Figma 1.0(

7 years ago from Dylan Field, CEO at Figma

  • Jon MyersJon Myers, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    It's like a car with three steering wheels and everyone is driving at the same time.

    Getting a tattoo by three tattoo artists at the same time.

    In the design workflow, some of the best design happens when designers enter "flow state" - being in the zone, achieving clarity, knowing what you are designing and why, aligned with the tasks of design and its output.

    Designers all have their own secret recipes for entering flow state, some knowingly, others unknowingly. One thing, in general, there are some common ingredients that help or hinder, flow state. Some people simply cannot work to music with vocals. Others need total silence to concentrate, flow and work. Some like to work in darkness, some like to work standing up, some like the background noise of a cafe.

    In general, interruptions typically snap one, out of the zone.

    Multi-player seems to violate the design environment and create constant interruptions. It leaves you little time to actually, think.

    It was hard for me to even get past the product demonstration loop in the hero image on the landing page. It looks extremely agitating. Handing the keys to all the inmates in the asylum so everyone can throw elements at the wall without considering the rhythm and flow of the design seems even more agitating.

    There was once a website called, MySpace.

    Everyone could "customize" their page to their heart's desire.

    A Myspace page kinda looked like the Design Party,

    Just turns into irony and clown town.

    Show us something real and practical. You've raised a boatload of cash, no time for that kind of clowning.

    Abrupt real-time movements, in view, on adjacent artboards while you're focused on an artboard, or even worse, tripping over each other with elements on one artboard, is an extremely hostile assault on our visual system and ability to get into the design workflow.

    Collaboration, versioning and maintaining a design system are still challenges given the tools available to designers and design teams.

    Figma shows a lot of promise in tackling these challenges, and the multi-player, real-time collaboration features have value, I just don't see those features as central to the design process. They're an aspect of the process.

    The premise for using these features would appear to be more for design iteration. Co-designing the way it's presented feels gimmicky and like a violation of headspace and focus.

    Often ideas and designs must percolate.

    What I find far more interesting is the ability to upload a Sketch file and having the ability for someone on a Windows computer (or whatever, in a browser) to contribute to a project.

    Overall, the product itself looks beautifully designed with some nods to Adobe XD and other than the over-emphasis on "multi-player" (feels like some VC boardroom USP, go to market, "first" differentiation lingo. I get it, you gotta play the game.) - it seems well thought out.

    I'm curious how developer hand-offs with asset extractions and communicating design attributes goes with Figma.

    Further, I await more details on interactive prototyping. That's the challenge I run into more and more everyday, not creating layouts or even adapting layouts for screens.

    Sketch has that sorted.

    Aside from versioning and maintaining a design system (though arguably, symbols, ish - combined with an Atomic workflow and Craft negate this to an extent), Sketch has solved the problem of contemporary interface design, for a multitude of screens, creating elements and performing layouts very well.

    Additionally, there is a now a massive eco-system of plugins, resources and services, which has sprung up to support Sketch.

    I believe this is a major reason behind Sketch's success with interface designers. The eco-system seemingly sprung up over-night, Adobe peaced out on Fireworks, Photoshop and Illustrator for designing for screens felt like writing on a cave wall, there was a gap open and need for interface design tools to support the wide range of screens we're designing for these days.

    Sketch was adapted to fill that need of a modern interface design tool, and ironically, Invision popped up to solve a bigger problem (design communication and iteration) - and became the more valuable company. This is despite the fact that Sketch is arguably more central to the modern interface design eco-system.

    Figma will have to exceed these capabilities by a factor of 10x and fill in the gaps of a lack of an eco-system in order to gain broader adoption.

    I'm extremely impressed with what the Figma team has created, in this short of time. Manipulating elements and nudging them around with guides active and communicating measurements is indeed, smoother than Sketch. I prefer the style of text handling that Figma offers.

    I also prefer the sanctuary and peace of a local application.

    I use the Slack local application. I use a local application for email.

    I cannot see myself designing, working and living in the browser. If anything, I am constantly trying to escape the interruptions of the browser and local applications help mitigate the tendency to wander.

    It's kinda like the difference between reading on an iPad in the Kindle app versus reading on a Kindle device versus reading an old-fashioned book by the beach. I prefer not having the distractions or opportunity to deviate that accessible.

    Local apps simply occupy a different headspace in my opinion.

    I hope there is eventually a local version in the works.

    My only criticism so far, in the Figma application itself, I strongly suggest dialing down the "Share" button's visual volume. There is no reason to have a bright blue button up there with such emphasis, screaming over the work environment with such a strong opinion, "share" - "share" - "share".

    Spatially, its position and relationship to other control elements, balance wise, it unbalances the application controls toolbar.

    Further on this point of visual emphasis and the design language of the application, the blue active active states of controls, artboards, elements, groups, etc., presents another design language conflict (in relationship to the share control shouting - "this is how we will make money" - got it, share) and harsh distraction.

    In general, we know what control is active because - the cursor responds and is giving us visual feedback, the elements on the canvas generally respond depending on what is active, what we are manipulating and so on.

    You want the controls and environment of a design application to be as neutral as possible, thus, these chunky blue active state visual signals cloud the thinking.

    Congratulations to the Figma team on the launch.

    This looks like a promising application and I look forward to seeing more.

    4 points
    • Thomas DidrelThomas Didrel, 7 years ago

      I think you are mistaking the fact that the collaboration feature is available for its actual use. I have worked collaboratively on many Google Docs but rarely does this collaboration happen simultaneously.

      2 points
    • John PJohn P, 7 years ago

      Further on this point of visual emphasis and the design language of the application, the blue active active states of controls, artboards, elements, groups, etc., presents another design language conflict (in relationship to the share control shouting - "this is how we will make money" - got it, share) and harsh distraction.

      Reading this makes me wish for an opinionated design app approached as an artwork rather than a tool to accomplish business goals and ship tedious mobile apps.

      1 point