Webflow’s weekly Figma Jam session
If you’ve met me, you’ve probably discovered that I’m an extrovert. I love people and derive so much energy from working with others. Working remotely can be tough on extroverted designers, but there are ways around this. Collaborative design sessions!
A couple of years ago, I started a weekly design session on the Webflow product design team that I coined ‘Figma Jam.’ Then, a couple of years later, Figma decided to name a product after it (Figjam). Okay, the last part isn’t true, but I’d like to believe that Webflow’s weekly Figma Jam sessions inspired Figjam.
So what is a Figma Jam session? A safe place for designers to come together as a group to explore ideas.
How our Figma jam design sessions work
Every week a Slack reminder is posted in our product design channel. From there, designers can submit ideas and claim the session. The focus of the sessions can be feature ideas, design problems, or blue sky sessions. There aren’t any rules other than we primarily keep it focused on our team and product. Some past examples were:
- How do we handle loading states?
- Quality of life improvements in Webflow
- Product audit sessions
A typical Figma Jam schedule (1 hour)
- Designers hop on a Zoom call
- 5 mins: The person leading the session will walk us through the prompt or problem area and share a Figma file that they set up before the session for the team to use.
- 35 mins: Everyone turns off their camera goes on mute and comes up with ideas, concepts, or questions (typically, we each make a separate page)
- 20 mins: The group reconfigures to discuss. Each designer then presents what they came up with
A format that works for a broad audience
One thing I love about the format is that it’s inclusive of all types of individuals. It works well for folks who want space to think, and it works well for people who love to collaborate synchronously. We aim to create a safe space for designers to ideate and share. The session’s goal isn’t to critique or walk away with designed solutions. Instead, the goal is to learn, create pathways for our team, and to challenge preconceived notions.
What are the outcomes of these sessions?
- They expose designers to different areas of the product than they typically contribute to
- They broaden our design team’s solutions
- They unblock designers
- They build team camaraderie
- They are a great way to cool down from the week
- They are a fantastic space to learn
- They expose different ways of thinking and approaches to the same problem
I believe that letting designers focus on something outside their day-to-day can jump-start their energy. In addition, these sessions allow designers to flex a different part of their brain; this benefits their core responsibilities.
Tips for running weekly sessions
- Make a recurring calendar event
- Create a backlog of ideas
- Recruit and remind people
- Have facilitators prep for the sessions up ahead of time
- Record a Loom overview for those who missed the session
- Keep a backlog of these sessions for easy access to grab old ideas
- Keep it light and approachable
- Keep it safe. This isn’t the time for critique. It is a time for generating ideas and questions
Some struggles in running weekly sessions
I love these sessions, but they aren’t perfect. Several things prevent them from being successful week in and week out.
- Time zones are hard
- People get busy with their feature work, and when this happens, they are less likely to attend
- If we don’t have a clear focus area ahead of time, we cancel
Make it happen on your team
If this sounds fun, make it happen. But, for this to succeed, you will need a core group of folks. The weekly folks you can rely on. I’ve been the driver of our sessions at our org, and things begin to fizzle when I step off the gas. So I’ll say this to myself and you: Divvy up the responsibilities and recruit others to help.
Shameless plug. Webflow is hiring lots of design roles. Join the fun.