AI: The Next Chapter in Design

Just as Adobe acquired Figma, Figma has acquired Diagram, a startup using AI to create design. Noah Levin, VP of product design at Figma, talks about its vision for the future of design.

Somewhat paradoxically, emerging AI technology like ChatGPT is moving us away from the websites and apps that make up the bulk of our current digital experiences back to what we’ve been doing since the dawn of Google: typing in questions and getting answers.

AI can more seamlessly bridge the gap between intention and action. Today, calling an Uber to the airport requires deciding that you need a ride, opening the app, setting your location, evaluating the options, and requesting a car, but the user really just wants to say, “Get me to JFK.” As product builders, we’ll need to ask ourselves: Can AI deliver that same—or perhaps an even better—user experience with fewer clicks and decisions?

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle is how product roles and collaboration might change in the age of AI. At Figma, we believe the personas and workflows of those who do product design and development will shift. More people will become visual creators, and existing designers will be able to create more ambitious experiences than ever before.

One way to think about it is the total space of design having a ceiling and a floor: The ceiling is how good a designer can be at designing, which is constrained by the available tooling; the floor is the minimum skill required for someone to participate in design. AI will lift this ceiling, leading to more creative outputs made possible by more powerful tools; it will also lower the floor, making it easier for anyone to design and visually collaborate.

The end result, in effect, will be a shared space–and bringing people into this shared design space means we’re truly working in the same place. It’s a trajectory that feels natural to Figma, where real-time collaboration has blurred the boundaries between roles and building products increasingly becomes a shared responsibility.

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