INNOVATION

Season 2/2: Mastering Framer’s most useful features in 5 minutes

Learn how to create your new intuitive, and beautiful experiences with Framer Welcome back to our Framer blog series. In our previous blog post, we started discovering how Framer can transform the process of designing, sharing, and publishing websites and prototypes without the need for coding knowledge. Framer is a comprehensive design tool tailor-made for...

Last updated: 14 Mar 2024 - 8 mins read

Lilli Digital Marketing Intern

CONTENTS

Learn how to create your new intuitive, and beautiful experiences with Framer

Welcome back to our Framer blog series. In our previous blog post, we started discovering how Framer can transform the process of designing, sharing, and publishing websites and prototypes without the need for coding knowledge. Framer is a comprehensive design tool tailor-made for a diverse audience, including UI/UX designers, product managers, and developers. We also provided a step-by-step guide for starting a project and highlighted valuable resources for further learning. Curious to learn more? Read it here, but make sure to come back right after to learn more about Framer!

Introduction

Framer is revolutionising the way designers approach web and mobile app development. At its core, Framer is more than just a design tool, it's a comprehensive platform that empowers designers to create, prototype, and refine their ideas with an unprecedented level of precision and flexibility. Unlike traditional design software, Framer is built with the modern designer in mind, offering a rich set of features that cater to the dynamic needs of today's digital landscape. Whether crafting intricate user interfaces (UIs) or experimenting with complex animations, Framer provides the necessary toolkit to turn visionary concepts into tangible realities.

The true power of Framer, however, lies in its collaborative capabilities. Designing in isolation is a thing of the past as Framer fosters an environment where ideas can be shared, tested, and improved upon in real time. Teams can work together seamlessly, regardless of their physical location, making it an indispensable tool for remote and hybrid working models. Feedback loops are quicker, and iterations are more efficient, ensuring that the final product not only meets but exceeds user expectations. Framer's integration of design, prototyping, and collaboration not only streamlines the development process but also enhances the overall quality of web and mobile applications.

Getting familiar

Let’s get started with some of the 3 most useful features of Framer. Using all of these features will make it easier to design your website, scale it up, improve the user experience (UX) and more. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these terms we help explain it in our first blog in this series.

Stacks

Stacks in Framer simplify layout organisation. This feature allows users to arrange and space elements within a design. By enabling automatic alignment and spacing adjustments, Stacks ensure that the visual composition remains clean and consistent across different screen sizes, enhancing the overall UI without extensive manual tweaking. This helps to greatly reduce the time spent on repetitive designs of small reoccurring components on your website.

Responsive websites: 

With the diversity of devices and screen sizes, Framer offers effective tools for creating responsive websites. These tools enable designs to adapt seamlessly across different resolutions. Editing one asset can either be applied to all different breakpoints or only on one resolution, ensuring that websites look and perform optimally on any device. This feature is crucial for reaching a wider audience in today's mobile-first world. But more about that later in this guide

Templates

Templates are a great way to get started with the design process. Framer provides an extensive library of templates made by the community or themselves. These pre-designed layouts are tailor-made to satisfy a wide range of uses, from simple landing pages to complex applications. Templates not only speed up the development time frame but also inspire users to get creative with their designs.

Responsive design in framer:

As has been aforementioned, we’ll be delving a little deeper into responsive design. Responsive design in Framer is a critical aspect of creating the optimal UX for your website, ensuring that digital products provide the best viewing experience across a variety of devices.

Understanding responsive design:

Reusable design elements or groups of elements that can be replicated across your project. Components can have properties and interactions defined, streamlining the design process.

One of the key features Framer offers for responsive design is the ability to set constraints. These are rules applied to UI elements to decide how they should resize or reposition themselves relative to their parent frame (the frame where other frames are residing). Breakpoints further enhance this by allowing designers to specify different layouts or styles that should trigger at certain screen widths. This combination ensures that, regardless of the device, your design remains coherent and accessible.

Best practices

To create responsive designs in Framer, start by familiarising yourself with constraints. They ensure elements within your design maintain their intended position and size relative to other elements, providing a fluid and consistent experience across different screen sizes. Then you can focus on your breakpoints that should be employed to cater to various devices, from the smallest smartphone to the largest desktop monitor. Designing for key breakpoints ensures that your website or app looks great and functions well, whether it's being viewed on a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

After that, start regular testing on actual devices to understand how your designs perform in real-world conditions. Framer’s preview options allow you to simulate how your design adapts across different screen sizes, but nothing beats testing on physical devices for accurate feedback.

https://youtu.be/rEjd7QRxtDY

Prototyping Basics

Components: 

Components in Framer are the building blocks of design systems, allowing for the creation of reusable elements that maintain consistency across different projects. The integration of "variants" and "states" takes customisation and interactivity a step further.

Variants allow designers to define different versions of a single Component, each tailored for specific use cases or design requirements. This feature enables a streamlined approach to managing changes in a component’s appearance or functionality based on user interaction or context. For example, a button component might have several variants, such as default, hover, and pressed, each with distinct styles or animations. 

States refer to the different conditions that a component can be in during user interaction. Framer enhances the functionality of Components by allowing designers to easily toggle between these states within the design process. States are closely tied to the logic of user interactions, enabling components to respond dynamically to actions like clicking, hovering, or dragging. This responsiveness is key to creating interfaces that feel intuitive and alive to the end user.

Animations:

Many other platforms allow for a website to have animations, but with those platforms, there is often a tradeoff between ease of use and customisation. Framer's animation capabilities stand out due to their ease of use, regardless of experience, while still maintaining a vast range of creative possibilities. These animation capabilities allow for the creation of smooth and engaging transitions between states in an interface. With its intuitive timeline and auto-animation features, designers can craft detailed animations that enhance the UX, making interactions feel more natural and responsive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy34dSrFt5Y

Collaborating in Framer

Team projects and real-time collaboration

Framer's team projects feature enables collaborative design efforts. It allows multiple designers to work on the same project simultaneously, in real time. kickstarting a team project is as simple as inviting members to your workspace by clicking the “Invite” button on the top right side of your canvas. Once set up, team members can dive into designing together, making live edits that everyone can see and contribute to instantly.

Feedback loops

Central to the repetitive design process is the ability to share prototypes and efficiently collect feedback. Framer excels in this area by providing tools that allow designers to share their work with team members, stakeholders, or clients and gather their input seamlessly. This feedback can be integrated directly into the design process, ensuring that the final product aligns with the project goals and user needs.

Utilising comments and versioning

Many other platforms allow for a website to have animations, but with those platforms, there is often a tradeoff between ease of use and customisation. Framer's animation capabilities stand out due to their ease of use, regardless of experience, while still maintaining a vast range of creative possibilities. These animation capabilities allow for the creation of smooth and engaging transitions between states in an interface. With its intuitive timeline and auto-animation features, designers can craft detailed animations that enhance the UX, making interactions feel more natural and responsive.

Conclusion

The platform facilitates a structured feedback loop through features like comments and version control. Comments allow for specific, context-based feedback on design elements, making it easier for designers to understand and implement suggestions. Versioning, on the other hand, tracks the progress of the project, allowing teams to navigate through different stages of the design, compare versions, and revert changes if necessary.

Collaboration in Framer dictates how we approach design projects, making teamwork more seamless and productive. By engaging in real-time collaboration and utilising feedback loops, your design process becomes a shared journey, enriched by collective insights. Using comments and versioning within Framer enhances decision-making, allowing for designs that truly resonate with users. As you delve deeper into Framer’s capabilities, let this experience inspire you to explore, experiment, and push the boundaries of what's possible in digital design. In doing so, you contribute to a future where digital experiences are not just seen but felt, across any platform and device.

Check out Framer’s website and get started with designing your own digital dream website!

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