When you’re designing a website and the components within, there are many fantastic and highly useful tools that you can use to facilitate a more efficient and streamlined process. Since there are seemingly countless tools available for UX designers to select from, the makers of these tools are constantly attempting to get ahead of the other options on the market, which means that you don’t need to look far to find a great design tool.
If, however, you want to use the best design tool around, it’s highly recommended that you give Figma a try. Figma is distinct from other design tools at your disposal because it combines the best and most important features of those other tools and applications. For instance, design prototyping is integrated directly into the tool, which means that you don’t need to use third-party software to complete prototypes. It’s also a web-based application, which means that it can work on basically any type of device.
When you start using Figma, you’ll find that it contains features that make team collaboration easy. Once you’ve determined what type of website you want to create, Figma can provide you with the features and tools you require to build a sleek and stylish UX design that your core audience will love. The basic version of the Figma tool is free to use and provides designers with unlimited files, two editors, and 30 days of history view.
You can also purchase a team version for $12 per month, which provides you with all of the features in the basic version as well as unlimited projects, Slack integration, and an expansive team component library. While you will need an internet connection to use Figma, this is a minor issue that’s outweighed by the many benefits that come with using the tool. This article offers a comprehensive guide on Figma and its many features.
Top 4 Features of Using Figma for Design
While Figma provides UX/UI designers with a wide range of useful features and tools to use, there are four core features that every designer can benefit from.
1. Communication & Collaboration
Likely the most useful feature available through Figma is easy communication between everyone, which isn’t possible with the majority of design tools. Since Figma is designed as a browser-based application, it’s simple for teams to perform real-time collaboration for any design tasks that must be completed for the day. Figma collaboration is similar to how collaboration occurs with Google Docs, which means that everyone who is editing or viewing a specific file is shown at the top of the document as an avatar.
Each team member who is accessing the document is assigned their own named cursor, which makes it easy to determine what changes are being made by each team member. When you select another person’s avatar, you’ll be able to see exactly what aspect of the document they’re looking at. By being able to collaborate and communicate in real-time, it’s possible to avoid misinterpretations from team members about different design elements. The design lead can also choose to open the file whenever they want to quickly check on the work that’s been done and recommend changes.
Along with real-time collaboration, communication is made easier with the Slack integration. Slack is a very popular business communication tool that provides teams with the ability to create chat rooms, send direct messages to one another, and open private groups. When you create a Figma channel within the Slack tool, all design edits and comments are sent to the entire team. You can share links with other team members whenever you want, which ensures that every member is kept up-to-date.
2. Works on Any Platform
As touched upon previously, a top benefit of using Figma when designing a website is that the tool works on any platform without issue. Because the tool is browser-based, it can be accessed from nearly any browser. The primary browsers that Figma can be accessed from include Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. If you find that the tool can’t be opened, make sure that your browser has received the latest update.
The flexibility of this tool also allows it to be used on nearly every operating system. Along with the Windows operating system, Figma is compatible with Apple macOS, Linux OS, and Chrome OS. Figma is currently the only design tool that can be used across nearly all operating systems and browsers, which means that every team member should be able to access the tool regardless of their platform preference.
In the majority of companies, developers choose to use Windows computers. On the other hand, designers tend to work with Mac computers because of the added functionality that makes their work easier. When using the Figma tool, designers and developers can be connected since there are no cross-platform restrictions. The universal nature of Figma ensures that any design work is immediately available to everyone.
3. Use of Components Over Symbols
To understand why Figma is the best design tool, it’s important to first understand how Figma Components are superior to Sketch Symbols. When you use the Sketch design tool, the Symbol tool allows you to edit certain text or change nested symbols. While this functionality is useful when designing a website, Sketch doesn’t make it easy to change background color, text size, or border weight, which essentially limits the Symbol functionality. To change these elements through Sketch, you would need to detach every document layer from the symbols so that slight changes could be made to the same element.
While it’s possible to nest each element variation into a single symbol, this can create an extremely cluttered panel that can make your work more difficult and time-consuming. If you work on a large project or a complicated user interface, maintaining every element variation would be almost impossible with Sketch. Figma avoids these issues by using their own Components system. When designing a component, you can alter the properties of a component layer without needing to detach the layer from the master component.
If you decide to rename one of your master components, this change will be applied to every instance of the component. Accessing components with Figma is much easier when compared to accessing any symbols you’ve created in Sketch. Components are always displayed in a list of thumbnails. When you want to start working on a component, all you need to do is drag the component from the list and into the canvas. It’s also possible to copy and paste the master component if you would like to create a new instance. When you use Sketch, the “copy and paste” functionality isn’t available. In general, working on a UX or UI design is much more efficient with Figma when compared to Sketch.
4. Figma is Easy for Developers to Use
Many design tools are created solely to facilitate the work that’s done by designers without taking into account the need for developers to build around the design. Figma allows designers to hand off the design to developers without issue. The Figma tool displays snippets of code on any object or frame in the design through several different formats.
The formats that this code can be displayed in extend to iOS, Android, or CSS. When you send a design file to a developer, they can view every component in your design without needing to use a third-party tool. In the event that developers and team members want to do more than look at the CSS code, Figma has complete integration with Zeplin.
Figma Versus Competitors
Before you start using the Figma tool for any design work, it’s highly recommended that you compare Figma features to the competition. The primary design tools that compete with Figma include Sketch, Affinity Designer, Adobe XD, and Photoshop. While each tool has its benefits, Figma offers the most features for the lowest price. Figma is largely free for designers and developers. While a $12 per month option is available for designers who want to expand functionality, the basic version provides users with most of the important features.
Every other tool is more expensive. Adobe XD is priced at $10 per month for both designers and developers. Sketch is priced at $99 per year, while Affinity Designer can be purchased for $50. The most expensive tool is Photoshop, which is currently priced at $30 per month. As mentioned previously, Figma can be used on numerous operating systems. In comparison, Adobe XD has two separate applications for Windows and Apple devices. Sketch only works with Mac devices.
Because Figma is a web-based application, you can share your editable design with any other designer or developer on your team, after which these individuals can further edit the design if necessary. With each competitor, source files are saved locally, which means that only design previews can be shared on a cloud service. Figma and Adobe XD are also the only tools that are outfitted with prototyping functionality. Even though code exporting is possible with Figma, Photoshop, and Sketch, this feature isn’t available with Affinity Designer and Adobe XD. If you want all of the features mentioned above in a single tool, Figma is the best choice.
Designing a website requires continual iteration until you’ve created a design that best matches your business and brand. If you want this process to be efficient, Figma should be the first tool you look at.