Monthly Archives: March 2021

Figma is an online platform that allows for UX/UI design through a collaborative process. Its essentially like if Adobe XD were a Google Doc – multiple users can be on and making changes at the same time. This allows for teams to work together without having to send files back and forth or trying to merge different files for an end project. Overall, it seems like a really great concept to make designing with a team more streamlined.

My very first thought to this was “I wonder how it compares to Adobe” because I am programmed to worship Adobe and buy their yearly subscriptions. Luckily, they have an extensive comparison section to their website with extensive details on how their program holds up against the giant like XD and Sketch as well as some other alternatives. Below are just a few of the highlights they mention.

Comparison of Figma to Adobe XD from their website

Just clicking around their website, I can see they have a lot to offer. You can work on many different project styles collaboratively, they offer plug-ins and templates, there’s even a pretty extensive looking help center. The website is pretty clean black and white with some bold pops of color in illustration, it’s relatively appealing and feels simple to navigate (without me actually testing their design tools). I just have a major grievance with this custom font they use- it’s hideous.

horrible custom font on the Figma website

Their pricing feels pretty reasonable compared to Adobe, although it doesn’t include the extensive library of apps. But if you were doing almost solely UX/UI design I think you could manage with paying for this site and then using free design softwares for your other adobe needs. I know trying to combine people’s work in XD sucks so I think if you were working on a team like this on the daily, it’d be a pretty worthy investment. Their starter tier is free and supports up to 2 editors and lets you store 3 projects- which is perfect for students doing class projects who might not ever work in UX/UI again. The Professional tier is $12/per month per editor. So everyone on your team would have to be paying $12 a month to work with it but that’s less than 50¢ a day which sounds a lot less bad. With that version, you can create unlimited projects with unlimited version history. There’s also an Organization tier billing at $45 per editor/month (with annual billing only) that allows companies to save their design systems to the platform.

Overall, I think this is a great idea for people who would be using this method of working on a daily basis. Now I’m wishing that Adobe programs existed in a collaborative form so that I wouldn’t have to keep collecting people’s files to combine for presentations. So much of design is collaborative that I could see other softwares following suit. I didn’t actually test out any of the design tools because UX/UI is not my wheelhouse so I wouldn’t have a good opinion but the website itself was easy to navigate so I feel like that’s a positive indication.

Bus rapid transit identity meets universal design

Bitterman, Alex, and Daniel Baldwin Hess. “Bus Rapid Transit Identity Meets Universal Design.” Disability & Society, vol. 23, no. 5, 2008, pp. 445–459., doi:10.1080/09687590802177015.

Alex Bitterman, works in the School of Design at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York and Daniel Baldwin Hess works in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at State University of New York in Buffalo, New York.

This article discusses how Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) can utilize the principles of Universal Design to be more accessible. As the need for these services continues to grow with population growth in urban areas, “information design components and various graphic components and collateral products that together constitute the basis of a BRT identity system must not only be barrier free but accessible to all users regardless of age, physical ability or cognitive ability” (Bitterman). BRT is able to provide many more advantages than normal bus service, majorly featuring level or zero-step passenger boarding that will meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommendations. Because there is so little information given to the public on these resources, the “perception-making components are as integral to the future success of BRT systems as are the physical components” so that people are even aware that these improved services exist. If there is no community awareness through successful design campaigns, there will be less funding directed toward these services that are meant to benefit everyone. Bitterman and Hess note, “For designers, planners and evaluators of the
hypothetical BRT system the ADAAG may serve as an objective checklist for components
of a BRT and a BRT identity system, and while the ADA mandates are a step in the right
direction toward inclusive usability, designers, planners and evaluators must recognize
these as minimum thresholds which result in a minimal degree of accessibility and which
do not necessarily accommodate an ability-diverse public” (Bitterman). If designers continue to use the minimum standards as a checklist, they are continuing to ignore the voices of the communities that actually need improvements on these services and are effectively making their design worse. Bitterman and Hess also touch on the way that universal design shifts the responsibility of functionality from the user to the designer, contradictory to how many design practices and mindsets run.