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When you’re in Figma 8 hours a day, every click matters. And even small annoyances can have a big impact on your flow. We gathered your feedback and came up with 30 updates to enhance your workflow in Figma. Here are all 30. ⬇️What’s your favorite? https://www.figma.com/community/file/987131792901181457
1/30 First up: a redesigned stroke panel for easier customization of vector objects. Now you can: → Adjust end caps to easily create arrows → Fine-tune the stroke properties of connectors copied and pasted from FigJam
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2/30 Bigger? Smaller? Left? Right? You can now use math operations to adjust properties with a mixed value.
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3/30 Copy as PNG is now available in the browser (it was previously only available in the desktop app). 🎉 Use keyboard shortcut ⌘+Shift+C/Ctrl+Shift+C to do this quickly!
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4/30 Speaking of keyboard shortcuts: you can now hold ⌘/Ctrl while resizing an image to crop it immediately from wherever you are.
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5/30 We’ve also made some improvements to text exporting: → We’ve added an “include bounding box” export setting in the Editor, and corresponding `use_absolute_bounds` setting in the Plugin API → Also, “Contents only” export is now called “Ignore overlapping layers”
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6/30 Let’s talk about the ✏️ tool. You can now select stroke properties before using the pencil tool, so drawing in Figma feels more like putting pen to paper - and doing it after will be remembered.
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6½/30 On a related note, pen tool also remembers its stroke settings for the future. 🔮
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7/30 We’ve also redesigned the cursor hand to be less intrusive, and more delightful. Give it a try! 👋
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8/30 Different tabs, same settings. Preferences are now automatically synced across all tabs you have opened – no need to reload!
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9/30 A second fill added to an object is now a solid fill color, rather than a gradient, making it easier to adjust. 💥
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10/30 Adjusting images now takes one less click. 💪 No need to click on adjustment sliders to start using them - just slide away.
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11/30 You can now close the “Move to project” dialog box quickly by clicking outside of it or pressing Esc.
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12/30 Copying and pasting text with a missing font now activates the global A? missing font icon. 🙌
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13/30 Now when you copy stickies from FigJam to other places as text, the text copied is sorted to match the layout in FigJam.
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14/30 No more searching for missing fonts 👀With the redesigned missing font dialog, just click to see the affected layers.
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15/30 We increased the hit target size for the top menu entry point, making the chevron much easier to click. 🎯
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16/30 If you use a mouse with a middle button, you’re in luck! You can now open selected links using middle-click.
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17/30 Speaking of buttons: our repositioning buttons (like Align To Top) are now active even when you edit text.
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18/30 Let’s talk about links. 🔗 You can now pan over them without being interrupted when you encounter link pop-ups!
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19/30 We’ve also adjusted the size of the selected text background when renaming a file. No more tall, blue rectangle - it’s back to expected height.
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20/30 Figma no longer ignores when you paste an image while text editing. Now, it exits text editing and pastes it, so you can move faster. ✌️
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21/30 Icons in Figma’s layers panel will now update faster to reflect the objects they represent. (organized layers for the win!) ⭐
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22/30 We removed the “+” option for text nodes with mixed styles, allowing you to override them with a new style or color easily.
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23/30 We’ve made things less confusing when using “Z” to zoom by no longer showing the selection rectangle to other people in the file. 😅
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24/30 ATTN Safari users: Scrubbing fields by holding ⌥ and moving your mouse now works in the browser.
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25/30 There is now a hover state for frame presets, making it obvious these are clickable.
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26/30 We fixed how drag handles display on grid property rows.
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27/30 For those moments when you want the right click menu to stick around: it now doesn’t dismiss quite so eagerly on Safari.
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28/30 When you create a new ruler, it will now be automatically selected, so you can nudge it with your keyboard – or delete it if you change your mind.
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29/30 We also resolved an issue with opening the toolbar dropdown in View Only mode.
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30/30 Thanks for sticking with us! Last (but not least), we’ve made the layers panel scroll to find the selected layer when using selection keyboard shortcuts. All updates are live! You can view all 30 updates on the Figma Community: https://www.figma.com/community/file/987131792901181457
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Figma
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Widgets are coming to Chrome on iOS! I designed and implemented them, and can’t wait to see them on your Home Screen 📱🦖 Here's a bit of behind-the-scenes on how we landed on these directions ⬇️
We started out by exploring two general directions: discovery & quick actions.
The team initially felt excited about the discovery-related directions, but was worried that suggesting new contents on the Home Screen would be either too revealing, or not personal enough.
As for the action centric ones, we looked at our existing iOS 13 Today View widgets and decided that it was important for the iOS 14 widget to offer existing shortcuts. However, we didn’t find this layout at home enough to live on the Home Screen (no pun intended...)
We then explored ways to bring more Chrome elements into them, like the tab dividers & shapes, and the Dino game. This process also inspired us to consider what other widgets we could offer that would be both personal and privacy-preserving.
While implementing the final design, we found an opportunity to add some more playfulness into the Dino widget: Dino will only appear when the widget is fully loaded.
What other widgets would you hope to see from Chrome? Let us know what ideas you've got! 🦖
Special thanks to @MartijnvdBroeck for his exploration in the content-focused directions, and @FloresRobles for helping me get familiar with our codebase and git!

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Elvin
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🤩 @figmadesign ' s new white boarding tool, FigJam launches today! I’m glad to be able to contribute in this huge team effort by leading the design of the toolbar. https://figma.com/figjam/ I’ll be updating this thread on some of the process and design details 👇
Figma @figmadesign🚀 Just announced at #Config2021: FigJam. FigJam is a new online whiteboard for teams to ideate and brainstorm together. Check it out: twitter.com
We want FigJam to be the most fun way for teams to collaborate. The goal is to make a toolbar that is delightful, approachable, and most of all efficient to use. Every time you open a FigJam file, you will be greeted by a lovely animation made by @jackiechuichui
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Details matter. It dictates how the overall product is perceived. We put a lot of effort into making sure the icons reflect their latest settings. This provides more context, helping people stay informed. It also keeps the toolbar from appearing boring visually.
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Marker tool’s icon changes between an Expo and Muji pen inspired style based on the selected stroke thickness. To get the transparent blur effect of the ink to display accurately, I paired with @RobbieZhuang to find workarounds that do not break the SVG when exported.
The idea of a docked toolbar initially came from @ryhanhassan 's exploration during a design sprint. Here are some of the overall toolbar iterations as we progressed. Ultimately, we landed on a direction that feels light and doesn’t distract people from their main tasks.
In early stage, I defined each tools’ interaction type and categorize them to gain better clarity on how each tool is best used. Sketching out the interaction patterns helps me stay consistent and intentional on how we want the tool’s icons to look and behave based on their type
The idea of separating draggable vs non-draggable tool’s placement came from @jenny_wen 's riff. Having distinct visual differences between tool types helps set interaction expectations. To minimize cursor travel, tools are arranged by the most used/important from the middle.
One challenge when designing for FigJam is trying to define its own visual language AND making sure the whole product still feels like it's from Figma. While exploring different metaphors for non-draggable icons, @jenny_wen pushed me to be consistent by drawing them in sets.
At Figma, everyone is encouraged to try bold new ideas. Often in a form of remixing each other's work. In the end, it becomes "our ideas" instead of just "mine". This changed the way I view collaboration work forever. Check out @nikolasklein’s talk on Collaborative Creativity
Niko @nikolaskleinFloored by all the feedback I received after yesterday's talk about Collaborative Creativity! Thank you so much!!! ♥️ Quick recap below. The talk was recorded and will be published in a month and here are all the slides: twitter.com
An example of Collaborative Creativity: @willyvvu, our engineer (v talented designer as well) shared his vision for the toolbar during the early design phase. I remember getting super inspired by his ideas and it definitely had an influence to the toolbar we are seeing now.

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keeyen
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As an aside: we've been noticing a great trend in the design community to share discarded past work and iterations off the heels of product launches. We hope to keep doing this, too. Another example of this was @mwichary's mega thread on selection colors:
Marcin Wichary @mwicharyWanted to share a bit of the process of building Selection Colors, a little @figmadesign feature I feel rather (maybe strangely) proud of. (This was originally meant to be a blog post, but the Covid-19 situation is sapping my energy…) twitter.com

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Noah Levin
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You're in a panic. Your launch date is in a week. Your whole team's credibility is riding on your collective ability to make it happen. Leadership is Eye-of-Sauron-ing this project. There's just one problem. You suspect the product sucks. What do you do? A thread 👇 (1/9)
Prior to a launch, saying "Our product sucks" is not what your tired, overworked colleagues want to hear. But if you feel this way, you need to bring it up. Align the team around the launch goals. Ask: "What are we aiming for?" Then frame your concern around that. Ex... (2/9)
"We want to fail fast and get learnings asap" → Are we well set up to get new learnings if we already know so much is broken? "We want to make a big splash and get tons of new users" → Will these new users retain if our product is buggy? (3/9)
Launch should not be an event where you're at the edge of your seat about what happens. Dip your toe in the water first. Ask 10 users to go through your product without prompting. Watch their honest reactions. If they don't have a good experience, you're not ready. (4/9)
The saying goes, choose 2/3—quality, speed, or scope. The first two get lots of airtime while cutting scope is frequently overlooked. If Feature X of Product Y is low-quality, cut it from the launch while continuing to improve it. Not everything needs to ship together. (5/9)
In fact, you can even separate the "launch" announcement from the product being available to users. It's been done many times before by Apple, Tesla, FB, etc. Don't let a "but we have the launch event planned!" persuade you to put a shitty product in front of people. (6/9)
If you're feeling uncertain about the impact of your product but still want to learn, do a soft launch. Put it out in one or two markets. Make it a beta. Everything FB launches now gets tested at a small scale first (learned after many failed big-scale launches.) (7/9)
Yes, concrete dates can rally the team. Yes, setting and hitting deadlines is good discipline. But at the end of the day, launch dates are collective fictions. Rarely will you actually die if you don't hit the line (exception is no $$$ left or winner-take-all dynamics) (8/9)
In the long game, building useful, great experiences is what wins you loyal customers. If you think your product sucks, the "sucking" part is the thing that will ultimately impede your success, not your ability to hit the launch date on time. (9/9)

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Julie Zhuo
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5 ways leaders can support their teams during this time of heightened racial trauma for Asian and Asian-American communities: #StopAsianHate
1) Communicate in a company-wide channel (ex: All-Hands, Slack) that you are paying attention to what’s going on. “I want to acknowledge the increase in hate crime amongst Asian and Asian-American communities as it impacts us all.”
2) Share your emotional response. Remember, vulnerability builds trust. “I am feeling angry and sad about the increase in hate crime amongst Asian and Asian-American communities.”
3) Link to company values. “Now is the time for us to live our values of empathy and connection.”
4) Level up shared identity language. “We must all take responsibility in supporting and hearing the needs of our teammates who are most impacted.”
5) Leverage 1-1s. Ask questions like: How have you been feeling? How can I support you in taking care of yourself this week?”

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drvaneetasandhu

For less experienced designers, the hard part is expanding your scope and narrowing your point of view

For seasoned designers, the hard part is narrowing your scope and expanding your point of view

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Steph Engle

For less experienced designers, the hard part is expanding your scope and narrowing your point of view

For seasoned designers, the hard part is narrowing your scope and expanding your point of view

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A frequent question I get when talking with senior designers: Will my growth as a designer stall if I start managing? There is often a second question underneath that, which is: Will I no longer be respected as a design leader if I can't keep up as a designer? Thread below👇
My short answer to "Will my growth as a designer stall if I manage?" is yes, absolutely, if "designer" is someone who produces design work. Managing a 5-8 ppl team does not leave you time to design. When you don't practice a craft, you should not expect to get better at it.
However... (and this is a BIG however)... What you *can* continue to grow (as both a design manager and a designer) is the following: 1) Your design eye 2) Your design voice
A strong design eye means that others trust you to know what is good. It means your taste is well-honed through extensive study of an area. It means your sense for usability, simplicity and aesthetics is well-developed even at subtle or fine granularities.
Very early in my design career, my manager asked me to review some design portfolios. I sat there, petrified, clicking through dozens of links. I could tell which ones were really bad, but many of the portfolios seemed good! I could not really distinguish between them on quality!
This was because at that time, my design eye was not well developed. I could probably score a design on a 'bad-okay-good' scale, but I could not grasp the differences between what made for 72 versus a 89 on a 100-point scale. I could not tell the exceptional from the merely good.
Developing a well-honed eye is critical for both designers and managers. As a designer, your work is limited by how good your eye is. Your eye can be way better than your work—for many junior designers it is—but the opposite is impossible.
As a manager, you won't be able to hire or support great design talent if your eye can't distinguish a designer who does excellent work from one who does mediocre work.
There are three ways to develop your design eye: 1) Study the craft. Look at hundreds of examples. 2) Read or discuss critical commentary. Talk to the most obsessed people you know on the topic, and they'll help you understand what to look for. 3) Practice by designing.
Even if you don't do 3), your eye can develop through 1 and 2. There exist great movie critics or football coaches who aren't necessarily the best at making movies or playing football.
The next step after honing your design eye is honing your design voice. By this, I mean learning to talk about design work such that you can make it actionably better.
If someone shows you work, and immediately your eye tells you it's not where it needs to be, that's great, but now how will you explain it to that person? Simply saying "This isn't good enough" is not helpful.
A strong design voice will be able to break down the why's and how's. It's the spacing that feels sloppy. It's the type hierarchy that doesn't flow. It's the animation that needs to be tweaked to make the experience snappier.
A master design voice will be able to explain the why's and how's not to just designers, but also to non-designers. They can effectively "translate" what designers care about to what executives, pms, marketers or engineers care about.
I know many brilliant designers who are not always effective at explaining why they feel something works or doesn't work. You can get by without being great at this skill (though you may be less influential in convincing or teaching others).
However, as a design manager, it becomes increasingly critical to know how to talk about design, including with non-designers. Otherwise, you can't be an effective champion for your team.
I'll conclude with one last story. Sometimes, people put me on "best designers" lists. I can definitively say that I am not a "best", or even great designer myself. I have been out of the practice for so long that there are legions of talented folks who will outdesign me any day.
However, I have spent countless hours with some of the best designers in the industry who have helped me continually develop my eye. I can talk about design effectively, which makes me well-suited to supporting and amplifying the talents and perspectives of the design discipline.
Whether you want to grow as a practitioner of design, or a manager of practitioners is a personal choice. I don't believe going the management route makes you less respectable as a design leader. They're different paths, with skills to develop in both. The end.

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Julie Zhuo
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About a year ago I got an email from @jamesruben. After leading product at HQ Trivia, he had an idea for how to use the magic of interactive video to reimagine what screen time could be for kids. Here are some behind-the-scenes moments from making @playhellosaurus:
The idea was to bring the interactive spirit of Sesame Street and Blue's Clues to the touchscreen generation. Here are sketches from one of our first meetings. It's a complete mess, but you can essentially see 90% of the product surface represented here.
A couple days later, I made this little interactive prototype to start to get a feel for how the interactive surface plays together with the video container. Over the next year I would watch a ridiculous amount of Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
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The interactive kids' experience is just one piece: the other half of Hellosaurus is the software toolkit that creators use to turn passive video into immersive, interactive content. Here are some initial wireframes of that tool (it looks very different today!)
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We went on a bit of a Branding Adventure...at one point @pieratt had drawn us a dinosaur, and though it got several new coats of paint, the dino stuck!
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For better or worse, at some point a deck must be made! We made many, many decks! Since then the company has brought on a team of great investors including @gcvp @gsvventures @ShrugCap @Chad_Hurley @zachklein and more.
Pretty soon we had real kids, playing real interactive shows, made by real creators, all using real versions of the software sketched above. 👀
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A few months ago we went hunting for the perfect person to own the product design, brand and future of Hellosaurus full-time. In a stroke of great luck we landed @mrdavenport who started last month and is already off to the races! Feels great to hand off to such capable hands.
The beta version of Hellosaurus launches today: you can learn more at https://www.hellosaurus.com/ ✌️
Special shoutout to @sfranklin_co who I brought in just in time to do a LOT of heavy lifting on the design side to make this possible. 🙌

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Kevin Twohy
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I’m super excited to share what we’ve been working on at Twitter… Fleets! (as in fleeting thoughts) 🚀📷 It’s a new way to join the conversation and express yourself with a visual canvas that only lasts 24 hours.
Twitter @TwitterThat thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah. We have a place for that now—Fleets! Rolling out to everyone starting today. twitter.com
With Fleets we're introducing a new, visual space for you to share raw and unfiltered thoughts. @TwitterResearch uncovered insights that not everyone feels comfortable participating in the public conversation. Fleets is one of our solutions to this problem.
We have been researching, designing and prototyping several ways to tackle this over the last year. What we’re launching today is what resonated with us and people that have been using it so far in Brazil, India, Italy, Japan and South Korea.
With Fleets, everything you create is full-screen and immersive to unlock new ways to approach creative expression. We’re launching with a set of essential tools and will continue embracing Twitter’s raw and authentic culture with future Fleets updates. Stay tuned ⚡️🚀
Fleets was the result of lots of cross-functional collaboration with many teams across Twitter including Research, Design, Product, Product Marketing, Content Strategy, Data Science, QA, Engineering, Health, Legal and Comms. #OneTeam #LoveWhereYouWork
Launching products in a pandemic is a bit different but our digital launch war room isn't bad 🚀 🎉 #fleets

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Paul Stamatiou
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soooo which one did you pick? 👀 if you’re curious, here is a little behind the scenes story time about how this all went down! (thread)👇
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a few things happened last year that, when put together in my brain, kicked this whole thing off: 1️⃣ early in 2019 i made a fun “retro tech” IG effect, desktop96, that ended up being very popular seems like people like that kind of stuff? *takes notes* https://www.instagram.com/ar/413002039441944/
2️⃣ i noticed some apps were starting to take advantage of the iOS API for alternate app icons this part of iOS always felt very underrated to me, and seemed like it would be a lot of fun to try and find a way to integrate it into IG
3️⃣ later on in the beginning of summer, i had a realization that next year would be IG’s 10th birthday! this felt like a rare occasion that could be a great window of opportunity to try and pitch some wild stuff
so eventually these things all clicked together for me, and i started to try and assemble a little informal group of designers and engineers who were also interested in exploring some birthday fun and then... we all promptly forgot about it 🙃
(turns out it is actually really hard to pull off stuff like this when everyone is already busy with their own projects and problems!)
no worries though 😅, we had over a year until the big day! plenty of time to figure it out except (big surprise) it continued to be a pretty busy time for us throughout the year...
fast forward to march 2020 (which now feels like 10 years ago tbh) we had just started working from home and i had a little more free time... “birthday idea” was still on my todo list
i started exploring and i came up with a plan to hide a bunch of easter eggs throughout the app and turn it into a big birthday egg hunt i put together a quick prototype of my first 🥚:
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10 easter eggs for our 10th birthday! fun in theory, but wayyyy too complex and way too big of a project to attempt when we have plenty of more important stuff to be working on it would’ve taken months to execute well, not to mention trying to figure out 9 more eggs to hide 😅
i shared it around to a few ppl, but no one really loved it (probably because it was really complicated and over-designed 🙃) work picked up speed again and the idea was forgotten once more...
2020 continued to be 2020, the world is a mess, work continued to be busy, and suddenly it is the end of august ...which means it was almost september which means there is only a month left to make something happen! 😬
i still felt there was some potential around app icons (especially bringing back some classics). but with only ~4 weeks to go from idea to reality, i needed to cut as much as possible to have any chance. i started over and simplified the birthday game to this:
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okay, this feels reasonable and looks kinda cool but now how can i actually make this happen? i could: 🅰️ try to go through the proper channels and turn it into a legit project 🅱️ attempt to build some organic momentum by posting it internally somewhere visible
normally 🅰️ is the way to go. we’re very intentional with the changes we make, and we always want to make sure that we’re adding things for the right reason (and coordinating across teams). this is a core part of our design process and having time to think and iterate is key!
🅱️ is risky: it requires sharing your small, fragile idea with a v large group of people that many people seeing your idea in progress can be a scary thing as a designer, and its really easy to turn into “too many cooks” and have your idea squashed before it ever has a chance
unfortunately i am extremely short on time… my new prototype feels pretty solid and these changes are fairly isolated from the rest of the app, so i opt for 🅱️ and shoot my shot in our biggest internal instagram group 😬
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luckily the new prototype was a hit with the rest of IG and my yolo plan was successful in creating the momentum i needed within a few hours(‼️), a volunteer group of folks (engineer/PM/content/comms/brand) assembled and we started to explore how we might pull this off
after a bit of iteration and polish and emails, we got the green light from @vishalshahis and @mosseri a few days later then through an incredible effort from our egg crew we managed to make it in before the birthday build cut!
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we flipped the switch and word started to spread... 24 hours later, we saw people change their app icon over 100M times 🤯
it was truly incredible to see such an overwhelmingly positive response from our community! i'm really glad (and amazed) that we were able to pull this off and bring a little extra delight to your homescreen 🤗the end💟 https://www.instagram.com/p/CGVN--TgRHl/
ps huuuuge thanks to the crew at IG who helped make this happen s/o @khiscott @reyner @tweetzhou @Jose_Tuck @haydenkaii @bdotdub @NickyTaras @therealjfrantz @Devi_SN @srsaliba @adampolselli @sephirothang and everyone else i couldn’t fit!

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George Kedenburg III
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You may have seen us launch a new @loom today. Often when these things launch, the process is kept very opaque. Kept hidden behind a lot of slick visuals and aspirational words. We thought It might be fun to try and demystify the process a little. Thread -->
Here, Brand Strategist @BrooksChambers talks about the early stages of the project. Defining the brief, and the brand strategy work that helped frame our brand messaging and core creative idea. https://www.loom.com/share/c375d7dc7a8f45989222f9f1d1e03811
We designed a new logo! The entire team pitched in on that. I'm the one that has the privilege of showing some of that process here: https://www.loom.com/share/007d40257c9145798dcbfbba20033fd6
We really wanted authentic feeling photography and video. Stock images and footage wasn't going to cut it. So art direction wizard @timlampe designed a look and feel for those. https://www.loom.com/share/b2600fce5d5341c59e535b4500a24748
And our Producer Ali Paterson (not on Twitter) brought it all to life. During a pandemic! https://www.loom.com/share/e90d26247bf74ce5907ac769c3b24c61
Our rebrand project was purposefully separated from redesigning our marketing site. That became the first big expression of our new brand. @JudsonCollier gives a little insight into the process of designing the new http://loom.com https://www.loom.com/share/6cba654f52af407cacb2ca54b3a64af0
We also completely redesigned our product. @Twokie_ describes how we applied the new brand to all our product surfaces. https://www.loom.com/share/f65a87c2bf2748d78396f5c0bab0ef4d
Finally, here's @BrooksChambers again to talk about our Voice and Tone guidelines and the thinking and strategy behind them. https://www.loom.com/share/9459355372dd45019e675875d7f892b7
That's it! Obviously there's a ton more to share and we'll continue to do that over the coming weeks / months. I'm truly lucky to get to work with such a humble and talented team and we're looking forward to continuing to open up about our process and what we learn along the way.
One final thing to note is that aside from some motion design help from our friend @brentclouse this was executed 100% by the internal team here at @loom. We have a ton more to do, but for now hope you enjoy discovering the new Loom.
Shout out to EVERYONE on the team. Too many to mention but on design specifically @_brittlayton @thedezzie @BrooksChambers @timlampe @_jessicamcmanus @acacheung @kimw @tonypoor @nodeOne @JudsonCollier

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stewartsc

@rsms @nlevin @figmadesign Simple Figma feature request/concept for Page Divides. ✌️

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@rsms @nlevin @figmadesign Simple Figma feature request/concept for Page Divides. ✌️

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I've heard various people say "References are BS". I actually hadn't done them while hiring at @google or @classpass. But I've been doing them at @figmadesign for ~2.5 years, and I have to say, they've been incredibly helpful if you use them well. Quick thread 👇
1. Ask specific questions. It's not enough to just say, "What are their strengths and weaknesses". You want to get moments, stories, anecdotes. Have a real conversation. If you feel you're getting an answer that's too high level, push more for examples and discourage platitudes.
^ Consider asking something like: “how would you rank them in the top 25 designers you’ve worked with?”. While this can be tricky, it causes them to think more deeply and offer better specificity.
2. Pro-tip: use it as an opportunity to be a better manager for the future candidate! It shouldn't just be about evaluating them or validating a hypothesis. Use this moment to gather great advice from former managers on how to best set them up for success.
^ You'd be amazed how many times when I ask “how can I best support this person?", the references are pleasantly surprised because they'd never been asked that! I've even done references after an offer to make it clear the call is strictly about how to best grow the person
3. If you want to learn more about a specific area you didn't get enough color on during the interview, don't be afraid to ask about it directly. I also encourage you to ask the candidate these things too after the interview over a phone call!
^ Direct conversations can uncover so much about what may have just been nerves during the interview, and also sets up the relationship with the candidate off to a good start about how you would treat them as their manager; ideally with consideration, curiosity, and honesty.
4. Pay attention to subtle cues. Use hesitations as opportunities to dive deeper. People are often worried about being critical. Remind them that you are genuinely interested in what's best for the candidate, and just want to help them be successful.
5. You don't know the full story of the person's last job, so don't over-lean on the references either. Their full potential may just not have been unlocked in certain environments. Be aware of recency bias, and remember to look at the full data set when making a decision.
6. THANK THEM. This person volunteered their time and energy to support another person as a reference. What a beautiful self-less thing for them to do. They didn't have to do it.
7. If you're a candidate, consider REVERSE REFERENCES. Learn about the company through either past-employees, or current ones you didn't meet yet. Learn about the manager by talking to current or prior reports. It's a 2-way street; you deserve to learn more post-interview too!
I’ve got more thoughts on this, but that’s enough for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts too! What do you think of them? Are they BS? Helpful? How can they be improved?

My Notes:

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Noah Levin
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A number of people have asked me recently about how we handle design exercises in our process for hiring product designers @figmadesign, and particularly about how we handle them while remote. Quick thread 👇
First, we don't do take-home exercises. We did ~2 yrs ago in cases where people didn't have enough work in their portfolio, but we've promptly stopped. If @michaelbierut can hire an epic design team for over 29 years from portfolios and 1:1s, why can't we?
Michael Bierut @michaelbierut@iDamianH @NickClement Every designer on my team for the last 29+ years was hired based on their portfolio plus between one and three (maximum) interviews. I find the idea of giving make-believe "exercises" depressing and boring (for me). I guess it's different in the world of button-free oven apps twitter.com
During on-site interviews, we have two different in-person collaborative exercises each with their own unique purpose. Collaborative is a key word here; it shouldn't feel like a test. It should do its best to simulate real world environments (it never truly will, but gotta try)
The 1st exercise is a critique of a product that already exists in the world (usually a website or app, and NOT Figma — we're too close to see that objectively). This helps us see how candidates handle constraints, and how they iterate and improve an existing design.
The 2nd exercise is about taking something that doesn't exist yet, and figuring out ways to clarify it and give it shape together. This helps us see how candidates take something from 0 to 1 so to speak, and how they handle ambiguity in requirements.
These two exercises try to simulate the types of projects people actually work on. You're almost always either iterating on a product with tighter constraints (1 to 2: like @jenny_wen's recent work on search), or inventing new ones (0 to 1: like Heather's work on community).
Regarding how do to this remotely, we simply let the candidate pick the method they're most comfortable with. So far we've seen everything from a Figma file, pencil and paper and holding it up to the camera, thoughts in a google doc, or screen-share with their tool of choice.
As long as they can share their process, and we can follow along somehow, we don't care exactly how it happens. And perhaps most importantly, we give candidates several hours notice so they can set up their environment the way that helps to avoid being caught off-guard.
Another remote-specific tune-up: we remind our interviewers how it can feel really awkward for candidates without typical body language cues. So we encourage each other to lean into the experience and over-communicate to avoid long silences or monologues.
Finally, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. We were lucky enough to have @adispezio volunteer to help us improve these by giving it a test run. We learned a lot from just one practice round, and it felt much better to learn with each other than have candidates be the guinea pigs.
That's it for now! Like everyone, we're still learning, and I'm sure we have a lot to improve… but I hope this is helpful to those of you calibrating your processes to this new environment.
p.s. Not related to design exercises specifically, but for coordinating, we just have 1 zoom link we leave open all day, and have each interviewer jump in and out to give the candidate continuity. We let each other know in slack when to join. We also have two 15 min bio breaks.

My Notes:

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Noah Levin
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The solution was to “freeze” the list when the colour picker was open. Only the moment you closed it, the list would get cleaned up again. (We hoped that people would figure it out.)
0:000:00
I’m vastly oversimplifying what “freezing” was (and honestly, not sure I fully understand it myself). But @SickingJ got it to work, and this enabled trading/swapping colours.
0:000:00
It required quite a bit of thinking and experimenting, though – see a bit of a doc that I wrote out just for the two of us to process this.
We also had to solve a problem of stopping aggressive sorting. Left to its own devices, it was unnerving when your color moved up and down as you were changing it. (This is an earlier exploration where this exact thing happened.)
0:000:00
We also had to solve a problem of you dragging a colour through existing colours – by default, they would automatically get fused together *as you were dragging*, which was logical… but confusing and destructive!
0:000:00
At the same time, we had to think about multiplayer. What if someone else changed the colour during any of the above – even in the middle of your drag? Or deleted the objects? Or edited the text you were changing?
We continued cobbling together the prototype with code we were increasingly sure wouldn’t ever make it to production. If you‘re curious, here are all our commits. (I actually became a better engineer thanks to this process – thanks, @SickingJ!)
Then we brought the prototype back to crit, and we learned a lot once again.
Mostly, our decision to decouple gradient colours was wrong – that’s just not how others thought about gradients.
Second of all, it was annoying that you could select and go deeper into a stack of colours, but not have a way to easily get back.
0:000:00
There were also smaller things. My overflow icons were confusing (one looked like a checkbox), and our triggering was off. (That was a tricky one, too. Imagine you have just one object with the same Fill and Stroke – should SC show up, or would it be too much?)
We decided to build Selection Colors for real a few months later, motivated partly by… Auto Layout. We were planning to change the frames to have fills, and that ruined an existing feature where you could easily colorize an icon just by selecting a parent frame.
I had nothing to do with code any more, save for an occasional UI fix or an icon swap. The real work was done by engineers on our team – @jessieteaa, @thejoannachen, @kenrickrilee.
Immediately, they found some more real-life problems, one of them being performance. (Long story short: If you make a really large selection, we don’t show SC by default, because the list can get overwhelming, and the interactions quite slow.)
BTW here is a random fun screenshot from one of the few bug bashes. (I have tons of temporary Figma files like this. The style names here are particularly hilarious.)
But the biggest challenge was promoting to styles. In our maker-week version, we built this “one-click style creation” – a fun experiment.
0:000:00
In real life, we already had an existing UI for that… but we also had a problem. In Figma, an object can have multiple fills. And a style can have multiple fills. But an object cannot have multiple styles.
If you choose a colour to promote to a style, that colour could also be shared with other colours in some layers. What should we do when that happens?
This was the most “traditional” UI work I did on the project. I collaborated with @thejoannachen and @nikolasklein and @rsms to figure that one out. Here are some explorations.
(The winning main flow came from @rsms and is beautiful in its simplicity.)
We also made a hard decision not to ship this part – and a few other things – in time for Config where SC v1 premiered, giving us a bit of time to get them right.
But as of last week, Selection Colors v2 is now true to its original vision, meticulously crafted to perfection, flawless in every regard!
Just kidding. Of course it’s not. There are a few things I don’t like about it, and I won’t even share them all because it’s too painful. 😬
1. I never figured out how to solve the “go back to master selection” problem. On top of that, the icon is not great – I don’t like anything reminding people of firearms – but we couldn’t think of anything else.
2. I introduced a deliberate inconsistency. In normal use of styles, the pop-up shows on top of selection (nicer for your fingers). But here, we decided to move it aside to be consistent between colours and styles, and to not cover the list you care about.
3. We still have this weird problem illustrated in the screenshots. It turns out, our colour precision is higher than a hex string can afford – these two colours are slightly different, so in a way SC isn’t doing anything wrong… but this can be confusing.
But that’s part of the deal, I guess. No, you don’t have to get everything right, but you have to know exactly what you chose not to get right. Here’s what I *do* like about Selection Colors, though:
1. It’s a flexible little beast. You can use it as color find and replace, you can use it to manage styles, you can use it to clean up your design – or to revel in its messiness (like I often do). It helps dealing with text, where selection can be particularly tricky.
It hopefully sits somewhere perfectly right on the curve of complexity/flexibility. Too little flexibility, and it wouldn’t be powerful. Too much complexity, and it’d be overwhelming.
(I’ve been there before with OpenType, which had some similar challenges. I’m still pretty happy with how that turned out: https://www.figma.com/blog/opentype-font-features/ )
2. It provides a nice onramp to travel between the worlds of colours and styles. This felt very important to me. Design can be messy and organized, often within the same day. Design systems can be accelerants, but they can also suffocate.
I was hoping for SC to give a set of tools to navigate those two extremes, at least when it comes to colours – and also force us to answer questions that will help in even more projects of this nature.
3. I thought this was a great collaboration between design and engineering; something I also care a lot about, and something I see a lot inside Figma.
We do not only have great engineers, and not only try to cultivate a great respect for either profession (and encourage thoughtful cross-pollination), but we understand that designers alone could not create a useful design tool.
(As an example, with Auto Layout, our engineers – @kenrickrilee and @willyvvu and @jessieteaa – all made design decisions, and some of them I only became aware of after launch. It was great.)
And now, two codas: One is that I got to use Selection Colors to work for some visuals on my personal book project.
This wasn’t the most important part of this effort, but I’m not going to lie – it’s pretty awesome to use the tools you helped create. It’s like creating on two different levels at the same time.
Two: Just last week, @nlevin reminded me that what I always thought was the beginning of the project, actually wasn’t.
I forgot that long before I joined Figma, I actually pitched Selection Colors as an external fan/observer. This completely slipped my mind. Here is that Medium (of course) post: https://medium.com/@mwichary/quick-ui-idea-selection-colours-aeedc00d7d70
This was the past – what’s the future? I am not sure. Some of you requested Selection Text, and I’m onboard with that, but also I realize it requires quite a bit more thinking.
Andrei Negrau @andreinegrauHey @figmadesign. Feature request: ability to change multiple fonts at once within a specific selection. Just like I can do now with Selection Colors feature. twitter.com
Over time, my guess would be the crosshairs icons are likely to make an appearance in others parts of Figma UI where that feature would be useful. (Which was yet another part of building SC: sketching the future where SC already exists.)
But nothing is set in stone is yet, and none of these are promises in any way. Let’s just use it for a while and see what we learn. And that includes you. Please send @figmadesign your feedback or use the ? menu to file a support ticket. (We read all of them!)
BTW this wasn’t a complete walkthrough of the process, but parts that stood out to me most. Any thoughts or questions? Let me know!
In the meantime, I’ll look at some other ideas put aside long time ago, and see if any of them deserve more attention. :·)
(Credit should also go to @eymlin and @skuwamoto who PM’ed this project, the entire design team at @figmadesign, and many other people helping with bits and pieces!!!)

My Notes:

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Marcin Wichary

Wanted to share a bit of the process of building Selection Colors, a little @figmadesign feature I feel rather (maybe strangely) proud of.

(This was originally meant to be a blog post, but the Covid-19 situation is sapping my energy…)

My Notes:

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0:000:00

Wanted to share a bit of the process of building Selection Colors, a little @figmadesign feature I feel rather (maybe strangely) proud of.

(This was originally meant to be a blog post, but the Covid-19 situation is sapping my energy…)

Read Thread
Earlier today, someone asked how our design and development process works at Figma. I don't know if this is interesting to anyone, but I ended up writing down our messy, unofficial process in perhaps too much boring detail. 1/n
Allison Grayce @allisongrayce@skuwamoto @figmadesign mind sharing how you do things at a high level while I check your jobs page? 🙃 twitter.com
Phase 0 - brainstorming: We always have way more feature ideas under consideration than we would ever have time to build. Primarily these come either directly from user requests, or from insights that we get from watching people work. 2/n
Sometimes, people make progress on designs even before features make it onto our roadmap. Maybe a designer is particularly passionate about something and wants to spend some time thinking about how something could be better. Could also be a PM or an engineer. 3/n
Having time to explore these early ideas is important because you never know where that nugget of gold is. 4/n
Phase 1 - roadmapping: When a feature becomes important enough, it enters our roadmap. Roadmapping is a black art, quite frankly, and it involves some combination of synthesizing customer feedback, reading the competitive landscape, and lots of internal discussion. 5/n
When a feature enters our roadmap, we try to write down key things like "who is this for" and "what are some specific situations when someone needs this?" This step is surprisingly important to keep a feature from going off the rails. 6/n
Phase 2 - kickoff: Once a feature is ready to start in earnest, we assemble the team, which typically consists of a designer, a PM and some engineers. We try to identify the whole team from the beginning so they can be included in all discussions. 7/n
At this point, we try to map out the work in milestones, which are longer than sprints (~4 weeks). Milestones have specific goals, like "get the first version up on staging". 8/n
TBH, we often don't have a good idea of what will happen beyond the immediate next milestone, but that's ok. 9/n
Phase 3 - exploration: Design starts a wide exploration which, depending on size of project, can take multiple weeks. During this phase, we try to keep tabs on how the exploration is going via design crit + team check-in meetings. 10/n
The deliverables for the exploration phase are: (1) what is the overall model for how this feature will work? (2) do we have a general idea for the direction of the UI? The model is the most important output of this phase. 11/n
For example, for the states feature, we settled on a model where each section in the property inspector corresponded to a group of settings that could be lumped together into a "style". 12/n
And then we argued endlessly about how colors should work, because they don't fit into that model. Fills have colors, as do strokes. So working out at least some of the edge cases is also part of the model. 13/n
Phase 4 - development: Once exploration is done, design enters a refinement phase and engineering begins in earnest. Engineering tasks are tracked in Asana, and design tasks are mostly untracked. 14/n
Feature teams meet a few times a week to make sure that design and engineering stay in sync. Designs may change during this time based on engineering needs, or based on designers having new insights. 15/n
Designs usually change a lot during this process. As the product takes shape and the fog lifts, it gets easier to see what is working and what is not. 16/n
Also, there is a 50/50 chance that we completely missed something during exploration where we're like "oh crap. now what?" and we have to rethink something truly big. 17/n
Phase 5 - testing and refinement: At this point, the feature is mostly done, and we put it up on our staging server. For larger features, it almost certainly won't feel right immediately. 18/n
We usually leave it up on staging to test internally, and sometimes we test with external folks. This can take a few weeks or more for a big feature. We'll tweak and tweak a feature it until we like it. 19/n
BTW, features don't always turn out well. We have literally decided to scrap (or indefinitely pause) features at this phase, which frankly does not feel good. 20/n
Phase 6 - Ship it! 21/n
Is this the perfect process? Definitely not! It's messy and we end up redoing a bunch of stuff. Compared to most teams, I would say we spend more time on exploration and we allow for more design changes during development. 22/n
Redoing work can feel frustrating, but building a product we are happy with is the goal that we all have, and we haven't figured out a better way. 23/n
As we have grown, we have gotten better at organizing this chaos in a thoughtful way. Nowadays, I would say that I see less wasted work although it's *still* the case that some things can't be figured out until you play with the finished code. 24/n
That's it! I'm curious to see how this compares to everyone else's processes out there! 25/25
Addendum: we are also exploring ways we can design more in the open. If we were to share designs earlier in order to get feedback from the community, would that be interesting to you?
Addendum 2: what I described is the process that we use on the teams I'm closest to, which are the editor teams, where we need to do a lot of design. The infra team, in contrast, has very different requirements, and operates differently.

My Notes:

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Sho Kuwamoto

I recently codified my thoughts on a framework for speaking about product design projects. I don’t think there’s a one size fits all approach to these things, every company is looking for something different but would love to hear others thoughts. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X85UBsuW84BoBzBjQ8TEGGIOkrhfrKG8UBKk3VvZcy8/edit?usp=sharing

My Notes:

Select to add to your #gallery:

I recently codified my thoughts on a framework for speaking about product design projects. I don’t think there’s a one size fits all approach to these things, every company is looking for something different but would love to hear others thoughts. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X85UBsuW84BoBzBjQ8TEGGIOkrhfrKG8UBKk3VvZcy8/edit?usp=sharing

What are your favorite articles / books on managing people? Bonus points if specifically related to product design management.

My Notes:

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Noah Levin

What are your favorite articles / books on managing people? Bonus points if specifically related to product design management.

In cases of imbalance do you think it’s easier for great visual designers to learn product, or great product thinkers -> visual design?

My Notes:

Select to add to your #gallery:
Noah Levin

In cases of imbalance do you think it’s easier for great visual designers to learn product, or great product thinkers -> visual design?

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