AMA: Figma 2.0

1 month ago from , CEO at Figma

Hey DN, I’m Dylan, CEO of Figma. You may have seen our Figma 2.0 news (https://blog.figma.com/figma-2-0-now-with-prototyping-and-developer-handoff-1b309a5d025c) earlier this week, which updated our design and collaboration tool to include prototyping and developer hand off. We enjoyed the Designer News debate on the new features Tuesday, and wanted to hold an AMA to answer any burning questions you still have.

In case you missed the news entirely, here are the highlights:

  • In Figma the prototype is the design file, so it never goes out of date. As you make changes to your files, they’ll be reflected in real time in your presentations… no exporting necessary.
  • You can tweak frames or add screens to prototypes in real time while others watch. We’re already finding this hugely helpful in design critiques at Figma.
  • No need for endless versioning…or the crazy naming conventions that other tools require to order your artboards (good-bye artboard 1, artboard a1, artboard a1b, artboard a1bcdefgahhhhhfuckthis).
  • My new fav: You can navigate presentations from your phone. Any designers who dream of strolling the conference room like you’re giving a TED talk, this is your moment.
  • You can use components (symbols) with hot spots, so when you set a navigation from a component once, it will populate through all instances
  • Developers can access Developer Handoff tools in “view-only” mode, which means (1) they won’t accidentally mess up design files and (2) Figma teams do not have to pay for them to access!

You can create a Figma file for free at figma.com. Questions? Hit me! I'll be around from 9-11 AM PST, and our team will answer some questions after that as well.

49 comments

  • Joacim NilssonJoacim Nilsson, 1 month ago

    First (I like Figma)

    24 points
  • Pablo StanleyPablo Stanley, 1 month ago

    I'm loving Figma! The collaboration part is winning me over. Some quick questions

    • Any chance you're adding simple transitions between artboards on the prototyping part?
    • Any plan on opening up Figma to allow developers to create plugins?
    • Other than Figma, which other design tool or app do you love?
    • Favorite type of ice cream?
    • Useless talent?

    You can limit yourself to only answer the first two questions, lol

    10 points
    • Andrew RichardsonAndrew Richardson, 1 month ago

      Overlay option would be great as well. Maintaining multiple artboards that are 90% the same and only small things change state is a bit tedious. It'd be nice to make smaller artboards for specific elements to change when interacted with.

      3 points
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Ha, good questions!

      1. We've heard a lot of requests for this since launching 2.0 and it's something the team is talking about! Stay tuned!
      2. Currently exploring a variety of ways to build on top of Figma. We're biased towards building a web API first to get data out of Figma which we think would unlock a bunch of awesome use cases. If you would be interested in developing on top of a Figma API, ping me! [my first name] @ figma.com.
      3. One app that has changed my life is https://www.getspar.com/. Basically it helps you get motivated to build new habits through mechanisms like social accountability, competition and loss aversion. It made me go from a sedentary lifestyle to marathon training.
      4. Definitely my mom's homemade blackberry ice cream :) I grew up in Northern California where there are a lot of wild blackberries and I love this time of year because I associate it with picking blackberries and making pie / ice cream.
      5. We just had a "variety show" (talent optional) at Figma. Was super fun and it was amazing to see how much talent there was on the Figma team! This year I had a small solo (just a few measures) and I think I sort of convinced the team I could sing :)
      6 points
      • Pablo StanleyPablo Stanley, 1 month ago

        Thanks for answering, Dylan! Really appreciate it :) Great to see you're working on an API! And I'm sure your voice is lovely, lol.

        2 points
  • Andrew RichardsonAndrew Richardson, 1 month ago

    Are there plans for an offline mode? I love Figma and using it connected is fantastic but if I want to get some work done while at an airport with poor wifi or on a road trip is basically out of the question, I'd have to rely on Sketch. A offline mode where I can make changes and publish them when I get connected would be great.

    9 points
    • Johnny Rodriguez, 1 month ago

      Agree with this! My first 2 days using Figma happened to be traveling to and from two airports and that was my immediate concern. Would love to see something like this.

      1 point
    • Thomas Lowry, 1 month ago

      I used Figma on a trip and started working on wifi...got on the plane where I did not, and the software seemed to keep working and sync fine when I had wifi again. Did I discover some black magic? Probably only worked because I already had the file loaded. Interested in Dylan's answer as well!

      0 points
      • Andrew RichardsonAndrew Richardson, 1 month ago

        I haven't actually tested it extensively. Does it work if you start it up without connection?

        0 points
        • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

          Nope, that doesn't work yet — and is what I'd consider a true offline mode. Right now if you go offline while using Figma you should be able to do work but the file won't be saving. When you reconnect, we attempt to save the file. However, just because it should work this way doesn't mean it's something we've spent a lot of time supporting, so I don't recommend it because it's possible to lose work.

          1 point
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Hey Andrew, we definitely can and want to do offline mode someday. We're a small startup, so we have to pick our battles and this isn't something we are currently working on. As the only tool that works online, we've chosen to invest in making that area of Figma better.

      9 points
  • Evan CancelliereEvan Cancelliere, 1 month ago

    Hi Dylan,

    With a strong background in development, I feel that I'm in a unique position to 'design in code', and often choose to build prototypes with real development tools instead of design tools such as Sketch, Framer, or Figma.

    My hypothesis has become that a design made with real code will always be stronger in it's essence than one built on a canvas, albeit with weaker visuals.

    What are your opinions or thoughts on 'designing in code'?

    9 points
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Good question, and one I think about a lot.

      Personally, I don't see this as an "either or" proposition. Designers should pick whatever tool is best for the job. Long term, I see lots more designers using code as a tool, and I think we will see developers starting to do more work that today we might call "design" as well.

      One interesting trend I've noticed is that design is often used for communication of ideas. I think Figma is great for this because it's so lightweight; this is something I don't think will move to code anytime soon.

      I think it's great for designers to push engineers and vice versa; code is powerful but can also be limiting, especially if it reinforces existing constraints. Some of the best design work we've done at Figma (ex: vector networks) has been the result of designers and engineers working in close pairs and building off each other's ideas.

      8 points
  • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

    Hey everyone, thanks for all the great questions! I'm signing off now but the Figma team will check back throughout the day in case there are more questions.

    Thanks for using Figma and feel free to write us via Intercom (bottom right hand corner of the tool) any time. I sit with our support team and always have my eyes / ears on the feedback coming in. Your feedback and questions directly impact our product roadmap! Can't thank you all enough for your support and trust.

    9 points
  • Mitch Malone, 1 month ago

    Hi Dylan!

    I'd like to ask you about the new developer hand off feature you guys released recently. I'm surprised to see that kind of product to be honest. It challenges two assumptions I have about a strong design environment: inclusivity and iterative cycles.

    A hand off implies that the design work happens just with the designers and in a more "waterfall" development cycle. If everyone works together (inclusively) handoffs don't really happen. And if the design is handed off, it implies there are discrete phases or segments that the work passes through. Based in my experience, the industry is seeing less of this style of work.

    So I wanted to ask you if you're seeing a shift back to this style of work and do you think it's how products should be made?

    Thanks!

    3 points
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Hey Mitch, thanks for the thoughtful question.

      Figma is designed to work for various workflows and teams. While some engineers are comfortable going into design files and interacting with the full Figma UI, others fear they are going to mess something up. Sometimes designers want to make sure their files are not changed. For these reasons, we wanted to make sure our view only mode worked for engineers. Our existing view only mode did not have any way to get information out of the file, which is what prompted the creation of our dev handoff features.

      I don't think we are going back to "waterfall" development and the term "developer handoff" is not meant to imply a way of working. I agree with your assessment that the industry is moving away from siloed work patterns and towards more collaborative, inclusive cylces.

      So in conclusion: agree with your assumptions. This is the next step for the Figma product because it solves a real problem that a lot of users have and I don't think the feature is in conflict with your assumptions.

      2 points
  • Thomas Lowry, 1 month ago

    I've heard rumbling that there is an API planned for some Figma integrations or add ons. I don't know what your vision is, but if it is plugins, is there a plan to enforce some quality control or some sort of "Figma approved" centralized place to add them? One of my biggest turn-offs with Sketch's plugin system is the varying quality of plugins, there is no adherence to design them to any UI or UX standards (they don't blend in well with the UI or feel integrated), and some of them aren't tested to work in newer versions.

    3 points
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Loving all the questions about plugins / add ons. Like I said in my response to another question, we're not going to roll out a plugin system until we know we can support in for the long term. We are looking into a web API that will let you get data out of Figma, though. If you are interested in this, please let me know!

      5 points
      • Thomas Lowry, 1 month ago

        Happy that Figma isn't rushing into this for the reasons you mentioned.

        2 points
      • Jonathan SimcoeJonathan Simcoe, 1 month ago

        Very interested in this. Also we would love to have tools to help create more semantic versioning (a la Abstract) as we often need code releases tested against live Figma files whil we are already working on the latest version.

        1 point
  • alfa treze, 1 month ago

    I was very happily surprised to fire up Figma and discover I can now prototype :D. So long my Invision friend :P... But only for the very simple stuff so far. I'd love to see the ability to have fixed areas (top menu, bottom menu, sidebar, etc.). So I can make my long pages of content and still have a menu at hand. Also the ability to trigger the visibility of an element (maybe some of it's children too!). These two features would cover a large number of use cases for prototyping. I do agree that for animation will will be best served elsewhere.

    As for collaboration, building on a previous comment, I would love to see a way to mark or name a specific history view and share that one. This allows me to share with clients while I keep working and not worry about breaking stuff. ATM I just copy the file and send that one for review. It works, although I then have a bit more trouble to manage comments. It's not quite final1a, final 1axys, but rather client review/date... Also would it be possible to have links for clients that to not require having to register?

    I'm always eager to know what the figma updates bring up and do frequently visit site just for that, so maybe there's a fair number of people that would love to get a small notification in app on the new goodies ;)

    A big thanks to the entire team for the great tool.

    2 points
  • David Steelcart, 1 month ago

    What's your day to day like as CEO of figma? Are you still designing things?

    2 points
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Hey, David! I'm not assigned to any engineering or design tasks currently. I'm proud to have hired a design + engineering team that is WAY stronger than me :)

      Don't get me wrong — I give strong feedback when it's important and try to steer things in the right direction — but I don't think I'd pass our current design / engineering hiring bar.

      In terms of my day to day, it's pretty varied. Things you might find me spending time on in a given day: supporting the team on various ongoing product efforts, talking with customers in person or via Intercom, making sure everyone at Figma knows (and is bought into) what's going on and LOTS of recruiting: https://www.figma.com/careers if you are interested!

      6 points
  • Johnny Rodriguez, 1 month ago
    1. Do you think Figma will ever have more complex prototyping capabilities built in?
    2. Any estimates for how much the Enterprise version of Figma will be (Coming 2018)?
    3. One reason for my hesitation to switch to Figma is the lack of plugins and integrations. Do you imagine Figma having a plugin community similar to Sketch?

    I know that Figma may be the future of design for me and my design team, but would love to get more insight! I think it's amazing what you guys are doing btw!

    2 points
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Hi, Johnny! Thanks for your kind words about Figma.

      1. Right now we are more focused on basic prototyping. We did a bunch of user research before building out prototyping and concluded that the majority of people don't need advanced motion graphics functionality. For when they do need it, we integrate with Framer, which I think is a great prototyping tool.

      2. We're very much in requirements gathering mode for enterprise right now. We've learned that we're in a great place for security but there are other areas (ex: org wide administration) that we haven't thought a lot about yet. The enterprise interest definitely caught us by surprise; we didn't expect customers like Microsoft, Walgreens, PWC etc to be using Figma this soon! Once we understand enterprise requirements more we'll be thoughtful about a pricing model that makes sense for larger organizations and is easy for them to manage.

      3. We're more focused on integrations than plugins right now. Starting to build out a web API that will let other services get data out of Figma. We don't take building integrations / plugin systems lightly... stability, robustness and sound engineering are super important to our team, so you won't see us roll something out until we are confident we can support a system like this long term.

      2 points
  • Antonia A., 1 month ago

    I would love to make a switch, so far we won't see plugins in any near future do switch is out of a question. I love modular workflow, will you have something like dropdowns when a symbol has a symbol (nested symbols in Sketch) so we can use ie a different icon? Also, when I use Figma (in Chrome) with an external monitor (27") on a MacBook Pro with only 8GB of RAM it is useless as Sketch. How to speed it up?

    2 points
  • Thomas Lowry, 1 month ago

    There are some good workarounds to nest components within components to give you the ability to have instances of nested components. Is there any plan to have the option to nest components from within the UI so it is more obvious/easier/faster? One of the Sketch features I really like is being able to select the symbols from a drop down and have them sorted based on naming convention.

    1 point
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      It's clearly an important use case for components. We've received a lot of good feedback around the ability to manage 'state' in Figma via component overrides. I think this points to a deeper user problem, which we're currently exploring.

      1 point
    • Ryan CarterRyan Carter, 1 month ago

      What are some of the workarounds you use?

      1 point
  • David ThornDavid Thorn, 1 month ago
    1. Are there any ideas or plans to enable the ability to design with data in Figma? (Would this fall under potential API?)

    Sketch, Craft, and JSON plugins have proven half useful in the past, and have left me making the decision to either manually make tables with all appropriate values, or filling with dummy data that makes no sense in context (for example, making a mockup of a bill, all line items should add up and multiply realistically when trying to show how one value impacts another). This turned to me just mocking data up in browser, showing visual styles as mockups, and having code and design not quite in sync.

    1. Any thoughts on graphing features? Illustrator, while broken, allowed me to use data and graph for mockups fairly easily, rather than using graphing software or mocking up with a chart library on the web.(minus some obnoxious process requirements to keep the styling in check).

    Granted, I have historically worked with complex and detailed data. This has led to the exact separation of tools that Figma is trying to solve, albeit for an edge-case.

    1 point
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      In the near term (next few months), I don't think design with data would fall under an API because we're more focused on getting data out of Figma right now. We do have a team internally that is working on all sort of neat interface design features. Right now they are focused on components, but I'll send them this comment and recommend they reach out to you when we start to explore designing with data more.

      2 points
  • Sagi ShrieberSagi Shrieber, 1 month ago

    First of all - I wanted to thank you for putting an awesome tool out in to the world. I am currently a heavy Sketch user, but been totally following Figma closely and waiting to see if it makes me switch.

    My question to you is: Is Figma going to release any sort of API or open plugin community like Sketch has done? It seems like that's something that a lot of designers would love.

    Thanks again! Sagi (from Hacking UI)

    1 point
    • Topher Hammond, 1 month ago

      Hey Sagi! Dylan responded to this in the above comments: We're more focused on integrations than plugins right now. Starting to build out a web API that will let other services get data out of Figma. We don't take building integrations / plugin systems lightly... stability, robustness and sound engineering are super important to our team, so you won't see us roll something out until we are confident we can support a system like this long term.

      0 points
  • Johan Ronsse, 1 month ago

    First of all, love Figma, wonder why not more teams are using it.

    I have 2 questions,

    1, is there some plan for a lockdown mode where the document gets locked to a certain state? Realtime collaboration is nice, but sometimes I feel a bit limited in my creativity when I see that 4 people from the client team have my file open (for example for dev or product management reference).

    2, what I worry about is the longevity of my files. Can I still open my Figma files in 2022? What if I don't pay for Figma anymore and I want to open a design file from 2018? With the software constantly changing there is an inherent risk my old files won't open anymore. The PSD format has been stable for years and I have a lot of faith in being able to open PSD files. How does the Figma team handle this?

    (P.S. I don't really mind paying for a product. I've spent over €15k+ on software the last few years. I need this software to do business. It's the file format longevity I care about)

    1 point
    • Dylan Field, 1 month ago

      Glad to hear you love Figma, Johan!

      1. If you make a file in your drafts folder, no one will see it. Also, you can make your files view only and turn off multiplayer cursors. (Uncheck the "Show Cursors from Other Users" setting.)

      2. Figma will never automatically delete your data unless you specifically request deletion — even if you stop paying. That said, I can totally respect this concern, and to help alleviate it we are working on some ways (ex: an API) to get your data out of Figma.

      2 points
  • Marcel M., 1 month ago

    Big fan of Figma, great time to be alive as a windows user who is doing UI/UX...

    How is your user ratio Win/Mac/in-browser?

    sidenote: I really tried to believe Adobe wouldn't f** up Adobe XD when the first beta came out years ago (but they did...again...haha) :D

    My twin brother is a developer who had to turn my Figma designs into a real product (based on Qt/QML) and he told me the hand-off worked like a charm. :)

    1 point
  • Ktryn Dsrs, 1 month ago

    Any roadmap for the followings?

    • Plugins support like Sketch

    • Full offline editing feature

    1 point
  • Ryan Slama, 1 month ago

    Exciting stuff! I'd love to throw my hat in the ring on support for branching and some basic animations on the segues.

    Do you have any plans to offer PDF export in the future?

    Also, as a current college student, will Figma be recruiting for interns for the summer of 2018?

    1 point
  • Ben Mathes, 1 month ago

    As a programmer that often designs prototypes, I miss VCS branching in Figma. Are there plans to implement branches of design files, or groups of files?

    0 points
    • Dylan FieldDylan Field, 1 month ago

      Fun fact: we actually implemented branching a long time ago when we were in alpha and later removed the feature. The reason we removed it was because it was confusing for a lot of our users. I do think it's a powerful feature and would like to find a way to bring it back someday.

      1 point
      • Ben Mathes, 1 month ago

        Getting the UI right to someone who hasn't worked with branched bodies-of-work is really hard. Even in git-land you see loads of differing opinions on how best to view branches visually.

        One route you might try is opinionated, simplified branching. E.g. one branch per designer, one master, daily flow is rebasing on top of master.

        Kinda like this: https://gist.github.com/17twenty/6733076

        Can probably get 80% of the benefits of branching without the confusion, at least, here's hoping.

        0 points
  • Goran Tomicic, 1 month ago

    Hi Dylan!

    First of all, awesome progress with the app - congrats! I'm loving the new updates!

    My question is: are there plans for updating/adding some more SVG export options later on?

    0 points
  • Showvhick NathShowvhick Nath, 1 month ago

    I love using Figma. External plugin options would be great. Also offline version please.

    0 points