At Dropbox, we emphasize the importance of sharing work early and often. And with our new shift to Virtual First, we’re relying more heavily than ever on synchronous collaboration tools.

The design tool Figma is a mainstay among those. We use it for a lot more than just designing the Dropbox interface or managing our design system. We use Figma for running design sprints, synthesizing research as a group, creating presentations, workshopping team priorities… the list gets longer every day.

But a collaborative tool is only as effective as its collaborators. That’s why we (product designer Cheechee and UX writer Cate) ran a training session to teach non-designers at Dropbox the basics of using Figma to keep everyone on the same page.

Figma for non-designers header article cover

The design tool Figma is a mainstay among those. We use it for a lot more than just designing the Dropbox interface or managing our design system. We use Figma for running design sprints, synthesizing research as a group, creating presentations, workshopping team priorities… the list gets longer every day.

Figma design steps

Where we started

Cheechee:

When our design team first transitioned to Figma, I quickly realized that although it was an easy move for designers who were accustomed to working with creative tools, there was still a significant adoption barrier for folks who weren’t using these tools on the daily. As an experiment, I developed a 30-minute workshop to walk my cross-functional counterparts (engineering, analytics, and product) through the basics of Figma—something like a Figma 101™—to see whether it might be helpful in our collaborations.

This workshop has proven to be super-helpful in reducing friction in my design process and in working with my cross-functional peers. And, as word spread, I realized that there was a much bigger appetite internally for learning Figma than my immediate team.

Cate:

On the UX Writing team, we often talk about “meeting our partners where they’re at.” This means using the same tools as the designers, researchers, engineers, and product managers we work with every day. But often, “UX content folks” (writers, content strategists, content designers, and others) are intimidated by new tools.

Writing isn’t a tool-centric discipline. If you can basically do your job with pen and paper, why on earth would you learn how to read an analytics dashboard, run an SQL query, or use Jira?

Because when you meet your partners where they’re at, you can work better together, faster.

Writing is designing, so Figma is one of the most important tools for UX-content folks to master. I ran a Figma training workshop with my UX Writing team (and then another, back by popular demand!) to make sure everyone could learn the ropes if they wanted to.

Often, many tool-intimidated writers are actually tool-curious writers who don’t know where to start. And when I heard about the enthusiasm for Cheechee’s training among her engineering and product partners, I realized that’s not a feeling exclusive to writers.

Cate and Cheechee:

We’ve been longtime advocates that anyone in a design-adjacent role should become familiar with Figma. Based on the positive response to our respective workshops, we decided to join hands and create an hour-long workshop for employees all across the company. Over 200 folks RSVPed to learn the basics.

We’re releasing our presentation today because we believe that democratizing tools and sharing knowledge increases our ability to work together. We hope you’ll learn something useful, and we encourage the Figma community to keep bringing new folks into the fold.

Figma design file

We’re curious to hear what you think! Take our file, remix it, and let us know.

Here’s a group pic of our workshop attendees in action :)

workshop participants in Figma file

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