Ask DN: What am I missing about Figma?

over 1 year ago from , Lead UI/UX Designer

I keep seeing people reference Figma as the better alternative whenever a discussion pops up about some or other feature being missing from one tool or other. Especially whenever there's an update to Sketch or Adobe XD, for example.

The problem is that whenever I have tried to give Figma a chance, I always end up getting stuck on the most basic things. I feel like I don't know how the software works at all, but then again it's not very much different to any other design software in terms of how it's laid out. So from my perspective Sketch with auto-layout plugin runs circles around Figma when it comes to being able to build out interactions and different states, etc.

To give you an example of some basic things I'm talking about, if I want to create a button with states Default, Hover, Disabled, etc, in Sketch I would just make the default variant, duplicate the artboard and make the changes and I would be done in a minute or two. In Figma, there is no obvious way to duplicate a component, so I'd have to ungroup the component and make the changes, and then make it into a component again. Then when I want to actually switch the state in a design, I again have no obvious way of switching the state. So I'd end up deleting the button and adding it again from the assets panel.

In Sketch, I can even see the previews of different states when switching between them in a Symbol. And with auto-layout I can quickly re-arrange things and have them update with no effort whatsoever. These basic things seem a struggle for me in Figma and I don't know why.

Am I just missing something? Does this software just not click with the way I think or something? Do I need to unlearn some behaviors I'm used to from Sketch? Is Figma just overrated?


  • Tyson KingsburyTyson Kingsbury, over 1 year ago

    with any new software, especially when it's a design app like these, there's always going to be a period of time where you HAVE to unlearn a few things from your previous 'software of choice'.

    for me, it was photoshop.

    the process didn't take long at all for me. Within a few days of tinkering on Figma, i pretty much abandoned photoshop for everything but what it was originally intended..photo manipulation. All design work from that point on I did in Figma.

    I'm not saying your experience will be similar to mine. All I can say is that for my purposes (web design, app design, portal design, web-apps etc) it's been a dream come true. Our main issues prior to Figma was distributed dev teams, and how to support them (design-wise) in the best way. Figma solved that instantly with being able to quickly create, share the link, and work directly with a distant dev team (well...not that distant...my buddies were on the other side of the city at a client, and it saved me from dragging my ass all the way over there every day)

    when i designed things in photoshop, i was essentially sending them a 'picture' of what i wanted. not the real thing. now with Figma, i can share the link, and they can click on the component, see the markup, CSS or whatever, and instantly use it.

    beats the hell out of any other program in that regard.

    anyhow, 'your mileage may vary' as they say... I'll admit to being a HUGE figma fan-boy, but i totally get where you're coming from. I resisted Sketch for a LONG time...to the point where when i was 'thinking' about it, it just seemed to steep a hill to climb... all the plugins, all the new commands...yechhhh... i felt that the world had kind of passed my by... and that my over-reliance on photoshop had kind of fenced me in to becoming obsolete. I'd noticed that new UI kits and cool new photoshop plugins had essentially died out... no one was producing much of that any more...

    then, a few years ago now, i stumbled on Figma...and it was like (to me) discovering design all over again.

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  • Marco RodriguesMarco Rodrigues, over 1 year ago

    So I switched from Sketch to Figma just under a year ago. The thing that took me the longest to figure out is what can and can't be done to components. To use your button example, when your initial button is created (atom) it should contain everything you want for you other variations.

    I work on a Mac for work so I usually duplicate the component by selecting it and holding down option/alt to bring up the double arrows to duplicate it. With this new component, you can change the text, color and turn on or off aspects of the button you created. Any changes to the original component will reflect downward.

    If you keep a naming convention like "component/buttons/active" your button components should be grouped and you will be able to switch between them in the property menu on the right.

    It's been a while so I assume what you mean by rearrange would be something like the tidy up feature in Figma. You should look into it.

    Hope that helps.

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