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Multidisciplinary Collaboration and Employee Experience Emphasized at Figma’s ConFig 2023

by Benjamin Ellis July 10, 2023

One North recently came together across disciplines at Config, the design event heard around the world, to learn from our peers in the industry and see how updates to Figma—our design tool of choice—can change the way we do work for clients.

Throughout the event, our team took notes and captured event highlights in a FigJam board, which allowed those of us on-site in San Francisco to collaborate with our colleagues attending virtually—through viewing sessions at our headquarters in Chicago and also in between client meetings from their own home offices. We shared comments, screenshots, and notes around tool changes with Variables, Dev Mode, and new prototyping features.

One highlight that really stood out to me this year in the talk tracks was the additional focus on how teams worked together across disciplines to tackle large and complex design challenges. This is right up our alley and especially resonated with our entire team because of the work we’ve been doing with clients over the past year. We’ve assisted a handful of organizations with their design systems, built in Figma, and advised on how they can use their design system as a tool to collaborate across disciplines. Through our work together, our clients have found a better technical solution for building and sharing designs. But they’ve also found improvements in how their teams operate, communicate with one another, and assemble to solve difficult challenges—all while balancing the needs of each functional group.

During one of the initial breakout sessions of the day, Aletheia Délivré, Manager of Design Operations at Zapier, set the tone of the event by stating: “The quality of your user’s experience is intricately tied to your designer’s experience.”

This theme of the importance of employee experience surfaced repeatedly throughout the conference as we continued to attend sessions.

Jana Choi, a Design Tools Lead from Capital One, shared her unique process of improving designers’ experience working in their organizations through more effective and creative training and onboarding. Jana and her team created dynamic training modules to educate users not only on how to use their design system, but also why they practice systems thinking. I would highly recommend watching her session.

Similarly, Som Liengtiraphan, a Product Designer for Einstein AI/ML at Salesforce, shared extremely valuable insights on how designers could reframe their mindset before tackling an equally technical and creative challenge across varying disciplines.

Just like everyone else in attendance, we’re already trying out the newly released Figma features and tools and discussing how we might restructure how our work gets done in a highly complex technical environment. I felt there was a lasting impact from Figma Config this year on how we as people work together with one another beyond the design tool.

Hats off to Figma for orchestrating yet another remarkable ConFig this year. They not only introduced us to a host of new product features that will greatly enhance our projects in the coming year, but they also fostered discussions and empowered us to explore how large teams can collaborate effectively beyond the tool itself.

Our final ConFig 2023 post, coming soon, will highlight some of our favorite new features unveiled by Figma at the conference—and how these features will allow designers and developers to work more closely together.

Photo Credit: Evie S | Unsplash

Benjamin Ellis
UX/UI Studio Manager

Benjamin Ellis, a UX/UI Studio Manager at One North, guides and empowers his highly skilled UX team to create interactive digital experiences. As one of the first technical solutioners clients encounter, he builds out strategic proposals by balancing capabilities and navigating complexities. Benjamin applies his deep customer focus to help clients navigate grey areas and develop strategic paths forward through the unknown.