“If it’s not broken, why fix it?”
Today, I’ll share how and why I convinced the entire team to switch from XD to Figma. But first, a little background…
We’d been using Adobe XD as our primary tool for prototyping and designing for around 5 years and it was a massive improvement from using Illustrator and Photoshop for designing digital products.
XD allowed us to create designs that worked. We could navigate between pages; simple creative & interactive components; and share working prototypes with clients.
So, what led us to dislike XD?
XD was a step in the right direction but it was far from perfect. We used Dropbox to store all of our projects and sync them between multiple machines and users. Managing version control of wireframes and designs was challenging and led to frustration when the latest wireframes hadn’t synced.
XD improved with a new feature that allowed you to leave comments on prototypes. We no longer had to decipher cryptic instructions to identify which page or components our client wanted to amend. However, you could only see comments in the browser.
Everytime we made an update we had to recreate the link to share. This inevitably led to frustration when PMs couldn’t find the right link. And let’s not talk about the time I opened an XD file to share, only to have it overwrite the previous link containing all of the client's feedback…
Sharing prototypes with clients was another challenge. The prototypes are shown in the browser within a window scaled down to 83% by default. Viewing in full screen fixes this but you can’t leave comments in full screen. Our clients got used to seeing designs at a reduced scale, and when it came time to build, clients often felt everything looked too big.
Adobe products have always had issues we’ve had to accept, because there were no better alternatives on the market.
I’d heard about Figma and thought it looked promising but why spend time learning new software when I could use XD - despite our differences.
Then, a friend asked me to help out with a project in Figma. Finally, I had no choice but to get stuck in, and after I retrained my brain to use frames instead of art boards there was no looking back.
I was apprehensive to discover that Figma was a web based software but honestly, you can’t tell. It's super responsive and feels like a native app. There are many subtle differences that really impressed me, having multiple pages in one design file as an example. One file containing wireframes, research, designs and prototypes makes me very happy. Gone are the days of rummaging through bloated dropbox folders. The way prototypes are shared on Figma is also much nicer.
Since switching, we’ve had no issues with clients and sizing because the prototypes come through at the correct scale. Comments made on the prototype also come straight through into the designs files.
I felt sure moving to Figma would benefit everyone, not just designers. So when pitching, I focused on how it would benefit our Project Managers, Clients and Developers. I was certain it would hugely improve workflow, especially with most working remotely.
We agreed to trial Figma on a smaller client project to see if the software was the right fit. The team adapted quickly and immediately we saw efficiencies in our workflow. The trial project was a huge success and as a result, we moved our entire UX and Design process over to Figma.
It was quickly clear that the whole team felt empowered by Figma. PM’s could leave feedback comments in the project file, developers had easy access to the information they needed to build the website accurately, and could flag up any early concerns.
To anyone in the digital world who requires design software for the whole team, I would wholeheartedly recommend Figma. I would go as far to say that it has been my highlight at Primate so far. The effort paid off and now our projects run ten times smoother.
If you’d like some more information about Figma, head over to their website… https://www.figma.com/design/