I Switched To Figma

May 5, 2020

I've been using Sketch for my UI work for several years now. I can't say for sure how many years, mainly because I'm terrible at remembering that sort of thing. The point is, when I made the jump to Sketch it was worth every bit of the learning curve that came with it. I finally said goodbye to Photoshop for UI work (at least full page UI work; some components and compositing I still do in Photoshop).

And then came along Figma. And Adobe XD. And InVision Studio. And... others. I tried them all in some way at some point over the last two or so years.

I was rooting (hard) for InVision Studio because it integrated so nicely with their core prototyping tool. But it seems to either have stagnated or they're just slow at getting important features released.

I gave XD a fair shake. And I hated it. I tried to like it, I really did. But I just don't. I don't care if the integration between other Adobe apps is great or that the keyboard shortcuts are similar across apps. I just couldn't get used to it – the UI especially.

And I resisted Figma for a long time purely because it is browser based. Silly reason? Kinda. But enough people, especially designers I hold in high regard, were talking about Figma that I decided I needed to give it a fair shake.

In December I had a small project come up: a one-page website for my soccer team. I decided that was a perfect project to get started with Figma.

The site took a bit longer to design in Figma than it probably would have in Sketch, but that's how learning curves go. I had to get used to the Figma interface and its slightly different keyboard shortcuts.

The result? Going back to Sketch now to open an old file is weird. I love Figma. Here are a few reasons why:

The UI

It took a tiny bit of getting used to, but I dig Figma's UI. (To be clear, I use their downloadable app rather than working in a web browser.) It's not radically different than Sketch or XD or Studio. But what Figma has going for it is that it has the best of all those apps, sprinkled with lots of its own personality, melded into one. And it's super snappy. No bogging down when I have a ton of frames (artboards) or pages or components (symbols).

Prototyping

The #1 thing I really like about InVision Studio is its prototyping. In my opinion, it's the best out there when talking about UI design apps. Sketch's prototyping is subpar, XD's is meh. Figma's prototyping is great. If Figma had keyframing the way Studio does, it would easily come out on top. But that said, for my needs – website and web app UI design – the prototyping in Figma is perfect.

Sharing

My previous Sketch workflow meant using InVision Craft to sync to InVision. Craft allowed for some prototyping in Sketch that would then appear in InVision which I would then share with clients for review. It was an okay workflow; one I got super used to. In Figma, that all happens in one app. Create the design → add interactions (i.e. prototyping) → share. It saves time and just makes things easier overall.

Version Control

When I was using Sketch, I would work on a design, present it to a client, then create a copy and use that for the next round. Sure, I looked into tools like Abstract and Plant but did I really need or want to fork over more money for anotherapp? Figma, on the other hand, has version control built right in. Depending on your account, it saves versions of your files as you work. But you can also add in a specific version manually, say for a 1.0 of a design. That is incredibly handy.

There are a lot more tiny little things that I love about Figma. I'm honestly too lazy to list them all here. Instead, I think it's better to say that if you're curious about it, give it a shot. It's free for up to 3 projects. You don't have much to lose. 😉