The Most Effective Way to Optimize Your Figma Prototyping

Feb 12, 2023Martín Etchegoyen

In order to optimize your Figma prototyping, there are some things that you need to do. In this article, we will show you how to make the best of your Figma prototyping. As designers, we build prototypes for a lot of different purposes such as running user tests, presenting realistic plans to stakeholders, communicating intent to developers, and the list can go on and on. Given the fact that prototypes are so important across the design process, the experience of making them needs to be quick and easy.

The Importance of Optimizing your Figma Prototyping

We always encourage you to take advantage of a large amount of Figma native features, but it is also true that you may encounter issues when loading particularly large Figma prototypes or files on some other platforms. Mobile device users in particular can struggle to open tests associated with large Figma files and their prototypes because of the relatively small amount of memory they have. On iOS devices, the memory limits implemented by Apple may cause the test to time out and crash completely or you may be returned to the welcome screen repeatedly.


You should always keep in mind that Figma files can become quite large, either because they include multiple pages with lots of additional frames, or because the prototype frames are very large and/or contain high-resolution implanted PNGs. Also, files that are too large may lead to loading issues when importing prototypes as well as when testing. Optimizing your Figma files and prototypes ensures a light testing experience, and avoids biased data such as give-ups or bounces due to performance issues.

4 Tips to Optimize Figma Prototyping

In this part, we will describe some of the most effective ways to optimize your prototypes in Figma, so it is highly advisable that you read them mindfully if you are looking for options to upgrade your prototypes in this app


1. Scrolling Content

When you are designing longer scrolling screens with fixed elements, such as status bars, headers, or footers, you can easily drag the bottom of the frame down to accommodate the extra content. If the content exceeds the height of the viewport for the device you chose, Figma will automatically scroll the frame when it is in prototype mode. Nonetheless, there will be times when you want to see what is visible in the viewport by default. That gives you a sense of what content is originally cut off when users first navigate to that prototype frame. Devices with different viewport sizes will segment the content into different places. In order to make it easy to peruse these different views, you can use a component.

Moreover, if you would like to see what content is initially visible in a scrollable frame, then do the following things. First of all, turn your scrolling content into a component. Secondly, make sure that you have set up constraints for all of the elements inside. Then, ensure "clip content" is checked in the properties panel. After you finish doing that, flip to prototyping mode and enable the scrolling direction you want by configuring the "Overflow Behavior”. Last of all, place an instance of this component within your designs and resize them to fit.    Now you can get an idea of what is in view for each device size and manage all of your scrolling content centrally with a single component.

2. Master Components

Suppose that you are designing a screen with some sort of persistent navigation, like a tab bar. You have to link each menu item to a specific frame, like linking the 'home' button back to the home frame. If that menu is repeated across multiple screens, as tab bars often are, the tiresome task of linking can take way longer than it should, but there is a much better way to do it.

Early in your process, you can turn your hamburger menu into a component. Once you have done that, link each menu item of that master component to the appropriate frame. Moving forward, any time you create an instance of the hamburger component, all the connections will automatically propagate! No more beating your head against a wall with busy work.

It is worth mentioning that this does not actually work if you are dragging an instance of a component from a team library. Because the master component is located in a different file than yours, out of the gate, you will not be able to leverage the previously mentioned tip. Instead, create a new master component with the instance from your library inside it. Figma allows you to deep-select down into the nested layers within each component, so you can still link multiple menu items from the instance without it detaching from the master.

3. Table of Contents

Prototypes in Figma are currently limited to single pages, which allows you to have different prototypes in a single document, all with their own unique URLs that you can share with people when they want to view them. But sometimes, you just want to share one link with people that lets them see multiple design options.

In order to do this in Figma, you have to create a table of contents frame as your prototype starting screen. Then, you must link each list item in the TOC to a different user flow. From the back end, Figma will interpret all of this as one prototype, but end users will experience them as different prototypes with a selection between them at the start.

4. Stimulation of Interactions

Users may feel abrupt when interacting with prototypes. Add realistic elements, such as loading screens or a short delay, to make the game seem more realistic. One light-touch way you can use to do this is through the after-delay trigger, where an interaction takes place after a set duration. Timed delays are particularly useful when paired with overlays.

Users always expect the form to take them to a confirmation page, but if that happens too suddenly they may feel disoriented. By using overlays, with manual positioning and the swap overlay feature, you are able to create a simple button interaction in tandem with timed delays. Before the confirmation page appears, the user experiences a submit interaction, a brief loading sequence, and a success message.


Now you know how to optimize your prototypes in Figma and you are ready to go upgrade our work and wait for better results.

Martín Etchegoyen

Martín Etchegoyen

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