Enable users to browse + add Community assets without leaving their current design file.
How might we enhance the search + discovery experiences of Figma's Community Product?
, a feature , enables designers to share files, templates, and assets with the platform's extensive user base. It reflects the core job of conceptualizing creative projects (Appendix A) by enabling users to peruse a vast library of templates to inspire their work. However, the current process for sourcing files presents key areas of friction for Figma's core users. These designers often have high expectations of their tools' usability, efficiency, and holistic experience. Instead, Figma has opted to introduce more to its Community product (comments, follows, profiles), failing to produce adequate engagement/evangelism from this segment (Appendix B).
Firstly, to select a template from Figma Community, the user must exit their current design file, thereby losing creative context on their work. Next, the user navigates to the general Figma Community landing page, facing an extensive array of files, plugins, and widgets stacked alongside filters, tags, and categories. The presentation of this information may sometimes be confusing (e.g., having a "Chess Games" Community file next to a "Design Systems" file next to an "HTML to Design" plugin, which has no functional relationship). During this stage in discovery, the user finds it difficult to discern whether a file fits their use case solely from the thumbnails, resulting in them opening a new page to learn more about the file. Once the user decides on a template, they duplicate this Community file to their drafts. The user then selectively chooses the elements of the Community file to rework, unlocking any necessary layers and cutting the file into their workspace. Sometime later, the "scraps" of the Community file are deleted from their drafts. If the user chooses to keep the Community file in their drafts, these files gradually pile up, resulting in disorganization.
Why This Problem?
Solving this problem addresses As the , Figma's cloud-based architecture (leveraging ) has been popularized for transforming the design file into an immersive workspace, with features like Figma's introduction of the in the toolbar, which enables users to browse and run Community plugins/widgets directly in the editor, ironically excludes being able to add Community design files. Including this feature would create a fully-integrated experience where the designer can access a comprehensive suite of open-source tools without ever
From a macro level, this problem is also pressing for the following reasons:
The paradigm of design is shifting: The proliferation of generative AI tools like and presents considerable uncertainty for the digital design industry since it redefines the core jobs involved at the beginning of a creative project (Appendix A). For instance, designers in the future may discover inspiration by generating prompts instead of searching and browsing. Building a more robust discovery framework better prepares Figma to level up on AI-related features and beat the competition to market (Appendix C) if they choose to pursue that route. Balancing the marketplace: Figma Community fundamentally operates as a two-sided marketplace with producers (creators who publish their work for all Figma users to use) and consumers (designers who benefit from leveraging those files). Recently, Figma to compensate creators for their work, thereby driving the marketplace's supply-side development. Generating incentives to support demand growth, therefore, balances the offerings. Enabling designers to double down on their work: While Figma has moved beyond the conventional definition of static files, designers still view the platform as a tool to produce visuals first and foremost. They're actively seeking solutions to help them stay focused and manage complexities instead of amplifying them. Achieving feature parity: Figma's FigJam product has a Templates button on its toolbar that allows users to browse and drop Community templates directly into their FigJam whiteboards. Integrating a similar feature for Figma's native Design product would create a more streamlined, complementary relationship between the two offerings.
Figma's primitive must continuously evolve to meet market and consumer needs. There is an imperative for it to disrupt itself before someone else does.
Goals & Success
The problem should be approached by considering how users prioritize familiarity within their current tools. For instance, Figma's previous product rollouts have been intuitive to locate and use as these new features smoothly blend in with existing ones. As such, any approach to improving the search and discovery experiences of Figma Community should feel as if the user has already experienced these flows/interactions before (either on similar design platforms or within Figma itself). An example would be taking inspiration from the FigJam Templates modal and other template discovery products in tools like Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Audience & Goals
Not to add any extra functionality to Figma Community: Toolbox is a midway point that bridges the design editor and Community experiences but does not create any new flows within the Community page. For instance, if users want to browse more assets on Toolbox, they could click a "See more in Community" button to take them to the existing Community Product. Not to become a social network: UXR interviews (Appendix B) showed indifference towards Figma Community's current social features. Expanding in this direction would create a backlog of nice-to-haves, alienating core user needs (Appendix E). Not to focus on any FigJam Developments: FigJam already has a similar feature, which matches the proposed features in Figma Toolbox. Integration between the two modals in the future may be a consideration but outside this project's scope (Appendix F). Not to focus on discoverability algorithms: While Figma Toolbox aims to improve the discoverability of Community files, the primary goal is to offer more engaging discovery channels through experience design rather than algorithm development.
By streamlining the accessibility of finding and duplicating Community files, Figma will improve the perception that design is intuitive, approachable, and fun.
Users will be inclined to integrate Figma more often in their daily use cases, thereby driving both supply and demand-side forces within Figma Community (e.g., more duplicates incentivize contributors to publish more files).
See Appendix G for MVP feature brainstorming.
For Figma Design users who actively leverage Community resources, Figma Toolbox offers an efficient, integrated, and familiar solution for sourcing high-quality and relevant inspiration to jumpstart the design process (Appendix H).
Features & Flows
Part 1: Toolbox Modal
As a designer, I can:
Instantly browse Figma Community by clicking the Toolbox icon on the design editor toolbar without losing context on my current workflow. Intuitively discover files via trending, admin curation, use case (mobile, tablet, web, etc.) or tags. See which Community resources I recently used. When clicking on the file, learn more about the resource and its creator by accessing a side-peak view. Explore the different pages within the file through the side-peak view. Learn more about the file by visiting its official Community page or adding it directly to my workspace.
Part 2: Imported Page Groups (Left sidebar)
As a designer, I can:
Immediately identify which pages in my workspace were imported from Community and which pages I created from scratch via a new page grouping logic. Transfer pages from Community files into my current design page group to remix/rework. Remove any leftover Community pages/components (unnecessary to my current design) without having these files clutter my drafts or recents.
Open Issues & Future Considerations
Cannibalization Concerns: Figma Toolbox and Figma Community should complement each other, with both products mutually driving engagement. A potential risk is Toolbox cannibalizing primary Community usage, which may harm creators long-term due to fewer direct profile visits, thereby hampering supply growth. Monitoring the established guardrail metrics would be advised. Page Duplications: Duplications (the # of uses a published file receives) are a crucial metric for Figma Community because they determine each file's relative ranking on the page. Higher duplications also inform designers that the file is more popular and of higher quality. This metric may be gamed with Figma Toolbox as bringing a Community file into the workspace is more efficient with one click. Additionally, there is the question of whether duplicating this newly-created page group within the editor (after initially importing it from Toolbox) is considered a valid use. Addressing this uncertainty involves engaging with Figma's data and product teams to establish guidelines on the actions that qualify as duplicates. Investigating how FigJam handles this logic with its Templates product is an ideal starting point.
Bookmarking: Figma Toolbox allows users to view recently duplicated files to access previous inspiration. A future update could build on this theme by involving a bookmarking functionality so users could save and revisit their favourite files. This feature enables another avenue of use cases involving curation and receiving file update notifications from the original publisher. Group Curation: An insight identified from the UXR Interviews (Appendix C) and Needs Analysis (Appendix E) was general interest in online design groups like , , and various Slack/Discord communities. Over the past five years, these organizations have experienced rapid growth in membership in line with Figma's explosive popularity. Consequently, many designers value them highly in providing growth and career development resources.
Currently, content curation within Figma Community occurs in three channels:
Figma Team: Content curated by Figma staff for different use cases (presentation slides, resume templates, etc.). It should be noted that this content is not routinely refreshed and can sometimes appear outdated; for instance, as of May 2023, Figma still has a "" collection on its list. Profiles: When a user visits the profile of a particular Community creator, they can also see the files that the creator has liked. This feature is especially effective in discovering the resources that leading designers/influencers (e.g., ) endorse. Corporate Pages: Companies like , , and have design profiles on Figma Community. Their templates are highly sought-after by designers and are among the most duplicated files on the platform.
The latter two options are not sustainable methods of fuelling discovery as they require the user to consciously search for the pages, which involves multiple steps. Adding a specific "Curated by" section on Toolbox that enables reputable Design groups to endorse their favourite resources could thus boost discovery as these organizations have already established widespread trust among designers.
Upvotes (moonshot): The two primary metrics in assessing a file on Figma Community are "likes" and "duplications," which are disproportionate to each other. Duplications for a file are commonly far greater than likes, validating the UXR finding that users don't tend to engage with Community social features. Potentially merging these two metrics in the future/restructuring them into "upvotes" may provide a more objective way of ranking files and allow smaller creators to gain traction.
A. Job Mapping
B. UXR Interview Insights
From Thursday, February 23, 2023, to Wednesday, March 8, 2023, 8 interviews were conducted with early-career digital designers spanning various backgrounds and experiences with Figma. Six interviews were analyzed, and two were cut due to insufficient insights. The following chart provides a high-level overview of each admitted interviewee:
Interviewee's Work Experience
Years of Figma Experience
These interviews revealed three fundamental insights:
C. Kano Model
D. 4 Forces Analysis
E. Prioritizing Needs
Figma Community as a workflow tool
Figma Community as a social network
Figma Community as a curation platform
Overall, the most significant and underserved needs fall under the perspective of Figma Community being a workflow tool rather than a social network. These needs require enhancements in time, effort, UX, and information.
Opportunities with the potential to generate customer value include:
Reducing the time and friction involved in discovering the right resources in Figma Community. Ensuring a seamless integration of the imported file within the designer's current workflow. Balancing the idea of efficiency with credit: ensuring creators receive adequate recognition for their contributions and that this feature does not cultivate a culture of stealing designs. Empowering designers to keep up with community-oriented trends and quickly source relevant design files according to those trends.
Other opportunities (not immediately pressing but may be included in subsequent MVP releases) include:
Maximizing the ability to revisit favourite templates through bookmarking. View high-quality content first when initiating a search (e.g., files with the highest duplicates, content created in-house by Figma, content curated by Figma partners, etc.).
Future considerations include curation tools, like upvoting newly-published resources or finding resources shared by reputable design teams (corporations, nonprofits, school initiatives, etc.).
Any social networking features/attempts to make Figma Community a social media platform are deprioritized and flagged as either existing competitive spaces or not worth pursuing. This stance is abundantly evident through UXR interviews with designers, who stress that there are already many sources outside of Figma to find/build design communities.
F. Problem Scoping
G. MVP Feature Brainstorming
H. Value Proposition Map