Figma – Professional Tools to Design Your Own Website

tutorial on how to use figma to design your website

Figma is one of the most revolutionary website design applications to come out in years. If you’re tired of using cumbersome WYSIWYG programs that leave you frustrated as soon as your design goes beyond the basics, then this is a program for you. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s also very powerful. If you’ve ever used Adobe Illustrator, then you’ll be right at home with this program’s amazing features and logical interface.

What’s Figma?

Figma is an interface design application that runs in the browser. It allows you to create wireframes, mock-ups, and even functional designs.

It’s a cloud-based application that allows multiple designers to work on the same project simultaneously. This collaborative tool will save you a lot of time working with others.

Since the interface is entirely online, your files will always be available and synced. You can even save things offline and pick up where you left off when you’re back online.

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Figma comes with an inbuilt elements library that contains all kinds of shapes, symbols, and icons – even customizable ones like your company logo!

Is Figma Easy to Learn?

It surely is! Figma comes with a well-organized, intuitive interface.

For a beginner, the tool is as intuitive as it gets. The interface is clean and uncluttered. All you need to do is click on the tool that you want to use. You can then draw shapes, resize them or edit any other settings as needed.

Figma is easy to learn, even for those who are not very familiar with design software. All you have to do is push buttons until you get the results you want.

On the other hand, professional UI designers love Figma because it’s feature-rich, seamless, and powerful, with capabilities that elasticize far beyond their expectations.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Figma?

Figma isn’t hard to master. If you’ve ever worked with web design software tools such as Affinity Designer and Sketch, it should only take you a few days to get the hang of this. If you’ve never used design software before, it may take you a little more time to learn the basics, but it will all be smooth sailing after that.

You can speed up the learning process by watching tutorial videos. YouTube has plenty of these. You can also sign up for a Udemy course or check their site for more advanced material.

What You Can Do with Figma

While this software is mainly for web design, it’s also great for creating user interfaces, wireframes, and mobile app prototypes.

Figma comes with a collection of styles and components that you can use to create your designs. You’ll also find hundreds of customizable UI elements, including icons, buttons, and boxes, to name just a few.

Once you’ve created your designs in one project, you can export them as images or HTML/CSS code.

Figma is perfect for creating wireframes, mock-ups, and functional sites/apps for any platform. You can even use it to create print media.

Who Needs Figma?

This web-based application is for anyone who wants to design a website, mobile app, or even print media. It’s perfect for designers of all skill levels, from professional UI/UX designers to amateur enthusiasts. If you want to create unique designs that are miles ahead of your competitors, this is the software you should be using.

Figma’s Features at a Glance

When it comes to website design software, Figma is the best in class. It’s a premium tool with all the features and capabilities of Sketch, Craft, Abstract, Live share, InVision, Freehand, Zeplin, Dropbox, and more.

Here are some of the features the tool boasts:

A Similar Interface to Sketch: It also has all the drawing tools you can find in Adobe XD and Sketch, so you’ll feel right at home.

Prototyping: Figma is a great prototyping tool. It has the visual layout and structure of a website, on top of allowing you to create clickable prototypes that show your users how a web or mobile app will work.

Built-in Commenting: Figma lets you share your design with the team and get their feedback. It even comes with a commenting function that makes collaboration easier than anything on the web. Not only that, you can even integrate it with slack.

Freehand Drawing: This is one of Figma’s most-loved features. It has all the tools you need to create amazing drawings, from sketching to colouring to texturing and more.

Developer Handoff: Developers can get icons, styles, and dimensions from the project link. Think Zeplin, only that you don’t have to sync your artboards whenever you update your designs.

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Grids: This lets you apply a grid to your design. You can even set how many rows and columns you want the grid to have, allowing you to create precise layouts for your designs.

Team Share: Since Figma is platform-agnostic, it’s an excellent choice of tool for internal and external collaboration. Its team share feature lets you get real-time feedback from your peers.

Version Control: Figma has a version control feature that lets you revert to a previous version of your design. You can even incorporate changes from one version to another.

Live share: This feature lets you share your design with other users in real-time. They can even draw on it or make necessary changes as you watch and chat them up.

Components: Figma comes with a library of customizable components that you can use to build unique designs, including dozens of UI elements and Material Design guidelines.

Styling: You can style your components with colours, gradients, and shadows. You can even use spacing modifiers to ensure each design element is placed in the right spot.

Export Functionality: The tool lets you export your designs as PNG files or HTML/CSS code snippets (with the help of a plugin). Not only that, but you can also send the designs to Sketch or Photoshop for further editing.

Constraints: You can set constraints for elements, which will work just like the constraints in Sketch. It’s an excellent feature that lets you create precise layouts for your designs.

Project Link: This feature lets you share files across different devices. You can even attach comments to specific parts of your design, which comes in handy when you’re working on a web or mobile application.

Object Styles: This feature works just like the Styles in Sketch. It lets you apply a style to multiple shapes or components simultaneously, significantly speeding up your workflow.

Team Libraries: This feature lets you drop and sync external assets to your library. It gives you access to an infinite repository of objects, so you never have to start from scratch when building new designs.

UI Kits: If Sketch’s UI kit isn’t enough for you, Figma has its own set of customizable components you can use for a more personalized design.

Shape Modifiers: This excellent feature lets you create varying shapes from basic polygons and ellipses to advanced curves and stars. You can even tweak the fill, stroke, shape type, and colour with just a few clicks.

What Sets Figma Apart from Other Premium Design Tools?

First off, unlike its alternative, most of which are only available on specific operating systems (OS), Figma is web-based. That means it works no matter what OS your computer uses. Figma’s main competitors are Sketch and Adobe XD.

They both have their own sets of pros and cons, and it would be unfair to compare them against each other since they all serve different needs. While Sketch is ideal for designing visuals, Figma provides everything you need to create functional prototypes. On the other hand, Adobe XD focuses on providing solutions for wireframing and application prototyping.

Comparison Table: Figma vs. Sketch vs. Adobe XD

Comparison Parameters Figma Sketch Adobe XD
Price Free for small teams Free Starting at $99 per year
Supported OS Web-based application

 

OS-dependent–Mac and Windows OS-dependent — Mac Only
Pages

 

Can Separate by Pages Can Separate by Pages All artboards appear on one page
Prototype It comes with a built-in plugin for this It comes with a built-in plugin for this You have to download a plugin for this
Plugins Yes Yes Yes, but not as many as Sketch or Figma
Simultaneous Collaborations Yes Allows you to collaborate with others, just not at the same time No
Grid and Layouts Allowed to add as many as you want You have to choose between a grid or column layout Allowed to add as many as you can
Repeat Grid No, but you can download a plugin for it Yes You have to download a plugin for it (such as Craft)
Edit and master component Yes Yes Yes
Work Offline No Yes Yes

Why Should You Use Figma?

On to the cool stuff…

Figma is more than just a web-based alternative for Sketch and Adobe XD. It’s a more advanced web design tool packed with powerful features that let you do things Sketch and Adobe XD can’t—such as manipulating your designs based on real data, prototyping functional animations in seconds, and designing your own custom UI components without laying down a single line of code.

There’s more we can cover in this section of the article, but we’ll only be focusing on four ways in which Figma can help you improve your work:

Iterate Faster with Real-time Collaboration

Figma allows you to design a review, make necessary changes on the fly, and get instant feedback on the changes you make. You can even conduct real-time group collaboration so multiple people can work on the same design document simultaneously.

The iterations in Figma happen in real-time. You can see your colleagues typing, or they can even watch you draw and think of improving the design.

You don’t have to waste time uploading, syncing, or generating share links. Iterations take place seamlessly in Figma and much faster than any other tool on the market.

Below are some real-life scenarios likely to slow down your work process and even make it more tedious and frustrating. Luckily for you, Figma is here to make all these problems go away:

  • When you use Craft to sync a complex, multi-screen prototype design to InVision, you realize everything is jumbled up and that you have to spend an hour or so trying to rearrange them in their right sequential order.
  • After syncing your screens to InVision, you realize the spacing isn’t right and that you have to go back to the design file to make the changes and re-sync the screens again.
  • A member of your time who happens to be in a different time zone forgets to upload their latest work, so you have to wait until they’re back online to access what they have done.
  • A tool updates and all third-party plugins break, wasting your many hours of work.

It’s safe to say that Figma eliminates all these problems and more. From real-time collaboration to data prototyping and functional animations, Figma lets you work faster than ever before.

Make Your Design Process More Inclusive and Seamless

Figma will transform your design file into a venue where you and your team can discuss changes and issues before they happen. That means designers can work in parallel and get things done faster and more efficiently.

Figma is a great tool for designers who want to communicate their ideas most clearly and succinctly while also providing ample room for feedback at every stage of the design process. It allows you to involve other team members to contribute to and provide valuable insight about your work as it happens.

In other words, designers, project managers, and any other stakeholder with a link will get to see how the project is unfolding from an idea to a more polished visual rather than waiting for the big reveal at the end.

This way, everyone can poke holes in your ideas and offer solutions that can potentially improve things before they happen instead of waiting until it’s too late.

Your Transition from Design to Code is Likely to be Faster and More Consistent

Figma makes it easy for you to structure your designs in a way that makes it easy for developers to code them.

First, you have to know how Figma works to understand why this is the case.

Instead of using an artboard, Figma uses frames. Frames are like artboards, but there’s a fundamental difference — frames allow you to nest frames inside frames. When you nest a small frame over a larger frame, the two frames are automatically grouped, with the smaller frame becoming a child of the larger, oversized frame.

What that means is that nested frames make it easy for developers to create a hierarchy. It also comes in handy when you want to animate the UI of your project — smaller layers can be animated with bigger ones and all without importing or exporting any file.

Of course, it’s going to take you a while before you get familiar with this workflow. But once you do, it’ll come in handy during the handoff stage and help speed up the process of moving designs to code.

Frames are helpful to developers because they’re akin to containers in HTML. When developers inspect a UI design in Figma, they can easily visualize the code because everything is clearly labeled. With Figma, devs will better understand what each design entails and where things are to be found. In other words, they’ll have a clearly-labeled blueprint to refer to should they get stuck or confused.

Your Design System Will be More Flexible and Easier to Work with and Manage

Where Sketch uses symbols, Figma uses components.

So, what’s the difference?

Well, components are more flexible and easier to work with and manage. You can do more with only less of them. You can also reuse them without breaking them or starting from scratch.

Let’s take a closer look.

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In Sketch, a button symbol can only be a single size and dimension. In Figma, a button component has multiple sizes and variations to choose from.

Another major difference between symbols and components is the way you use them. If you want to reuse a symbol in Sketch, all you have to do is open up your library panel, click on the symbol, and drag it elsewhere. But if you want to use multiple copies of that symbol, you have to edit the original one or create a new version of it on its own.

Components are more flexible in this regard — they allow you to generate multiple instances of any component without going through the trouble of editing the source file.

Must You Learn UI Design or How to Code to Use Figma?

You don’t have to know how to code or be a UI designer. You just need to know some basic design principles, and Figma will help you bring your idea to life.

It can be complicated at first, but there are tutorials out there that can guide you in the right direction.

It does, however, help to understand the principles of design before you begin your work. For one, you’ll find Figma easier to use. Two, there might be times when you need to consult someone on how something should work or look like, so having a base knowledge can be helpful in that regard.

Will Figma Change the Way You Design?

Yes, it will.

As we mentioned earlier, Figma has gone beyond what Sketch can do by finding a way to simplify the web design process. Since developers can understand your designs more quickly and efficiently, working with them should be a breeze.

And although Figma has its limitations, it’s one of the best prototyping tools you can find. So, if you want to give it a try, then go ahead and do so by all means. Just be sure that you have time to familiarize yourself with its workflow before deciding whether or not it works for you.

What’s the Best Way to Learn Figma?

The best way to learn Figma would be to watch tutorial videos. Several YouTube channels do a great job breaking down this UI design tool and showing designers how to use it effectively.

It would be best if you also considered signing up for their education program. It’s a two-year free plan that lets you take full advantage of all the platform’s features.

You’ll also get to enjoy working on an unlimited number of projects, on top of giving you unlimited access to editors and viewers.

You can also join communities and find people to collaborate with and work on a few projects together.

Be sure also to check out the resources on their website.

Beginners will also find Udemy and Skillshare courses helpful. You can find an elaborate course that will take you from the basics to more advanced topics for a small fee.

So, What’s the Catch?

Figma is not without its limitations. It costs money (there’s a free option but limits you to three projects at a time), but it also requires you to update your membership every month.

It may be difficult for someone who isn’t familiar with how web design works.

Figma is also complicated at first, so there might be a bit of a learning curve. But once you get the hang of things, designing with Figma should be easy and fun.

Can You Use Figma for Graphics Design?

Sure, you can use it for graphics design. After all, Figma is a graphic vector editor design tool used in a variety of industries.

From web design, UI design, UX design to graphic art and illustration, Figma is something you want to get familiar with.

Figma contains all the elements you need to create beautiful logos, social media posts, and more. It also gives you the flexibility of using your preferred font, so your work will look better overall.

They have an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that lets you create beautiful designs even if you’re not strong in graphic design.

Since Figma is vector-based, it’s also great for scaling your designs without losing quality. In other words, you can easily resize your images to almost any size without getting them pixilated.

With Figma, creating graphics is fast and fun. And if you’re just starting out, then you should definitely consider using this tool to hone your skills before moving on to more advanced software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Is there a Desktop Version of Figma?

Figma is predominantly web-based, but they have a desktop app.

You can get it for Mac and Windows, so your workflow won’t be interrupted when you’re working offline.

This leads us to the next question, which is better, between the Figma desktop app and Figma Online Version?

We’ll try to make it clear here.

We are talking about two different versions of the same tool. The online version is accessible from any browser and doesn’t require installation or download to your computer. Just register and start working.

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The desktop version, on the other hand, is downloadable. You’ll need to install it before using it on your computer. It comes with a few added functionalities, too.

How to Download Figma Desktop App?

You first need to visit Figma’s official website and sign up. Be sure to verify your email address before you proceed.

Next, scroll to the bottom of the page to find the download link or follow this link https://www.figma.com/downloads/.

Under Desktop App, choose the version you want to download depending on the operating system you’re using (Mac or Window).

Double-click on the download link and your download should start.

Once done, you can go ahead and find the downloaded file on your computer and proceed to install it. Figma will be added to your applications list.

You can now launch the application from there or pin it to your taskbar for easy access.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Figma Desktop and Online Version

Confused about whether to download and install Figma on your computer or to use it online?

Here’s the breakdown

Desktop Version

Advantages:

You Don’t Need an Active Internet Connection to Use It: If you’re always working offline, then the desktop version is perfect for you.

More Editing Options: Only a few Figma plugins can only work with the desktop version — like Slack Integration, for example.

You can do all your work offline and switch back to Figma online when you’re ready to publish your design.

Disadvantages:

You Cannot Collaborate with Other Team Members and Get Real-time Feedback from them: It doesn’t have real-time collaboration features that the online version has. It also does not show whether or not your team members are active online.

You cannot get real-time feedback on your design.

Online Version

Advantages

You can Collaborate with Developers and Other Designers on the Same File Simultaneously: The online version has real-time collaboration features that allow you to work with your team members.

It comes loaded with plugins, features, and integration with other apps: All you need to do is search and install the plugin you need for your design process.

Easy to Share Files: File sharing is a snap. You don’t have to upload anything or create a new email.  You just need to provide the necessary information and share the link with anyone you want.

Disadvantages:

You Cannot Work Offline: The online version isn’t for you if you don’t have an active internet connection.

There Might be a Little Latency When Working: It takes a little bit of time for the changes you make to sync with everyone on the team.

Which One Should You Use?

If you’re new to Figma, then start with the online version. No doubt about that.

It’s easier to learn and overall, an incredible experience. The desktop app might come in handy when you’re working offline.

Or you can switch between the two whenever you want, or depending on your needs at any given moment.

Pricing

Like most other design tools, Figma has three pricing plans: A free plan and two paid plans to choose from.

The free plan lets you try the tool for as long as you want, but it’s limited to three projects. It also has no real-time collaboration features.

The paid plans are for teams of designers, developers, or marketers who need to collaborate on files all the time.

For businesses, pricing starts at $12/user/month. This plan is free for education and students.

For their organization plan, pricing starts at $45/user/month.

For more information, visit their pricing page at https://www.figma.com/pricing.

Figma to Code: You can Convert Your Figma Designs to Code

Figma is an excellent web design tool, boasting an incredible interface. It allows you to focus more on your design instead of wasting time trying to figure out the tool.

But that’s not all it can do. You can also use Figma to design your website and quickly convert the design into a website or mobile app with the help of a plugin.

That said, let’s explore a few ways to export your Figma design into code (XML, flutter, CSS, HTML, and even Swift).

i.              Figma Inspect

Figma Inspect is a built-in Sigma feature that lets you convert your design elements into code. You can use it to convert your design into XML (Android), HTML/CSS (for a web application, and Swift (from an iOS app).

After opening the file in Figma, click on Inspect, and you’ll see a few options pop up.

ii.            Figma to Flutter

Figma to Flutter is a third-party plugin that can convert your Figma designs into Android and iOS apps.

iii.          Swift UI Inspector

Another plugin that can convert your Figma designs into iOS apps is the free Swift UI Inspector.

iv.          Figma Export

You can use third-party tools to export your designs to code.  You have an endless list of options when it comes to this:

  • Supernova Studio: Supernova Studio is a third-party tool that lets you convert your design elements into HTML/CSS for the web, XML for Android, or Swift/Objective-C for iOS.

Note that this tool works with any design, not just Figma designs.

  • Bravo Studio

Another third-party tool is Bravo Studio, which lets you turn your designs into code without writing a single line of code.

Final Thoughts

To Summarize, Figma is a popular tool that’s growing in popularity. It has a lot of great features that web designers love.

You can download it on your computer to use offline, or you can use it online for collaboration with other team members. And the best part is that both versions are very similar in terms of features.

You should try it out if you’re looking for a great web design solution to create mock-ups, prototypes, and more.

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