The Design Team in Elinext uses Figma as the main tool for designing, prototyping, communicating and handing off to development.
Our Lead UX/UI Designer Maksim Holub shares his insights on Figma functionality in this article. The following are the insights by the designer.
Figma has proven its effectiveness on a large number of projects: from the smallest and the simplest ones to very complex enterprise endeavors requiring the creation of design systems. Designers, managers, developers, QA engineers and most importantly, our clients seem to love Figma.
When we’ve made a switch from the design tools that we were using (Photoshop, Sketch, InVision) and joined a long list of other companies that fall back on Figma (this list includes Uber, Slack, Twitter, Microsoft, GitHub, Volvo, Intercom, Coinbase, Unfold, etc.), everyone in our team felt the value of Figma.
It was a real tangible value which can be not only ‘floating in the air’ but also be accountable and expressed in numbers.
In this article, I would like to give you some details to what benefits Figma brings to the table as a powerful design, prototyping, collaborating tool in the hands of the skilled designer.
I’ll try to explain what kind of value it is able to bring to the product team and to the stakeholders.
(1) this is not an advertising blog post for Figma, I simply express my opinion, which is based on my own experience and the feedback from the design team members and Elinext clients;
(2) In this article, I am not going to cover designers’ personal hard and/or soft skills which have a direct and indisputable impact on the end product and design process. Instead, I will cover the functional capabilities of the tool, Figma. In turn, the tool is able to improve the efficiency of the whole product team, including developers, managers, stakeholders, and designers in the first place.
In today’s environment, design (user experience, as well as visual attractiveness) is a core in software development. If you want to be competitive on the market merely developing or engineering the products is not enough. You have to provide the user with an unparalleled experience, paying close attention to the interface and making sure you meet all your business goals.
Since the design is in such high demand, it is no wonder that the market of designer tools develops dramatically. There are a lot of new products that been introduced during the last decade to compete with old-school Photoshop. Among them are Sketch, InVision App, Marvel App, Framer, InVision Studio, Adobe XD.
Each of these tools has its own set of functions and in most cases, the tool is only good for completing specific tasks, having many limitations.
Photoshop and Illustrator by Adobe are good for “deep” detailed work with raster and vector images respectively.
The sketch is an instrument for creating UI exclusively for Mac OS. It keeps files in isolation on the creator’s device (if not being well plug-inned).
InVision and Marvel Apps are the tools for creating prototypes from previously exported images from Sketch or Photoshop.
In contrast to that, Figma is an all-in-one tool.
It allows to design, prototype, collaborate and handoff designs to developers at one place, in real time, in the cloud, on all the platforms with components and style libraries used as a single source of truth for consistency, with version control of all the designs.
Ellen Beldner, the Head of Product Design at Stitchfix noted, “It isn’t just that replaces Sketch. Figma replaces Sketch, InVision, and Zeplin.”
Below we will describe all the main benefits of Figma – the app that ‘has captured Silicon Valley’s attention’ – rather for the stakeholders than for the product team.
Figma Benefits for the Stakeholders
Benefits for the stakeholders come from the ones of the product team’s.
Our clients are usually worried about these three things Figma can help with: high design and development speed, good quality, keeping the budget as low as possible.
Elinext clients introduce their high-quality products and/or features to the market much faster and save budgets for their creation and future maintenance.
This is possible due to faster designing and development process based on effective designers-stakeholders-developers collaboration; use of shared team libraries of scalable and reusable styles and components; and use of clickable prototypes. All these factors allow testing features and products at the early stages.
As an example, one of the companies using Figma admitted that “… [Figma] saves [company] … $20k/year”. Another company estimated Figma abilities to save at about 30% of time spent on communication, which is an essential part of the software development process.
This allows us to presume that when a business spends about 30% of less time on the creation of software it saves about 30% of the budgets.
Benefits of Figma for the team
Our Elinext Design Team effectively uses Figma for UI/UX design, prototyping, graphic design in some part, wireframing and brainstorming. Below, we will briefly describe some of the benefits of this tool and will tell you why we find it fantastic.
- Easy Creation and Maintenance of Design Systems
In this article, I am not going to dive into the details design systems.
However, the important thing is that one of the essential parts of a design system is the library of scalable components and styles.
It allows for creating a consistent visual language and accelerates the design and development of the product.
These components and styles represent ready-to-use buttons, cards, inputs, navbars (components), colors, typography, grids, shadow (styles), etc.
They are used to build user interfaces by simply drag-n-dropping them. The cool thing is if you have some little change of the color of the main button, you just have to click once to change the color for all the menus.