This Figma review is a little different. We've outlined 10 ways to get more out of Figma. If you are a UI designer, there are high chances you already know about Figma. It is one of the most popular prototyping tools for creating UI designs. Figma is up there with Adobe XD and Sketch as the most used UI design tools for building design systems and interface designs. Its intuitive UI and collaboration capabilities are why over 4 million people use this design tool.
Despite its popularity, many people still need to learn how to get the best from this fantastic design tool. If you are already using Figma or planning to try it out, this article will help you figure out how to utilize this prototyping tool's full potential to get more work done. We will share ten practical ways to get more out of Figma in 2023 and beyond.
By the end of this Figma review, you will have a clear idea of how this design tool boosts your UI design efficiency and effectiveness. Let's dig in!
What is Figma, and Who is it Best For?
Figma is a vector graphics editor and prototyping tool mainly used for UI design. Dylan – one of the co-founders of Figma, stated that this tool was designed to be the Google Docs of design. Figma's vision was to create a UI design platform that encourages several designers to collaborate on projects, just like Google Docs makes it effortless to collaborate on documents.
Its enhanced collaboration features are among the reasons Figma is among the most popular UI design tools, especially for businesses and teams. Since Figma is web-based, it cannot be used offline like other design tools, including Adobe XD. However, it also has a downloadable desktop app (PC and Mac) and mobile (iPhone and Android) Operating System. You can also use Figma from your browser, just like any other web application.
Figma is best for a UI/UX designer interested in collaborating on projects with their fellow designers. However, individual designers can also use this UI design tool because it has all the necessary features to create design systems. It is also much easier to use than most design tools, making it ideal for people just starting with UI design for applications and websites.
Figma's Best Features
Figma has many new features to create design systems that we can't exhaust in this article. But these are some of its best features that a UI/UX designer will care about.
Figma has many prototyping tools that make it seamless to bring your design ideas to life. You can use its drag-and-drop editor to create interactive prototypes and design systems rapidly.
The version control feature makes it possible to roll back to the previous version of the project after making several iterations. You can even choose version control to create your unique version of the design that is different from what the rest of your team is working on.
This is one of its best collaboration features. It allows anyone working on the design project to add comments that the rest of the team members can read. There is also the option of tagging specific members to make it easier for them to find the words. Figma also integrates with Slack, making it much easier to follow up on the comments on Slack right from your mobile device or computer.
Different people can work on a similar project simultaneously, just like you would edit the same document in Google docs. Everyone's cursor is visible in the Figma workspace to avoid scenarios where more than one person is working on a similar section of the design system.
This feature makes it easy for team members to share their screens in real-time. You have to click one's avatar to see whatever they are working on their screens at that exact moment. It is also a great new feature that makes user testing much more accessible by going through the user flows of the design system with your teammates.
This allows teams to share and updated collections of components that can be used on various projects.
Discover work by the creator
This feature makes it easy to find the projects or tasks on which the rest of the team works.
This feature allows users to create a collection of the standard design elements they intend to use in most projects. With Figma styles, teams can create and publish their ideal styles to the team's library for everyone else. The Figma community can also share the style guides with everyone else if they wish to. It is optional to use all the design elements in a specific Figma style guide; it just makes it easier to access the ones you commonly use anytime you need them. You can use only some of them in specific projects if you wish to.
Figma also has multiple templates you can integrate into your design. These will save you the time you would have spent creating these elements from scratch.
Figma also integrates with multiple web tools, further enhancing its functionality. Some tools you can incorporate into Figma include Slack, Notion, Maker, Axure, Pendo, Bubble, Zero Height, Storybook, Asana, Dropbox, Jira, Dribble, Coda, etc.
This feature allows a UI/UX designer to specify how an object responds as the frame size changes. Users can also set rules within the constraints panel.
Since Figma is a web-based tool, all the changes you make to your design are automatically saved.
Looking for a graphic design tool? Check out the Best Graphic Design Tools in 2022
Figma Review – Pros and Cons
- Enables seamless collaboration with other designers
- Easy to share files
- Robust tool for creating UI designs for websites and applications
- It is cloud-based, so it doesn't require much processing power from your local machine. The work is autosaved and allows accessing your files from anywhere
- It integrates with several other web applications, which further enhances its capabilities
- Figma makes it possible to analyze your work and make changes
- It has an intuitive user interface
- It cannot be used offline despite having downloadable apps
- No searching options for local components
- It has a relatively steep learning curve
10 Effective Ways to Use the Figma Prototyping Tool
Figma is a potent design tool if it is used effectively. Below are some of the top 10 most effective ways to get the best out of this tool.
1. Use Figma to prototype your product ideas and get user feedback early on
One of Figma's superpowers is that it enables designers to create prototypes much faster than any other tool. Instead of spending hours trying to create the perfect design, it is best to create wireframes in prototype mode and get feedback from real users to determine the changes you can make to your design to make it better.
So, if you are a startup or small business trying to build a website or web application, Figma's prototyping capabilities will make it a lot easier and faster to create an MVP according to your business structure that you can present to the market to get feedback.
Using the new features of Figma and watching some YouTube tutorials, even beginner-level designers can create stunning MVPs for your business. With a free account and some user research, it is effortless to create new designs. Using emails associated with a custom domain makes it easier to invite team members to work on a project.
When you present an MVP to your early adopters, you will quickly notice that some features you wasted your time on differ from what the users need. In such a scenario, you can revise such features to make them more useful or remove them entirely if they serve a different purpose than what you created.
An MVP can also be presented to investors and mentors to get funding and guidance. Since you didn't waste much time building the actual product, getting adjustments or proceeding with the MVP design is much easier after getting feedback from investors and mentors.
Most people don't take advantage of Figma's ability to create prototypes faster than any other UI design tool. Using rapid prototype tools is one of the best ways to get your product to the market quicker and beat the competition. It will also allow you to get accurate data from actual users, so your efforts will no longer be based on assumptions but on actual user data.
2. Create style guides for your team with Figma's built-in design tools
This is another core feature in Figma that will ultimately boost your team's productivity. With Figma styles, you can create a collection of design properties/elements that your team can easily access without going through several steps whenever they want to use the commonly used design element.
Some elements that can be added to your Figma styles include colors, fonts, templates, and many more. These styles can be published in your team's library to be used by anyone. This will save a lot of time your team would have wasted looking for a user interface element.
The Figma community allows different users to share their style guides – simply a collection of styles they use for their projects. You and your team can save a lot of time by using thoughtfully created, clearly documented, and meticulously organized styles, including text styles, color styles, elevation styles, quick start guide, and playground.
The idea behind style guides is to save time on projects and ensure consistency on all the design projects you create for every brand. Even when you bring new team members on board, they can easily catch up with the rest because they have access to all the standard design elements that the rest of the team uses in their projects.
How to create Figma style guides
- The procedure for creating styles in Figma is pretty straightforward. Follow the steps below to create your first style Figma.
- Start by selecting the object(s) you want to create a style for. For Instance, if you're going to add a specific color to your styles, input the code for that color.
- While in the effects section of the Properties panel, click the styles icon.
- Tap the icon in the Effect styles menu.
- You should now give the style a name and description and click Create style. This style will be added and can be used in future projects to save time.
- It should be noted that you can create multiple styles for colors, text, layer grids, and other design properties. You are not limited to only one style per property; you can create as many styles as you want.
3. Export high-quality vector graphics and illustrations from Figma
This design software also allows users to export their designs as high-quality vector graphics and illustrations, making it one of the best vector design tools. So, why is this important? Downloading your design files in this format will ensure their quality is maintained even when one zooms in and out. If you intend to present your design on a large screen or projector, using vector graphics is always the best option if you want your designs to look appealing to the audience you are presenting them to.
Several benefits come with exporting high-quality vector graphics. Let's look at some of these benefits.
Easy to manipulate: If you intend to edit your designs in the future, saving them as vector graphics is the way to go. It is much easier to edit or manipulate the properties of these files.
Easily reusable: While editing files saved in this format, you can easily create an object, duplicate it, and put it anywhere else on your design. This may not be possible with some other file formats.
Multipurpose: Vector graphics allow designers to perform various pixel operations, including adding gradients, pixelation, blur, and filters.
Infinite resolution: A design exported in the vector graphic format will never lose its resolution or picture quality even if you zoom it 100 times. Since vector graphics are pixel independent, they can be enlarged and maintain their exact form and features.
Scalable: You can scale the size of your design without being worried about quality loss. Whether you want to reduce or increase the size of your design, your quality will always remain the same.
Lightweight: Vector files contain only information about different coordinates of the design, not pixels. With this file format, it is possible to create complex vector drawings with many shapes, text, colors, and gradients but still have a very lightweight file. Small files are much easier to share online or in any other design software.
4. Integrate Figma with your existing tools and workflows
Integration is one of the significant factors you must consider while choosing a design application. You must ensure your UI design tool integrates with most of the other web applications you use. This will make importing and exporting files between the apps much easier without manually downloading and uploading them.
Figma integrates with several web applications, further enhancing its functionality. If you want to be more productive while using this design software, integrate it with some of the web applications that your workflow relies on. Let me share the list of apps that seamlessly integrate with Figma.
Notion: This integration enables adding live embeds of your Figma files to Notion.
Maze: It makes it much easier to test your prototypes with real users who will give you feedback that you can use to improve your Figma designs.
ProtoPie: This integration will accelerate your prototyping speeds. You can add basic animations with proto pie or try your hand at conditional interactions.
Flinto: With Flinto, you can easily integrate animated transitions, micro-interactions, and scroll-based effects into your Figma designs to make them more appealing.
Maker: This tool allows users to convert designs from Figma to create and publish new landing pages. This is an excellent tool for those using Figma to create multiple-page UI designs.
Bubble: With Bubble, you can create fully-functional web apps without writing a single line of code. This integration allows you to import your Figma design files into Bubble to create working prototypes for web applications without coding. The Bubble is the perfect integration to speed up your UX design process.
Zero Height: This tool allows you to sync your Figma Styles and interactive Components for up-to-date style guides and documentation. You will need to give Zero height read-only access to your Figma account to allow it to access the Figma API on your behalf.
Slack: Integrating Figma with Slack will enable you to get real-time notifications about your design right from Slack, making it a potent tool. These notifications include design changes made, comments from team members, and more.
Dropbox: This integration allows a single click to add live embeds of your Figma files to Dropbox Paper.
Avocode: With Avocode, you can translate your Figma designs to code and keep them in sync with this design software with versioning support. This is another extension you can use to speed up your prototyping process.
GitLab: With this integration, you can effortlessly export your designs from Figma to GitLab issues.
Principle: This integration allows you to convert your Figma designs into animated and interactive prototypes. The principle can also be considered part of the integrations geared towards rapid prototyping speeds and boosting the design process.
5. Collaborate with other team members in real-time using Figma's commenting features
Figma's real-time collaboration is one of the significant strengths that Figma has over many other UI design tools. Figma allows project managers and multiple designers to collaborate and make changes to the design on the same file in real time. Team members share wireframes and can also view the cursor of the other team members working on the design to avoid situations where more than one individual is working on the same design section.
One of the critical collaboration features in Figma is commenting. This feature allows different team members to add comments so that the rest can see the members. For Instance, if you add any changes to the design, you can attach a comment explaining to your colleagues a few details about the additions you have made and probably why you made them.
Users can also tag specific team members if the comment is directly meant for them. Tagging someone makes it much easier for them to find the comment and give it more attention. So, if you have a specific message about the design that you would like one of the team members to give attention to, tagging them is the most effective way to achieve that.
Figma also integrates with Slack, so all the comments added to the design will be directly received in your Slack. With the Slack integration, you will get all the important notifications about the designs you are part of in real-time. Besides the comments, anyone with edit access to a design file can see previews of the file in Slack. Users can also specify the kind of notifications about the files they would like to receive.
6. Create reusable components and symbols for faster design iterations
Whether you are working as an individual or a team, you will be less productive if you have to manually select all the symbols and elements you need every time you start a new project. If you are familiar with designing, you should have noticed that most of the features, such as colors, fonts, and grid layouts that you use, will often be the same for most designs.
The good news is that Figma has a style feature that allows you to combine these elements to make them easier to access in every project you open. You can create different font styles, color styles, or grid layout styles that you can always pick with just one click. This will save you a lot of time you would have otherwise wasted if you always had to manually choose theme elements for every design.
If you are working on the design project as a team, you can also add the styles to your team's library so everyone can access them. To view local styles and styles from other libraries, click the styles icon next to the relevant property in the right sidebar. Figma will open the style selector to view any styles available for the property you are working on. Members of the Figma community can also share their styles for everyone else to use.
7. Use Figma's animation features to create engaging user interfaces
Adding animations to your web design is among the most effective ways to boost your product's user experience. Most of your target audience will likely use mobile devices to access your website. You must design a website or web app that smooth scrolling and transitions from one section on the site.
Figma has a built-in smart animate feature that allows designers to create appealing and smooth user interfaces for websites and web applications. This feature makes Figma stand out from other tools like Adobe XD. Smart animation will look for matching layers of your design, recognizes differences, and smoothly animates the layers between frames in a prototype.
Smart animation can be used for creating animations. The common ones that you might find helpful include; loading sequences, parallax scrolling, touch gestures such as drag, swipe, or long-press, sliders, toggles and switches, expanding content (show more /show less), and the pull to refresh animation.
Some of the supported properties that can be animated using the Figma animate feature include the following;
Position: If one of the objects you add to your design has permanently been moved from one place to another, Figma will automatically create an animation to replicate that movement. For Instance, if you add a slider button to your web application, Figma animate will generate a smooth animation of all the positions the button will go through whenever the users slide it. This will make the whole act of sliding look smooth and intuitive in your user's eyes.
Scale: If an object in your interface changes in size, Figma will create an animation with multiple frames showing how the object grows or shrinks.
Rotation: Interfaces with specific layers that rotate as the user scrolls through can also be animated using Figma's smart animation. Figma allows users to Rotate a single layer at once or rotate a group around a single central position. You can choose between the two depending on how you would like your design to look.
Fill: Figma animation enables designers to animate changes between solid colors, gradients, and image fills.
Opacity: If you want an object in your UI to appear or disappear between frames, Figma animate got you covered. You can use Figma animate to gradually change the object's opacity as it seems or reappears on the interface.
Most of you reading these articles have used websites or web applications that use several of the above animations. Every digital product designer needs to pay close attention to animations because they play a crucial role in the overall user experience of their product. So, take advantage of Figma's animate feature to enhance your product's UX.
8. Use Figma-supported plugins to extend its functionality
Figma is a compelling design application with all the other tools and plugin support you need to create some of the best user interface designs. However, installing some handy plugins can take its power even further. Figma supports thousands of plugins that you can install to serve specific purposes.
Some of the handy plugins that most designers will need include the following;
Rename styles: If you create multiple styles, this plugin will make it much easier to rename them at once. You must select several styles and perform the find and replace functions to rename them.
Pack: This plugin allows you to generate a pattern of packing circles within a given frame on your UI.
Clipping Magic background remover: This is the plugin you need to remove backgrounds from your images automatically with just a single click.
Sequential Text: This plugin allows you to populate several text layers with a numeric sequence.
Sticky notes: Like its name, this plugin adds sticky notes to your UI designs.
CopyDoc Text Kit: The purpose of this plugin is to export, import, localize, spell check, and update Figma text.
Emoji Generator: If you want to add emojis to your UI design, you can use this plugin to fill selected textboxes with randomly generated emojis.
Figma Manager: The plugin support designers to easily organize their design elements and Figma documents.
Instant Website Beta: This is the plugin you need to turn Figma designs into real websites you can share, and it requires no login to get started.
9. Collaborate with your team members using Live Share
One of the Figma collaboration features that you will surely enjoy is Live Share. With this feature, you will see what your other team members are working on in real time. All you have to do is click their avatar, and you will be welcomed with their live screen to see the tasks they are working on.
This can be a convenient tool, especially if you want to learn or share some design techniques with one of your team members. It can also be used if you oversee a team and would like to follow along on one of the critical projects they are working on.
10. Use the Figma mobile apps to access and use your designs on the go
Figma is one of the professional design tools with iOS and Android mobile apps that make it possible to access and use your design files where you are. With these apps, you can use a full-size computer to do specific tasks. Some of the essential functions that you can do right from your mobile app include;
- You can view, browse and share files and prototypes.
- Navigate team and project folders whenever you want to
- Favorite files to make it easy to find them in future
- Playback prototypes
- Turn on hot spots in prototypes for more straightforward navigation
- Mirror selected frames from the desktop onto your mobile device
- Those with an iPad can even accomplish a lot more. Here are some extra tasks that you do right from your Figma iPad app.
- You can create sketches with your Apple Pencil to explore and iterate your design ideas.
- Share and riff on early thinking with your team
- Annotate designs to share feedback
- You can also write your design ideas within the app whenever inspiration strikes.
How is Figma Rated?
One of the first things that we recommend doing before choosing any web application is checking out its ratings and reviews. This will give you an idea of the user experience of the application's current users. In this section, we will share with you Figma's ratings and reviews on some leading review sites, including Trustpilot, Capterra, and G2.
Figma reviews and ratings on Trustpilot
Overall Trustpilot Rating – 3.7/5 stars
Figma has an overall review of 3.7/5 stars out of 43 reviews on Trustpilot. Most reviewers on Trustpilot love Figma because of its design collaboration capabilities.
Figma reviews and ratings on Capterra
Overall Capterra Rating – 4.7/5 stars
Figma has a general rating of 4.7/5 stars out of the 545 reviewers on Capterra. Most reviewers on Capterra love this tool because it is online, has great community support, and its collaboration capabilities. Figma was noted as a top performer for 2022.
Figma reviews and ratings on G2
Overall G2 Rating – 4.7/5 stars
Figma has an overall rating of 4.7/5 stars out of 720 reviewers. Most reviewers on this platform choose Figma because of its collaboration functionalities.
Figma has a free version and two premium plans that designers can use depending on the design features they need and their budget. Let's look at the core features you will get from these plans.
- Access to 3 Figma and 3 FigJam files
- It comes with unlimited personal files
- No limit to the number of collaborators you can add
- Access to Plugins and templates
- iOS and Android Mobile app
Figma Professional: $12 per editor/month
All features in the Starter plan plus:
- Access to unlimited Figma files
- Offers unlimited version history
- Sharing permissions
- Shared and private projects
- Team libraries
- Audio conversations
Figma Organization: $45 per editor/month
All features in the Professional, plus:
- Org-wide libraries
- Design system analytics
- Branching and merging
- Centralized file management
- Unified admin and billing
- Private plugins
- Single sign-on
- Choose Organization
Figma Review Wrap-up
Overall, Figma is one of the best UI design tools out there. Figma's main strength lies in the design collaboration features that make it easy for teams to work on projects together. Features like Live Share, commenting, and the ability to add styles in the team's library make Figma a clear choice for teams searching for a UI design tool with robust real-time collaboration capabilities.
Figma has several useful integrations and plugins that enhance its capabilities and user experience. For example, an extension like Slack makes it seamless for teams working on a design project to get updates on any changes made to the design right from their Slack app. Such features significantly impact the overall users' experience and are among the top reasons UI designers choose Figma over other alternatives.