Web-based whiteboarding tools are not something new, popular online whiteboarding tools like Miro and Mural have been around since 2011. On April 21, 2021, Figma announced the release of FigJam the latest addition to this list of growing online whiteboarding tools.
What is FigJam?
FigJam provides an online space to collaboratively brainstorm creative solutions, organise and explore ideas and research with a range of tools. In this day and age where working from home and remotely from across the globe is becoming the new normal, Figma has created an intuitive yet simple space that makes it easier to bring teams together to collaborate in real-time.
In FigJam, the infinite whiteboard is presented as a simple yet aesthetically pleasing dotted grid with a user-friendly toolbar. The simplicity of both the design and functionality of the board and the toolbar makes it quite an easy program to introduce to clients and team members.
Board and Toolbar
This space can be used for a range of purposes and some of the common purposes are:
- Brainstorming ideas and solutions.
- Creating decision trees, flowcharts, and mind maps.
- Collecting and organising ideas and research.
- Feedback and critique meetings
To make it even easier, FigJam has a range of premade templates for research, team meetings, and diagrams to choose from when starting a new project. If none of those templates meet your project needs you can also explore the templates made by others in the community.
When doing a project there is a limited but intuitive list of tools in FigJam’s toolbar which include:
- Sticky notes with authorship and shapes to share ideas and thoughts.
- A marker to free draw and make notes.
- Stickers, stamps, and emojis to give interactive and personalised feedback.
- Connectors which are arrows that can be used to create mind maps and flowcharts with shapes.
Figma has also taken the time to create a list of curated colours that can be used on the marker tool, text, shapes, connectors, and sticky notes. The designers ensured objects that can be written on like shapes and sticky notes are less saturated in colour to create contrast between the text and the coloured objects, helping to create better readability.
To help one learn how to use all these tools and their related shortcuts there is a handy template called FigJam basics. I would recommend going through this template before starting a project as it is a simple but fun tutorial on how to use all the tools available to you.
FigJam Basics Template
FigJam also provides a few methods of communication when working on your project with your team. You can post comments on each other’s works and use cursor chats which create a temporary message through live typing, although I personally found the cursor chat somewhat odd to use. However, Figma has announced that sometime in the future they will be adding a built-in voice chat which will not require the use of a third-party program like Zoom.
Cursor Chat and Comments
There are some challenges to FigJam like navigation can become tricky when the board becomes quite large, but price may probably be the biggest challenge for some. For the rest of 2021, FigJam will be free to use but from 2022 they will offer free and paid plans of $8 or $15 per editor per month. The cost of needing a license per editor could become pricey when working on projects with larger teams.
Overall, I think FigJam has the potential to help increase productivity and make it easier to bring teams together in an environment that is becoming more digital. By being a central space for team members to meet in real-time to collaborate, ideate, brainstorm, and get feedback on projects.