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Designers should not share Figma links with their business stakeholders

Designers usually do very profound work while coming up with their solutions. They will go through all the necessary stages of the design process that can potentially yield good outcomes. They will do the due research and analysis, create pixel-perfect interfaces, and in the end share a link to a Figma file that has 18 pages with their stakeholders that no one can navigate or understand. Don’t even get me started on how infuriating it is zooming in and out on the infinite canvas again and again for someone whose job is not to use these tools.

And let’s also accept the fact that raw Figma file links just look plain bad. You can use a link shortener, but that’s not the point.

While a lot of POs and stakeholders have learned to use these tools, they still low-key hate us for sharing Figma links. This is one particular instance where designers significantly lack empathy for the end-users of their work and as a result, their work at worst gets shot down and at best frustrates the stakeholder. And it is not hard to imagine what happens after that.

Just as designers empathize with the end-users of the product they are designing and consider their specific needs they need to think about their stakeholders inside the organization or their clients in the same manner.

Sharing designs with stakeholders can be thought of as a UX problem to solve where the end user in most cases is the product manager or a business owner and our UX goal is that the end user must be able to easily understand our work, the decisions, and considerations. These people don’t know how to use our design tools. The UX laws and heuristics are not the first things that pop into their mind whenever they look at an interface design. Their brains are not trained for this.

The solution here is quite simple. Designers can save the day once again and bridge this gap by empathizing with their stakeholders and understanding their needs. One of the most effective ways to do this is by sharing design work in a medium that stakeholders are familiar with. This can be as simple as creating a keynote or PowerPoint presentation that explains the design process, as well as the decisions that were made along the way. Don’t forget to start the presentation with the need, request, or the business problem and end with further suggestions if needed.

Another important factor that designers should consider is the language they use when communicating with people that did not go to Design School. It is important to avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be confusing. If you have to use technical terms and they cannot be avoided, explain them.

With this small addition to any designer’s workflow, they can massively improve their relationships with stakeholders and clients, guaranteed. I recently was moved to a new team at a client position where I started this practice and everyone was astounded like I did some magic. I kept receiving messages and emails of appreciation from people even after a few days 😁 and the more people in other teams found out about a small deck that I created in 30 minutes they wanted to make that a practice in their teams too.

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