How to Use Figma to Streamline Your Design

Head of Design Department by Head of Design Department on October 23, 2019

How to Use Figma to Streamline Your Design
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In this post, our Head of Design shares his impressions of the Ring X Figma meetup and how Dylan Field’s product is the best thing since sliced bread.

Last month QArea’s design team had a chance to visit the Ring X Figma meetup. Dylan Field, Figma’s CEO, presented his product and told the audience about the history of creating and developing one of the biggest breakthroughs in design software. This was his first visit to Ukraine, and it will definitely be a memorable for Ukraine’s design community.

During his presentation (and that of other speakers at the meetup) he told us about the ways in which Figma helps designers and developers streamline the design process.

This streamlining doesn’t apply to the design team specifically. Instead, it helps designers do their work while also helping all decision-makers and stakeholders to always be in the loop of the design process. Furthermore, once the design is finalized, involving the development team becomes much simpler as well.

Here’s the gist: older models of sharing design documentation involve using at least two tools — one for design and another for file-sharing. If you need the ability to comment on designs, you need a third, separate tool.

Under these conditions, each edit of the original design mockup requires three steps:

  1. Editing a design prototype
  2. Saving it and sharing it with stakeholders
  3. Receiving feedback

For each iteration of the design process you need to repeat all three steps. In a well established system, the entire “saving & sharing” process can’t take 5 minutes, but my own experience shows that this can take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes (depending on the tools you use). The worst thing is that you have to repeat this 5–20 minute process for every single edit of the document — whether you’re changing the entire prototype or just moving several blocks around.

Figma simplifies the entire workflow by changing the focus of the design process. This was Dylan Field’s big idea:

  • Replace siloed teams with networks
  • Replace a focus on files with focus on people
  • Change the “push” procedure to the “pull” procedure

With this model, the time spent working with files is better used working with people. The time spent communicating within siloed teams is replaced with a smooth network wherein everyone is connected. The time spent informing stakeholders about changes (push) is replaced with their ability to immediately access the latest versions of the design mockups (pull).

This improves communication at every stage of the design process, connects designers with stakeholders, and allows everyone to focus on the work and not the constant file exchanges and following version histories.

After Dylan Field’s presentation was over, the Chief Designer of a popular product company shared his experience with transitioning his team to Figma.

Over the course of the company’s existence, its design team used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, and a myriad of file-sharing and commenting tools. However, earlier this year they were able to transition the entire design process to Figma in just one month.

Of course, this kind of transition will take everyone out of their comfort zone and could potentially slow down the project. However, the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term discomfort.

This meetup has encouraged me to reconsider the tools we use at QArea. Already, the entire marketing and product development team has switched over to Figma, and the positive feedback and results started flooding in immediately. Over the course of the next couple of months, I’d like to see more of our projects transition to Figma, allowing our designers and developers to share mockups with our clients directly in one single design tool.

I’d like to thank the people at Ring for organizing this meetup and the developers of Figma for creating the new industry standard for streamlined design processes.

Good software starts with good design.