Does Figma facilitate remote team design?
Just like with any new tool, Figma posed a bit of a learning curve for us. The tool led to a significant shift in our workflow, causing some initial hesitation on the parts of a few of our designers.
Setting up a file system
The first challenge we needed to address was how to structure our Figma file system, which replaced our “traditional” Dropbox system. We create one project per client and use a simple naming convention based on the client’s name for easy searchability. Within a project, we typically use a different file for each phase: workshop and research, wireframing, visual design, etc. Cover pages, which are shown on the ‘recently viewed’ page, ensure that our files are the first thing we see when we open Figma at the start of our day.
Adapting our workflow to Figma
The whole team gains access to a shared library in Figma, making it a great way to create starter templates for projects – we made one to streamline our wireframing process. This approach means we don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each new project and guarantees a shared understanding of project elements and styles.
The verdict: yes – in a true digital office
The results are in and it’s obvious that Figma is great for designing in remote teams. Seeing your colleagues’ cursors move within the files – witnessing them work in real-time – makes Figma more than just a design tool. It becomes a digital office. Before Figma, we sat side by side, working on our own design files. Today, we work in our own environments but much more closely than ever before.
Can Figma be used to co-create with a client?
We’ve always done plenty of co-creation sessions – both internally and with clients. So, when Covid hit, we intuitively began tackling these sessions in Figma. We tried it out internally first, and even though we missed the scent of Sharpies and freshly stuck post-its, the digital approach definitely offered clear advantages.
Internally: sheer delight
In addition to doing away with illegible scribbles and falling posters, Figma opened up a whole new world for us that is perfectly compatible with group calls. Seeing colleagues’ changes and thought processes in real-time is refreshing. It’s simple to follow the screen of somebody who is presenting ideas and – there are always digital post-its to stick. Figma is planning on adding an audio call feature to further simplify workshops.
Externally: learning curves and administrative hassles
Unfortunately, the same experience didn’t pan out when working with clients the first time. For one, Figma is impossible to learn in a few minutes. Secondly, every participant needs an account to co-create, another delay and administrative obstacle. And finally, Figma gets expensive when you need everybody to have edit rights.
The verdict: a bit overqualified
Although we experimented with comments, which worked somewhat, we opt instead to use other solutions for client co-creation sessions, as they’re simpler, cheaper to share and offer all the functionality we need. But for in-house sessions, Figma is our tool of choice.