Figma changed the game for design tools. Can they stay ahead?

In our most recent episode of The Experience show, we featured Figma.

Watch on Youtube or Listen on Apple, Spotify or Google.

If you’re not familiar with Figma, it’s a design tool that “helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish“.

Figma Design Tool

2017 was when Clayton introduced us to Figma. We haven’t looked back since. At the time, the innovative approach to their product features set a new standard among design tools.

When Figma launched with features like the “google docs” collaboration feel, web-based + native app experiences and quick prototyping tools, they set the bar.

But what’s next? Can they keep out-innovating their competition?

Like all episodes, we spent time breaking down the customer experience. We uncovered more about Figma as an organization (still couldn’t believe the $83M in funding 🤮), their branding/marketing approach, onboarding, product usage and more.

Below are a few takeaways from the episode.

The Good

Building a tool for today.

One of the things that impressed us the most with Figma was the approach in how they built their product experience.

They took the time to appreciate what tools designers need today. It’s a much more modern tool for the way designers and product teams are creating products.

In a world mostly dominated by Photoshop, the Figma team took a step back and approached the problem in the present.

They took advantage of having a clean slate to start from and they deserve all the praise for that risk.

Pushing design tools years ahead.

Building on top of the first point, Figma simply changed the game.

When Figma started gaining more adoption, it forced other design tools to elevate their product experience.

It’s safe to say, Figma has set the standard. The bar has risen thanks to Figma and now their features have become table stakes.

Example of pushing design tools ahead. Figma’s new plugin section is heating up. 🔥🔥🔥

Figma is expanding. A toolset for the entire product team.

As long time users of Figma, you can start to see the gradual transition in the product. It’s becoming more than just a tool for designers but the whole product team.

In our experience, the entire product team is leveraging Figma to speed up our workflow. At the start of an idea, the (Weav) team leverages Figma has a fluid whiteboard. Allowing us to work at a low fidelity and move quickly in and out of thoughts.

It will be interesting to see where they go next with this.

A tool that gets out of the way.

If you’re not familiar with our show, we pair a drink with the topic of the show. We picked the Ti Punch drink for a reason to pair with Figma. Both the drink and Figma do a great job of getting out of the way for you to enjoy the overall experience.

At first glance, Figma can feel sparse. Once you dive further into it, you realize it’s not a lack of features or toolsets. It’s intentional.

Figma is really focused.

There are zero distractions or blockers which allow you to just get in and create, design, ship, etc. You get the point.

It’s simple. It’s clean. It’s perfectly minimal.

The Bad

Why won’t you take my money?

As long time users of Figma, inviting teams, managing teams, managing projects and paying to upgrade have been a complete cluster fuck. (No, there’s not a better term for it).

Let me start out by saying, I’m all for investing time and energy into the product itself. Even if that means not paying attention to the admin side of the product like customers paying you.

But c’mon. After learning they have over $80M in funding, I was blown away by how bad this experience was. Again, it’s not just about taking our money but even managing team members and projects was a nightmare.

In complete fairness, after the episode aired, I went back to see if the experience had changed. To my surprise, it looks like Figma has been making some improvements to the upgrade process.

FIgma Upgrade Process

The process feels like you’d expect from a company like Figma. It’s completely native in the desktop app which is super slick.

As much as we’d like to take credit that we encouraged this fix, we all know Figma most likely hasn’t even watched our episode.

What’s Next?

Is it becoming an arms race for features?

After breaking down the entire experience, the only question that remains is what’s next?

It will be really interesting to see if Figma has created a race for who has the best features. Or what tool can be the most innovative.

Personally, I’d like to see Figma continue to double down on the product experience across all the native (web, desktop, etc) experiences.

Also, as mentioned above, regarding the expansion of the Figma product to be more useful for the entire product and creative teams. I’m curious to see how far they push this.

Additionally, what happens with mobile. Tools like Play are coming out this year. How does that impact Figma’s roadmap?

I guess time will tell but 2020 will be another big year for design tools.

Keep doing what you’re doing Figma just make sure to take people’s money. 💰💰💰