Why UX Writers should use Figma branching

Posted on Jun 12, 2022

My philosophy toward Content Designing is that Content Designers and UX Writers don’t just rewrite the words. The content decisions should be based on the user experience and not the design frames. Any changes we make could affect the design. Sometimes even lead to redesigning the flow.

That being said, here are a few reasons why I personally like working on design frames directly.

👉 Understanding UX thinking

A good user experience is a combination of design and content. Going through the design iterations helps me better understand the design decisions which in turn makes me a better Content Designer.

👉 Trial and error learning

Gives me opportunities to try my hands at designing and better understand the Design System. There have been several instances where I’ve changed or added components to better communicate the information. Once I tried adding a description component in a form which led me to learn different guidelines about using the component and its variants and spacing. An example below.

Writing better UX content using different component

I can try multiple content variants and compare them by duplicating frames. I can visualize and review the Information Architecture within the context of the user flow.

Learning to use our design system’s components helps me find any gaps and contribute to it. Contributions like incorporating content style guides in place of filler texts, designing/updating components to remove content redundancy, updating implementation docs, etc. [[How Content Designer can contribute to design system]]

👉 Reduces friction when collaborating

Simply put, one less app for my colleagues and me to learn. People in the organization are familiar with the Figma basics, at least, the comments part. That is enough to collaborate and get effective feedback. Stakeholders can compare different content variations and give better feedback.

👉 Reduces designer dependency

I don’t have to rely on designers to implement the content. Instead, the responsibilities fall on me. Yes, it is more work, more than one could imagine. For example, assume a new feature design flow that has 20 frames. In all these 20 frames one description component is present. If you change the description content then the new content has to be implemented manually in all the frames. Now, multiply this by all the components present in the design frames - button, title, tooltip, etc.

👉 Breaking the stereotype

This is a personal opinion. Most people think that UX Writers and Content Designers work only with the content. Even some aspiring UX Writers think that it is the case. Using a tool that focuses and restricts working on the design reinforces the idea in the people that I “just” rewrite content.

Now that I’ve explained why I love prefer working on design frames directly, it is only fair of me to tell you how I do it exactly. I use Figma branching.

👉 So, what is Figma branching?

Branching a design file create a duplicate copy of the original (main) file to your account and you can try new content ideas without affecting the original design file. Rather than auto-saving to the main file, changes from branches (your duplicate copy) are merged into the main file only when you request for it.

👉 Issues with Figma branching that UX Writers have to deal with

Figma branching isn’t without its flaws. It’s a new feature and I am sure the Figma team will fix them as the branching gets more and more adoption. I’ve explained some of the issues in detail in the tweets mentioned below.

Tweet 1, Tweet 2