We have now improved the way we work and have redefined what design means to us. We are creating projects that not only look good, but also achieve business goals and solve real user pain points. One of Steve Jobs’ famous quote says “Make it looks good is not what we think design is. It is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”. New processes and tools have made our lives easier, and we need to keep our minds open to constantly rethink our relationship with design. We need to (re)design our design process frequently.
But what is Figma?
Figma is a design tool like many others that allow designers to work on and create user flows, wireframes, user interface designs, and any other graphic elements they need. Similarly to Sketch, Adobe XD, or Invision Studio, Figma’s features help designers create a high-quality project offering. However, what really makes Figma the best available design tool is its ability to allow users (project team and client) to work collaboratively in the same file, at the same time.
Yesterday vs. Today
After working in the digital industry for many years, I still take the initiative to learn something new every day and to stay up-to-date with the latest tools, practices, and industry trends. For example, take this contrast: In the past, we would have had a specific and single designer responsible for the project. Today, we have a team. In the past, files were stored in an internal server. Today, projects are stored in the cloud and are made available to everybody involved. In the past, we would have had to rename our files constantly according to changes (I remember renaming my files from name-of-project-v1.psd to name-of-project-v32.psd or name-of-project-v43.sketch). Today, we do not need to think about naming our files anymore because Figma does it for you. In the past, teams used to install new software on their computers. Today, the entire team can work on Figma using their favourite web browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, or any other — Apple, Windows or Linux. In the past, every time we changed a file, we had to share the file with the entire team and explain what we changed. Today, Figma controls version history for you. Imagine how hard it would be to make sure an entire design team was working on the correct, most up-to-date file?
Now, designers have new tools, methodologies, and processes; we live in a different time and our processes are improving. But unfortunately, most companies and designers work just as I did in the past.
Most projects of a product design and development company involve strategists, researchers, designers, project managers, engineers, copywriters, and quality assurance testers. Everyone has their own set of tasks and responsibilities, but it is time to stop thinking about which activities you specifically were assigned to. We need to have a broader and a global view of the entire project for it to be successful. Your whole project team should be working to achieve the very same goal.
I learned how to embrace innovation and improve the quality of my projects through a well-defined design process. Now is the perfect time to rethink my own design process and contribute to the company I am working with. One of my goals as a designer is to share my vision of design through a collaborative and well-defined process.
How does it work?
My vision is simple: the best way to design for people and for businesses is by designing collaboratively, and Figma helps us accomplish this. With Figma, the entire team can contribute to achieving the project’s goals. The owner of the project can set up different access levels for different people, define the way the team collaborates, and how each individual contributes to a shared project.
One Project. One team.
In practice, for example, the client may be able to view the project while your team has editing access. While the design team is working on the project, the copywriter revises the content, making sure there are no mistakes and everything is communicated as it was intended to be. Project managers are able to follow the project in real time, making sure everybody is working to achieve the same goal. With Figma, our design team is able to pair with the client’s design team. Also, instead of handing off designs and assets to the engineering team at the end of the process, we can involve them from the beginning — here is a great article on how to work with engineers using Figma.
Yes, our job is easier and better than it was in the past, but it can be even more productive if we embrace collaborative work. I like Figma because I believe design should be collaborative and everybody should work together as a team, in the same file and at the same time with only one goal in mind: design and build successful and profitable digital products that solve real problems through human-centered design processes.