a digital whiteboard that makes collaboration much easier. The team can all be on the project at the same time, and Figma lets you see who is on with avatars at the top of the page and named cursors, so you can see what team members do as they do it. This collaboration feature saves time because you don’t have to email files back and forth, and if a member can’t be at the work session, they can leave comments directly on the artboards when they get on. This is also helpful for client meetings because you can show them the latest version of the design without worrying if it has been updated.
Figma’s vector graphics design capabilities are very strong with the ability to create many complicated shapes. There are many plugins, templates, and kits available to save time, and your team can create collections of elements to keep the design on track. Figma can create interactive prototypes, not just .pdfs, so you can show clients exactly what the product will do. Finally, Figma can generate many types of code, including SVG, CSS, iOS, and Android.
History of Figma
Figma was developed by Dylan Field and Evan Wallace, who began work on the project in 2012 when they were students at Brown University. With the help of a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, they previewed Figma in December of 2015 and released it to the public in 2016.
How to Purchase Figma
There are three ways to buy Figma: starter, professional, and organizational. The Starter level is free for one or two editors to work on up to three projects for 30 days with unlimited cloud storage. The Professional version is $15 per editor a month and comes with unlimited projects and storage, as well as the ability to invite users to private projects and create team libraries. The Organization package is $45 per editor per month and adds many features useful to large organizations plus additional security.
How to Learn Figma
If you would like to learn how to use software like Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD in order to switch to a career in UX/UI design, one of the best ways to do that is to sign up for classes. You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn design software and other applications. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.
The best way to prepare for a career shift to a field like UX design is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run from a few weeks to a few months and will cover motion graphics and animation in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality sample video portfolio that you can show to prospective employers.
It’s easy to learn UX design and start a new career. Check out Noble Desktop’s Figma Bootcamp and other UX design classes. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online UX design courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other UX design bootcamps in your area.