If you've encountered stunning websites online and wondered how much it costs to build those from scratch, the answer might surprise you. The key to building a jaw-dropping website can be as simple as using the right tools.
Many smaller businesses also don't have the luxury of having in-house design and development teams. That's where Figma comes into play. Figma is a web-based design and prototyping tool combining the best of two worlds.
What, Exactly, is Figma?
Figma is a platform that allows designers and developers to collaborate in real time.
That makes it easy even for distributed teams to work together on projects. The platform is Cloud-based, which means we can access our projects from anywhere, and the tool itself is user-friendly, so you don't need extensive training to get started.
How Figma Works in the Website Development Process
Everything begins with a concept, and a website is the same. It beings with a designer sketching the website's overall look and feel. Once the basic idea is complete, the designer moves it to where it becomes a wireframe.
With the wireframe in place, the designer starts working on the actual design of the website in Figma. Figma has various design tools that allow you to create a custom website. You can add images, text, and other design elements to the website to make it look polished and professional.
Since Figma is collaborative and Cloud-based, you can have design and development teams working together on finalizing your website concept on the fly. When all parties agree, you can export the design as code, and developers will use that to build the complete version of your website.
I, Unh, Sketch a Website With Pen and Paper?
“Sketch” doesn't mean you draw your website with pen and paper, but the concept is similar.
Sketch files are digital files created using a design tool called Sketch. These files contain designs or mockups of a website's layout, including different elements such as text, images, buttons, and other design elements.
Sketching a website is creating a rough draft of a website's design using a sketching tool like Sketch.
It's similar to drawing a blueprint for a building.
Sketching allows designers to quickly create a basic website layout, experimenting with different design ideas and avoiding fine details.
Sketching a website helps designers visualize and refine its layout and design, making it easier to communicate their ideas to other team members. Once the basic structure is in place, the designer can move on to more detailed work, such as creating wireframes.
Ultimately, sketching a website aims to create a solid foundation for the website's design and ensure that it meets the client's needs and expectations.
Trying Out Sketch Samples
If this is your first time working with Sketch and Figma, many free resources are available online. You can try downloading some files and experimenting with them;
Creating a Wireframe in Figma
To convert a website sketch into a wireframe in Figma, your designer must create a new project and select the appropriate device type and screen size. They can then import the sketch file into Figma and use it as a reference for creating the wireframe.
Using Figma's design tools, the designer will create the website's basic structure, including the header, navigation, footer, and other vital elements. They will also develop placeholders for images, text, and other content to show how the website looks and functions.
The designer can then refine the wireframe, adjusting the layout and adding or removing elements. They may also use Figma's prototyping tools to create fundamental interactions and animations to demonstrate how the website will function.
Throughout the process, the designer will continue to refer to the original sketch file to ensure that the wireframe accurately represents the intended design. Once the wireframe is complete, you can share it for feedback and further development.
The workflow to create a wireframe in Figma should be:
- Create a new project in Figma.
- Import any necessary assets.
- Use Figma's design tools to create the basic structure.
- Create placeholders.
- Refine the wireframe.
- Create essential interactions and animations.
- Share the wireframe for feedback.
From Wireframe to Design in Figma
With the wireframe approved, your designers can then work toward building a complete website design. They will use the wireframe as a reference to add more detailed design elements such as fonts, colors, and images.
Designers will also focus on creating a consistent design language across the website. This process means ensuring each page maintains a similar aesthetic and style to create a cohesive brand identity for the website.
Figma offers some excellent tools that can help speed up the process. For example, there are vector editing tools and a library of pre-made components. These include common design elements like buttons, icons, and form fields.
Best Design Tools Included With Figma
By providing a comprehensive suite of design tools, Figma makes it easy for designers to create high-quality designs efficiently and collaboratively. Below are some examples.
- Vector editing tools: Figma allows designers to create and edit vector shapes, which designers can use to create icons, logos, and other design elements.
- Design libraries: Figma's design libraries allow designers to store and share commonly used design elements, such as buttons, icons, and form fields.
- Prototyping tools: Figma's prototyping tools allow designers to create interactive prototypes to test user flows and interactions.
- Collaboration features: Figma's collaboration features allow designers to work together on a design in real time, making getting feedback easier and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
- Version control: Figma's version control system allows designers to track changes to a design over time and revert to previous versions if necessary.
- Plugins: Figma has a robust plugin ecosystem, with plugins available for everything from design automation to workflow management.
- Responsive design tools: Figma's responsive design tools allow designers to create designs that adapt to different screen sizes and device types.
- Export options: Figma offers a variety of export options, making it easy to export designs in the format and resolution needed for development or sharing with clients.
Turning Figma Website Designs Turn into Code
Once the core design gets final approval, the project is almost complete. The remaining work is primarily technical and will build exclusively on the design the management, design, and development teams in Figma approve.
Developers can use Figma's developer handoff feature to extract CSS, HTML, and other code snippets directly from the design. This process makes it easier for developers to ensure that the code matches the design and that the website or product functions as intended.
This step is the easiest part of the process but requires a plugin. Figma doesn't natively allow code export. Thankfully, there are many plugins you can use, many of which are free. Try Clapy or TeleportHQ and see if they work for you.
How Design & Development Work Together in Figma
Although design and development teams often work apart, they must be on the same page to create a unified product. One of the essential features of Figma is how it allows both teams to work together efficiently.
Here's how design and development teams work together in Figma:
Designers Create the Initial Design
Designers start the process by creating wireframes and designs in Figma. They use their tools to create visually appealing designs that meet the client's requirements. Designers can also use Figma's collaboration features to share their work with the development team and get feedback.
Development Teams Use the Designs as a Reference
Once the designs are complete, the development team uses them as a reference to create the website or product. They can use Figma's design specs feature to extract information, such as dimensions, colors, and fonts, to ensure that the website or product is up to specification.
Designers and Developers Work Collaboratively
Throughout the development process, designers and developers work together to ensure that the website or product meets the client's requirements. They can use Figma's collaboration features to communicate and share ideas.
Designers and Developers Review Each Other's Work
Designers and developers can also use Figma to review each other's work. For example, developers can use Figma's commenting feature to provide feedback on the design, while designers can use Figma to review the code and provide feedback on the development process.
Streamlining a Painful Process with Figma
Figma can be a valuable tool for business owners who want to build a new website. Its collaborative features allow for easy communication and feedback among team members, and its design capabilities enable users to create visually appealing and functional website layouts and user interfaces.
From a business perspective, Figma's ability to create interactive prototypes can help business owners test and refine the user experience of their website before development even begins. It's an impressive way to save time, reduce costs, and create a website that meets specific needs and goals.