Figma – First Impressions

Over the last few months I’ve been exploring Sketch alternatives for UI/UX design. I’ve looked at InVision Studio and FramerX and thought it was about time I tried Figma – A browser based UI Design tool.

Figma is very similar to Sketch, FramerX and InVision Studio but with some seriously powerful differences, the main point being it’s primarily browser based which is a blessing for PC users.

Figma does have Mac and PC desktop apps too and from my testing work very well. I found the browser app to be far more memory intensive which when I switched to the app those issues went away.

Of course, it could just be Safari being an idiot (Yes, yes I have Chrome, I just forget to use it) and disclaimer I was hammering YouTube at the same time.

Figma is a real-time piece of software, meaning teams of UI Designers, UX Designers and Product Managers can all work at the same time.

This is incredibly powerful, imagine a copywriter signing in and just tinkering your words without the need for version controls and handing over complicated files… oh and it’s in the browser so it works for EVERYONE.

Like InVision and Framer you can also invite your developer buddies to take a look at the code the app produces. Again, it’s right there in the browser.

Figma also has the stuff you’d expect like vector editing, prototyping, colour management, styles and commenting but also boasts built in design libraries, again brilliant for teams – no need for shared drives or additional tools.

Figma has some incredible teams using their software, Slack, Microsoft, Zoom, Intercom to name a few.

As a long time Sketch user – Figma just felt really fresh and exciting. The possibilities are endless, so much so I was promoting it on a new client call just hours after getting the hang of it. I love the idea of giving access to a live document that clients, developers and team members can follow along.

Design is less final these days – you have to iterate.

I have to say, Figma is really exciting to me right now and the closest product yet to make me consider moving away from Sketch.

The thing is… Sketch just raised a $20 million series A round which no doubt will see them bringing in some of these missing features so we’ll just have to wait and see.

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