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Any designers using Framer X? Why or why not?

1 month ago from , UX Designer

Framer X seemed so hot for a while, but I haven't see much talk about it. It's a small sample size, but I don't see any mention of it in this thread.

I've been wanting to give it a spin, but to be honest, the 15 day trial always stops me. I don't want to start it until I have a couple free days in a row (Which, I realize, may not exist lol, so I never start)

I'd love to know why you're using it. Even more so, why are you not using it? Is the dev handoff with "almost real code"not working well? Are the design tools hard or slower to use than Sketch / Figma / etc? Is Principle and Sketch that much better for some reason?

27 comments

  • Account deleted 26 days ago

    people who are using framer probably don't have spare time to check here.

    20 points
  • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, 27 days ago

    I don't know a single designer who uses it. From what I understand, the learning curve is just too intense to truly invest in it. Nor do I think the majority of designers need that kind of fidelity prototyping for the kind of work they're doing.

    16 points
  • Josef RichterJosef Richter, 26 days ago

    I am a designer using Framer X almost every day. I am believe it's mostly the right direction to go, on the other hand it's "not quite there"yet.

    You can do pure design in Framer and I dare to say it's almost on par with Sketch already. Some things missing, other things better than Sketch. Generally Sketch is too static and the output is static screens, FX is much more dynamic and the output can be a pretty decent clickable prototype.

    Then there's the realm of code components. It requires some elementary coding. This is basically what Classic Framer was all about. But old Framer became pretty messy real quick, FX is much more organized by adopting React. Luckily, React recently underwent some important changes that dramatically simplified the code you need to write. It's back to creating a big bang with just 5 lines of code, which is what was cool about Classic Framer. Your grandma can write it. It can be quick & dirty, FX team even encourages you to go quick & dirty, it's usually enough for simple prototypes.

    But then again it's React. That means sky is the limit. I believe it might require some changes in design teams where even junior javascript developer (or you learning some more js/react) can suddenly become very valuable - can help designers create more complex components and prototypes and create really advanced prototypes real quick. That means much better user testing, much shorter feedback loop and iteration cycle, better product, huge savings in production code development.

    15 points
    • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 26 days ago

      Thanks for sharing! One aspect that draws me to use but I'm still very unsure about is being able to pull components from production. I'd love to have parity with whats on production. (and in an ideal world visa versa but thats later)

      3 points
  • James MatchettJames Matchett, 26 days ago

    I use to use Framer all the time. I thought Framer X was going to be ground breaking, instead it feels way more like a developer tool than a designer tool so I've stopped using it entirely.

    9 points
    • Brent C, 24 days ago

      This was my experience as well. I felt like I was spending a lot of time learning how to code rather than thinking about the design itself. Framer Classic didn't have this problem as much because the app was self contained and the documentation was great. I also felt like Coffee Script was more forgiving.

      At the end of the day, if I'm going to spend a lot of time learning JavaScript and React, I'd rather spend that time learning Swift and native development. I'm not that interested in web front-ends.

      Hopefully Framer can create better guides for building components, and have in-depth documentation. Playgrounds seems like a good step towards self-contained design files. And the steps towards creating non-code based prototype interactions for simple stuff is a promising.

      0 points
  • Dexter W, 27 days ago

    Framer X is the No Man’s Sky of the design world. Until the launch of Playgrounds, you pretty much had to be a React front end developer to build anything worthwhile. And its anti design spending that much time coding.

    Framer X is much better recently for these reasons.

    1. Overrides + Playgrounds make things easier and faster
    2. The React / ES6 guide explains all the technical stuff clearly to non developers
    3. The whole design code dream is starting to make sense. A lot of code is re-usable.

    BUT...

    There are not enough examples yet to handle common UI patterns. It’s not always clear when you should use a design vs code component. Almost any tool is easier to use than Framer.

    7 points
    • Thomas Michael SemmlerThomas Michael Semmler, 24 days ago

      No Man’s Sky of the design world.

      Nice! :D

      I shamefully admit that even before the very first major update, I already had about 150hrs on it.

      1 point
  • Davo Galavotti, 24 days ago

    This is a great question, Ben!

    If you are a visual designer that is interested in learning about interaction design, you should pay attention to what Framer X is bringing to the table.

    Just for the fact that is the only Interaction Design tool powered by the latest version of React (there are other tools, but this is the only one with a welcoming and growing community behind).

    I use Framer X extensively. Most days I loved it. Some days I feel frustrated by the current state of the tool. But the team has a very intense release cycle (shipping new things every 2 weeks), I can see how it's getting better.

    But to be honest with you, in the process of using Framer X, I learn React, I re-learned frontend and styling techniques with CSS, Styled Components and Emotion. I evolved myself into designing with interactive data states... and I improved my understanding of how to design stuff. It has been a very rewarding journey so far.

    If you felt the need to explore and get into the weeds of transitions, motion design, you might enjoy it.

    Somebody on Twitter said today that interaction design is the evolution of what we know and do as designers. Any (static) design tool is actively moving towards that.

    But if you don't feel adventurous enough, maybe you should wait a couple of months until they share their next big release (I promise you, it's gonna be awesome).

    5 points
    • , 24 days ago

      Thanks for the great response. I think you're spot on with what I'm often frustrated with in static design tools. It's hard to imagine interactions and fake them without something that can represent several different states and transitions. I'll keep my eyes open for the next big release ;)

      0 points
  • Fernando Lins, 27 days ago

    I know some guy at EA who use it for prototyping game UI (Battlefield and what-not) and that's pretty much it.

    4 points
  • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 25 days ago

    It has some great ideas, but is still too reliant on React.

    I must sound like a broken record about this but I think Modulz is approaching this from a much better perspective in terms of a design tool built on actual HTML and CSS rendering.

    I don't think Figma and Sketch realize how hard it is going to be for them to catch up when a tool can do basic things like have a button resize based on its content without a brittle plugin. Also you will get much better dev handoff out of the box with a tool based on HTML and CSS, so Framer X has that going for it already.

    1 point
    • , 25 days ago

      I came across Modulz for the first time the other day. Do you have early access? If yes, what do you think?

      HTML / CSS is a much lower barrier for entry. I don't do much frontend these days, but that's a lot easier for me than trying to learn React.

      0 points
      • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 25 days ago

        I don't have early access, but I've been following the development closely and I like the way the creators are approaching it.

        I agree HTML and CSS are much lower barriers to entry, and nothing guarantees React is here to stay (looks over React's shoulder at Svelte meme).

        The one thing tools built on HTML and CSS can't do as well as custom rendering tools like Figma and Sketch is render many pages or artboards at once. That being said I think that's ok as long as switching between pages and page states is easy.

        I'm not looking for a tool that gives me production ready code, but one that lets me actually define the DOM structure and CSS using a GUI and/or straight code so that developer handoff is more accurate, and I get all the benefits of web rendering out of the box like independent borders, box-model, flex/grid, etc.

        1 point
  • Mike AbbotMike Abbot, 26 days ago

    I think is much better if you learn some frontend tools. Framer has a steep learning curve and you would be much better off learn Swift for example.

    1 point
  • Nick MNick M, 25 days ago

    I have a license and have been revisiting it every few months since the initial Alphas, but it is too development-centric to use daily IMO. I had to learn React and TypeScript in order to be able to use it effectively. When using it, I've spent more time creating components and checking functionality than I did designing. It's frustrating to build out a component to a high level of functionality to then find out it's incompatible with your own react-based applications, as well.

    I would say that if you're interested in tools like this and are building for mobile devices, your time is better spent on learning tooling like Expo. At least that way you're building something that can be shipped, vs something that will be thrown away.

    1 point
  • Stefano TirloniStefano Tirloni, 26 days ago

    I'm still using the old one (Framer Classic) just for prototyping.

    1 point
  • Abdul JarallahAbdul Jarallah, 21 days ago

    Great thread and it came at the right time. I've experimented with FramerX on and off in the last two weeks. I gotta say 14-day free trial is not enough to make a decision on using this week unless you plan you free trail period right.

    My current setup is using Sketch + Abstract + Marvel. Sketch for designing, Abstract for version control and Marvel for sharing prototypes. It's likely that I'll replace Marvel with Sketch cloud in the near future.

    *Please keep in mind I didn't use it heavily so I might not know some features that exist in FramerX

    Here's my short time experience with FramerX:

    Pros:

    1- The auto-layout feature is amazing, I can build and move elements quickly. I was able to iterate faster than Sketch.

    2- Coding feature is powerful and FX moves away from static and more into the matching how your product will look like in the real world. It match how FlexBox in CSS and StackView in iOS, which I really like.

    Cons:

    1- It lacks some features such as Text Style feature in Sketch. Where in Sketch you can define Typography structure and reuse them. However, in FX I think you can just code that feature and I assume it's a straightforward implementation.

    2- It lacks plugins in Sketch that I heavily rely on. Sketch Runner is a main plugin for more and I hope FX is planning to have it as part of their product.

    3- It lacks resources from the design community so you'll need to figure it out on your own. Meng To course was very useful for the UI aspect of FX. But his coding tutorials are out-of-date since Framer updated their API. https://designcode.io/framer-x-course *Meng just published a new FX course so I'll need to check it out: https://designcode.io/framer-playground-ui-interactions

    4- The learning curve as mentioned in other comments is steep at least for the code components so I'm seeing myself spending more time learning React. I don't mind brushing off my coding skills that I haven't used in long time. I do think you should enjoy coding to enjoy FX.

    5- You can't use their shared components feature unless you pay for their team membership. Even in the free trial membership you can't experiment with it. For me, trying it can help me decide if I want to move from Sketch to FX.

    6- There's no version control such as Abstract for Sketch, so you'll need to rely on Git for that. I could be wrong though.

    I hope this helps!

    1 point
    • , 21 days ago

      Very helpful thanks! I agree, the 14 day trial has stopped me from downloading it several times.

      0 points
      • Abdul JarallahAbdul Jarallah, 21 days ago

        Yeah, I recommend watching FramerX tutorials before starting the trial. Just to have an idea of what you expect etc.

        0 points