Figma Campus 1.0 — Design Empathy

What do designers do when they gather? They compose themselves. 😁

It was a bright and sunny Wednesday afternoon in Rivers State University, and designers (and design enthusiasts) have converged at the Computer Science Laboratory, the venue for the first Figma Design meet-up on campus. The call that brought out the creatives had been put out some weeks ago and they’ve all shown up with one common expectation; that they’ll better understand what it means to be empathetic designers. And so they did…

Design Empathy: a deep understanding of the problems and realities of the people you are designing for.

Things got rolling proper with an introductory talk by me on how Design is Lifeand how we are all designers. I explained how design (the design of everyday things) is all around us and how as individuals we design daily. It could be as simple as matching clothes properly so as not to end up looking like a rainbow that fell off the sky or properly drawing brows that be on fleek, regardless, we all practice the concepts of design. I wrapped up my session by stating clearly that although we may all be designers by default, not all of us are professional designers capable of producing great designs. Such height is only attainable through constant study, practice and practice and practice.

Great design is form and function entangled in a marriage of harmony. It is design that is easy on the eyes and easy to use. Great design is intentional. Great design can only be possible with design empathy.

Up next was perrie fidelis, who spoke brilliantly about Design Thinking and how it is an approach to creative problem solving that puts human needs at the focal centre of the design process. She carefully took everyone present through the 5-step process professional designers use when practicing design thinking and made well to highlight the importance of testing (and iterating) in the design processShe rounded up by reminding us all that design should be more than how it looks, but more about how it works for the intended users.

To lighten the mood and keep the fun intact, we played some games between talks. We had some nice riddles and some smart people won some cool prizes. But the fun didn’t end there as Richard Tamunotonye was yet to deliver his talk on User Experience Design.

Richard got us all caught up on the essentials of User Experience (UX) Design and how to get started. Using his Silverbird Case Study project, he took us through the UX design process and explained how designers use it to design for humans and not machines. By the end of the talk we all knew the importance of UX design, how it helps solve problems and how to incorporate it into our projects.

Three talks down the line, and it was obvious that everyone was more knowledgeable and much more hungry than they came into the event hall. So while something light for refreshment was going round, more games were played and some more prizes won.

We finally got to the last talk of the day; the one many had been waiting for: A Live Demo on How to Collaborate with Figma.

Live demo of how to Collaborate with Figma

Figma is a collaborative interface design tool that lives in the browser. It has totally changed the game of interface design and has made collaboration and feedback gathering seamlessly easy.

Being a live demo talk and one about collaboration, it was aptly handled by two smart designers; Brown Samson Dappa and Sarah Temitope. They showed us how easy it is to start designing with Figma and how even more easy it to collaborate using Figma. As part of their demo, they designed a simple login screen, and showed everyone how easy Figma makes feedback gathering and reviewing. And the end of their talk, all those new to Figma couldn’t wait to try it out and design great things with it.

Sadly, all good things come to an end, as we had to bring the event to a close. We’d had fun, learnt new things and made new friends. All of which would not have been possible without the support of the good folks at Ingressive and Figma. Nigeria has truly become the Design Capital of Africa, and it’s only a matter of time before we take over the world.

Super thanks to our awesome Community Manager, Adewale Abati ♠ for his support and understanding.

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