UI/UX Design: 6 Tactics For Getting Organized in Figma | Maddy Beard | Skillshare

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UI/UX Design: 6 Tactics For Getting Organized in Figma

teacher avatar Maddy Beard, Product Designer & Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Outlining Your Team


    • 3.

      Setting Up a Template Figma File


    • 4.

      Labeling & Annotating Your Designs


    • 5.

      Getting Granular with Figma Links


    • 6.

      Leveling Up Async Communication


    • 7.

      Documenting Your Work


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Work smarter and more confidently in Figma with product designer, Maddy Beard! 

Systems and processes are so powerful in the modern workplace. Understanding how to use Figma to achieve a more efficient, consistent, and clear workflow will vastly improve your experience as a designer. Join Maddy as she walks you through the six tactics to establish a process that works for you and your team in Figma. 

Together with Maddy, you will:

  • Outline your team so that you can ensure the process is beneficial for everyone involved
  • Set up a template Figma file for consistency 
  • Label and annotate your designs for improved asynchronous communication
  • Get granular with Figma links to facilitate linking to other platforms
  • Level up your asynchronous communication with Loom 
  • Document your work to keep track of your impact 

Whether you’re an avid user of Figma or you’re jus figuring it out, this class will provide you with the tactics to improve your team’s workflow, processes and communication. 


Maddy’s class is designed for UI/UX designers, but all students are welcome to participate and enjoy.

Meet Your Teacher

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Maddy Beard

Product Designer & Educator


I'm Maddy Beard, a product designer & content creator based in Denver, Colorado.

You can also find me on YouTube, Instagram, and my Newsletter. 

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Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: I would definitely consider myself a creative, but I've also always been interested in organization and processes and systems. Efficiency, consistency, and clear communication are huge benefits that you'll find from getting on the same page with your team in Figma. [MUSIC] I'm Maddie Beard. I'm a UI/UX Designer and today's class is all about tactics for developing an organized process with your team in Figma. Usually, I'm one of the people on the team who's rallying everyone together to try to improve our workflows, processes, and communication. Like most designers, I love Figma. So if you also love Figma or if it's brand new to you, then this is the class for you. I've been working professionally as a designer since 2017, both for tech companies, big and small, including Adobe. I've also worked for myself as a freelancer and entrepreneur. Systems and processes are so powerful in the modern workplace. Applying them in Figma will not only get designers on the same page, but also product managers, engineers, and other cross-functional partners. We'll go through six tactics to get you moving towards a process that works for you. When you're done with this class, my hope is that you'll walk away understanding how to work smarter and not harder with your team in Figma. This class is for any designer on a team, whether you're an individual contributor or you manage other designers. Especially if you're new to working on a team, or if you've noticed that your team could use some improvement when it comes to processes and workflows and collaboration. I know you're going to feel a surge of confidence in how you work and communicate after these six lessons. 2. Outlining Your Team: When coming up with a process for your team, it's really good to keep in mind who you work with so that you can make sure the process is beneficial for everyone involved. In this lesson, we're going to do a quick fig gym exercise to outline your stakeholders and figure out what their goals are when it comes to this process that we're about to develop. You can do this alone or with a few other people on your team. If you prefer a more traditional method, you can also just do this with sticky notes on your wall or whiteboard. Start by creating sections using the section tool for each small team within your larger team. Who's going to be hopping into your Figma files every day or just once in a while? For my team, it's designers, project managers, design managers, and engineers. Next, grab some sticky notes and jot down the goals for each one of these disciplines. I'll show you what I came up with, though yours might be a bit different. Fellow designers need to be able to pick up where you left off without too much explanation. Developers need to know where to find designs, understand how the screen should behave, and how to ask questions or bring up concerns. PMs need to know where to find designs, how to provide feedback, and how to write requirements based off of final designs. Last, design managers should be able to know the status of a project at all times, get an idea of how designers under them are progressing, and if there are any areas where they might need to improve. All of these things might also apply to your team, but also teams are so different. Make sure to go through these and think about your specific use case. Now it's your turn. Go ahead and complete this exercise either by yourself or with someone on your team. If you do complete it individually, you might think about sharing it with someone on your team to get their thoughts and bounce some ideas off each other. The most important thing about this exercise is really to shed the perspective that Figma is only for designers. At least in my experience, the relationship between design, engineering, and product management all starts with communication. Now, as you move through all of these lessons, you'll be able to keep these folks and their goals in mind, as well as your own. 3. Setting Up a Template Figma File: When you're starting a new project, do you ever freeze up looking at a blank Figma file or maybe you're totally comfortable starting from scratch, but every designer on your team does it a bit differently ultimately resulting in disorganization in the long run? Well, either way, I can tell you from experience that creating a template Figma file is one of the best things you can do for your team which is why I made it the project for this class. If you're a fan of consistency and speed, then this is a perfect place to start. If you're a fan of shortcuts, then I have good news for you. I've actually already created a template that I'm going to be sharing with you guys to use for your team. This is something that's worked really well for me and my team, but you can go ahead and download it in the resource section and make any changes that you want for your own use. In this lesson, I'm going to be walking you through each part of it one by one. Let's start with the cover page. This is the cover page, and what we have here is really just the cover that's going to appear in your Figma homepage like your thumbnail image. I just really like to have this be super straightforward so that someone knows exactly what they're jumping into in terms of which project it is and what the status is. You can put your project title here. You can put your team name here. This is really only relevant if your design team is broken up into separate teams. This is a component, so you can switch up the status really easily here. Once it's launched, then you can change it to that. Or if it ever becomes irrelevant, then I like to change it to archive just so that someone knows they shouldn't be like building based off of these designs or anything like that. That's super easy to switch here. Now, let's go into the rest of these pages. Handoff. I always have this page first and I haven't broken up by a title called Handoff so that dev knows that this is for them. There's a green check mark, it says Ready For Dev, and then the date that it was most recently updated. This is just where you're going to throw any of your designs that are ready for development and it's really full-proof. This is the first thing someone should notice in going down on the left-hand panel and don't put anything in here if it's not ready to be built, that's basically the bottom line. You can also break this up into multiple sections if you want based on maybe phases, MVP, and then a next iteration. However, you want to do it works, but I just really like having this at the top. Then we move into Design. Wireframes, this is where you'll keep all your wireframes. The next section is for a design crit, and you can make as many of these as you want if you have crits all the time. But I like to have this as a separate page just so I can copy and paste screens I'm working on and one feedback on into this page, keep it more neat so that during the create, I don't look like a hot mess. Then the Sandbox. That really is where you want to keep your hot mess, where you want to keep anything that you're just playing around with, maybe some inspiration, just things that you're still trying out, this is where that can go. Then Maybe Later. This is if I'm coming up with designs and it gets pushed to maybe launching after MVP. I want to keep these screens, I really like them. Maybe they're finished screens, maybe they're just ideas. I'm going to put them in Maybe Later so that we can come back to them at a future iteration. Then Research. Discovery, I might put in here some competitive analyses or any research that our UX researcher did, but this could be bullet point notes, this could be screenshots, whatever it might be. Then Prototypes. If we're testing prototypes for a research as well, then I want to keep those in these separate pages so that they don't confuse developers because sometimes, at least for me as a designer, I'll do quick little hacks to get my prototype to work well in order to test it. Those types of things will add shapes or add confusion to designs that you don't necessarily want engineers to see, so that's why I have this especially broken out as part of our research. I've published this template to the Figma community, so it's totally free for you to go and duplicate and change anything you want, whether you just change some pages, entire sections. You can change out emojis or status options and you can even brand that cover page to be more in line with your company's branding. In the next lesson, we're going to talk more in detail about labeling and annotating your designs for consistency. 4. Labeling & Annotating Your Designs: We all know that good asynchronous communication is essential for teams to produce high-quality work efficiently. In my experience, two ways that designers can communicate asynchronously are through loop, which we'll talk about in a future lesson, and through labeling and annotating our designs in Figma. Labeling is all about giving your teammates and your future self the lay of the land when hopping into a page in Figma sometimes for the first time, while annotations are more about communicating an intended behavior that might not be obvious just by looking at the designs. Let's go deeper on this and look at it in action starting with labels. There are three levels of labels I use in my process. Starting with the title, then the subtitle, and finally the name of the individual screen. As you saw briefly in the previous lesson, this template I created has a component you can use to title and subtitle your flows. The goal of the title is for it to stand out if someone zoomed way out on a page so that they can hone in on the flow that they're looking for. The subtitle or description is more to set context on what this flow is, who should see it, what triggers it, and things like that. There are infinite ways that a design team can choose to use naming conventions to title individual screens. Every single team I've worked on has done it a bit differently, but I will say that for the most part, the more specific and granular you can get with this, the less confusion there will be between designers, engineers, and PMs. Let me show you an example of a naming convention that I used at my most recent company to show you what I mean, and then you can use this example and tweak it a little bit so that it works for you. Here's a series of screens showing the flow for a new user ordering ASAP pickup from a restaurant. For this project, we used a naming convention with this structure: Screen type, User, Order type, Screen, State. You can see that structure in action with all of these screens within the flow. This way, each screen has a unique name based on a consistent naming convention. Honestly, your naming conventions will probably never be perfect, and that's totally okay. Remember the goals of each of your cross-functional partners as you define how to name your frames going forward. Consistent naming conventions will also help immensely when people are working with links to your Figma designs in external spaces. More on that in the next lesson. 5. Getting Granular with Figma Links: In this short lesson, I'm going to show you how to get the right level of granularity when it comes to generating and sharing links to your Figma designs. As much as us designers wish it weren't true, not everything on our team happens within Figma. You may often need to link out to Slack, Jira, Confluence, Asana, Trello, Google Docs, Drive, and many more. Depending on the scenario, you might want to link the entire file, just a page, or even an individual screen. So let's walk through how to do each. Here, I have an example of a few screens that are ready for dev. Let's say that I want to share this whole, entire file. This is really easy. All I'm going to do is come up to the big blue Share button. Once I click on it, then I'll be able to either share based on someone's email or get a link to copy. Usually, I'll just get a link, but I can also edit what this person can do: edit, view, view prototypes only. That is simple. You probably already know how to do that if you're at all familiar with Figma. But what if I just want to link to a specific page? What if I want to send someone to a more direct place so that they don't have to figure out what page they need to be looking at? Let's say that this page here, I'm just going to control click on this page and then hit "Copy link to page". Now, anytime that someone hits that link, they're going to come straight to this page and not automatically to the cover page or any other page. Now, what if you want to send a link to a specific frame or like a very specific screen? I'm going to hone in on this modal right here and I'm going to do is hover over the title. Again, control click, and you're going to do copy paste as copy link. Another just fun aside here is that you can also copy as a PNG, and then paste that into maybe like Google Slides or something like that so that you don't actually have to export. It just makes life so much easier, so fun fact. If any of these are new to you, go ahead and practice copying and checking if the link is sending you to the right place. Everything we've been talking about so far has been all about improving communication and getting you on the same page as your team. But what have written annotations aren't enough? Sometimes it's very necessary for a designer to walk through their designs and speak to them in real time. That's where one of my favorite tools comes into play. We'll be talking about Loom in the next lesson. 6. Leveling Up Async Communication: One tool that's really helped me level up my communication is Loom. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically asynchronous video to help teams cutback on unnecessary meetings. In this video, I'm going to show you how to use Loom to communicate with your team as a designer, but before I get into it, I just want to say that if you're someone who gets a little bit nervous seeing yourself on camera or hearing the sound of your own voice and the idea of using Loom to communicate with your team makes you a little anxious, I just wanted to say that I totally feel you. I used to be very, very nervous on camera and even when it comes to presenting my work, I found it so much more daunting to do it on camera than I did in person. There's just something about the camera and hearing the sound of your own voice that's really unnatural at first, but I'm just here to encourage you that the more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you're going to be. With every Loom video you make, you'll get more and more comfortable and it will just feel easier and easier. At this point when I make a Loom video for a client that I'm working with or someone on my team, it literally feels like second nature, I don't even give it another thought. Just trust me on this and after this lesson, you can even send me in a practice Loom video to someone with no judgment whatsoever just to get over the fear of sending your first one. I've found that's given me more confidence to present my work in other scenarios as well, like in person or over a Zoom in real time, and so I would just encourage you to really lean into it if you can. You really have nothing to lose because Loom is totally free to get started, you can have up to 25 videos that are each 5 min in length before you have to start actually paying for a membership. If your team wants to use Loom as a whole, that's probably something you could get a budget for from your company. Once you have your account, go ahead and download the extension for a Mac or Windows computer. This will allow you to start recording with just a couple of clicks. When you click on the Loom icon in your status bar, the app will open and let you configure the recording that you're about to make. First, decide if you want to record just your screen or your screen and your camera. Choose what portion of the screen you want to capture and make sure you're using the correct webcam and microphone. Then start recording. You can move your face cam around at anytime throughout the recording, which is really handy, you can also use the little toolbar on the left to pause or stop the recording or this pencil tool here to draw on your screen, call attention to things or show your ideas further in real time. I've included a link in the resource section of this class for you to watch a real Loom video that I created for one of the teams that I worked on in the past couple of years so that you can actually see a real design problem instead of me just making something up for the sake of this class. I thought that that might be helpful for some real contexts, a real-world example, so feel free to check that out if you think that might be helpful. It's just four minutes long. Now, let's get into sharing the Loom video with your team, which is super simple. Once you hit the stop icon, your video will automatically stop and start uploading to your Loom library and a browser window will open to show you that. All you have to do is click, copy link and voila! You can paste that anywhere you want to show it to your team and get comments. Anyone with that link will be able to comment directly in Loom either by just typing a comment or by actually recording a comment back to you, but of course they can also just leave comments in a Slack thread or whatever works for your team. Loom has tons of other cool features, but for the purpose of this class, just getting comfortable sharing your work this way is the most important thing. It's really a time-saver. If you want to get some practice, go ahead and record a Loom video for me and send it over to my email, maddy@maddybeard.com, and I will make sure to reply. 7. Documenting Your Work: You've finally finished the project that you and your team have been working on for months. That's the end of your process? Nope. There's a one more step, but I would highly recommend doing. But don't worry, super simple and easy. I created another template for you to make it even faster. Documenting all of the projects you've done is more a tactic for yourself than anyone else on your team, but it's still equally important. It's a great way to keep track of your impact so that when you go to apply for a promotion or update your portfolio, you have somewhere to begin. Let's jump right into the template which you can find in the resource section of this class. As you can see, this template is basically so that you can catalog all of the projects you've worked on at your company. I've included spaces for a title, description, your role and who you worked with, dates, times of the project, when it launched, links to documentation. Like designs, confluence docks, the live project, a prototype, anything that might be relevant. As well as a place to put visuals or just a quick screen grab so that you know which project is which. I think it's important to include all of the things you've worked on, not just big projects. If one of these line items doesn't make sense for one of your projects, you can totally get rid of it or change it. I'd even recommend including extra curriculars in this. Basically anytime you made an impact at your company. Maybe you've started a book club for your design team, participated in a hackathon, wrote a couple of articles for your company's website or even organized an offsite to help your team bond include any and all of that stuff too. Go ahead and grab that template and start filling it out with all the projects that you've done so far. It's easy to forget all of the little things that you spend time and energy on. Tracking this is going to be impactful for you both professionally and personally. 8. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on making it through this class. I really hope that you guys walk away with the tools you need to work smarter, and not harder with your team in Figma. Don't forget to download the templates from this class in the resource section. If any questions came up during the lessons, feel free to leave them in the discussion section below, and I'll make sure to reply. Thanks so much for spending time with me today and hopefully I'll see you in a future class or over on my YouTube channel. Bye. [MUSIC]