Jul 1, 2021

Introducing: Collabo Kit

Introducing: Collabo Kit

Introducing: Collabo Kit

Introducing: Collabo Kit

Introducing: Collabo Kit

Introducing: Collabo Kit

I am so excited to have published my first Figma Community resource, Collabo Kit and I wanted to share a little bit of my motivations behind creating this shared resource for other designers.

My Motivations

Design tools are tools; they come and they go. However, no other design tool has captured my heart in the way that Figma has. There are so many unique aspects of Figma when compared to the competition but I’m going to focus on the Community in this post.

As a recovering front-end developer, the idea of open source in the design community is incredibly exciting to me. The fact that this open source community is built right into the industry’s most popular design tool makes this an incredibly exciting space to participate in. So I started thinking of opportunities to create something to share with the Community.

The Problem I was trying to solve

At the time of creating Collabo Kit, Figma comments had remained the same since I started using Figma. They were good but they weren’t without their shortcomings - at least that was my experience of using them when collaborating with my team of 30 designers.

Some of upsides of Figma’s comment feature were:

  • Notifications and at-mentions

  • Attaching comments to specific design elements

  • Lightweight, approachable, and easy to use

  • They enabled threaded conversations

Some of the downsides of Figma’s comment feature were:

  • They were obfuscated and separated form the work

  • They easily got detached from frames or elements

  • Cumbersome at scale

  • Did not support markdown

  • Didn't work well for Design Crits and other team review

Scratching My Own Itch

So, I started working on Collabo Kit in order to enable my team to collaborate more opening and respond to work with inline feedback and annotations that felt a bit more connected to the designs.

The patterns in the library enable different types of inline feedback ranging from short comments, voting, emoji reactions, stickers, sticky notes, as well as more long form patterns for documentation and notes.

How my team uses it

We have continued to evolve our internal version of the Collabo Kit at Driveway and it has become part of our culture and I can’t image designing and collaborating without it. Here are some of the common ways designers interact with the collaboration components:

  • Self evaluation and note taking while designing

  • Annotating designs

  • Design Crits

  • Team Reviews

  • Async Feedback

How you can adapt it to fit the needs of your team

Collabo Kit is intended to be a framework that you can customize and adapt to the needs of your team.

A great place to start is by building out your teams Avatars. The Avatar component is inherited my many of the kits other components. Once you have the collaboration patterns dialed in for your team, publish it as a shared library so others collaborators can start using it as well.

Are you using Collabo Kit or something similar?

If you are using Collabo Kit on personal or professional projects DM me on Twitter @derek_shirk with some screenshots of it in use and let me know what you think? Did you add any components that the kit doesn’t include? I’d love to learn about your experience with it.

Happy collaborating!