Figma Support Forum

Multiplayer mode and emotional triggers

TL;DR

I’d love to hear thoughts from Figma users that are dealing with anxiety caused by the multiplayer feature - if there is anyone.

_

I’ve been searching without success for discussions or articles about this topic, so I decided to make my first post to see if anyone feels the same.

While I see multiplayer mode as one of the most innovative features ever for design processes and collaboration (especially during pandemic remote work), it has also created several anxiety triggers for me due to excessive-always-on collaboration. Every time I see an avatar or a cursor popping out, my anxiety hits me badly.

I’ve been working with digital + web design for some years now, so naturally experimented with dozens of design software and tools and none of them caused me this type of feeling.

I wonder if the Figma team got any user feedback or data about this, but sometimes I have the feeling that it’s a burden because it empowers non-designers, especially managers and CEOs (that can fire you, you know what I mean…), to collaborate too much.

On several occasions I found myself being real-time pixel pushed/maneuvered during video calls. On others, I woke the next day to find my designs completely changed (blessed be version history). Also, people clicking and editing the same elements, at the same time as me, is disturbingly annoying and feels like a tug of war.

As a quick turnaround for this, I started making private copies to work and focus on my own, but everyone is aware of the feature, so they will ask you to keep it shared.

Does anyone feel this or am I alone? Certainly, it’s a personal struggle, but I think an option to turn off the multiplayer feature, not only the avatars/cursors, would solve this problem for the sake of my mental health.

3 Likes
1 Like

Thanks for sharing this @timburg82. While it’s not something we hear a ton of, I can definitely see how in certain instances multiplayer mode could feel more anxiety-inducing than helpful.

This is one of the reasons why we have a drafts space which is private by default and requires an explicit action to enable sharing/multiplayer mode. I use drafts all the time especially when I want to test something out and don’t want to clutter the teams space or cause any confusion by having it open.

I haven’t heard of specific cases though where teams were requiring everyone to always work in the open and not utilize drafts or other private spaces.

As far as being able to turn off multiplayer mode, how would you see that working? Would it be a temporary thing? Would editors who have access to the file no longer be able to access it? Would this action be limited to the file owner, or would anyone be able to turn it off?

I’m curious to learn more about how you’re thinking about this. :blush:

1 Like

Hey Josh, thanks for the reply!

About the draft mode, it works best for my freelance or personal work. During my last two professional experiences, which my team used Figma, this feature was used by bosses and upper-level coworkers to micromanage my online presence by following me via observe mode.

One of them had dedicated monitors, creepy. So I thought this was stepping into some serious privacy issues, besides the whole anxiety thing. In some companies, upward feedback is not accepted, so you just have to accept things or look for another job.

I’m not saying this has something to do with Figma, necessarily. I just believe this feature was designed with good intention, but some or few people are buying it for a wrong and abusive purpose.

As far as being able to turn off multiplayer mode, how would you see that working? Would it be a temporary thing? Would editors who have access to the file no longer be able to access it? Would this action be limited to the file owner, or would anyone be able to turn it off?

I like all your ideas, especially the “temporary thing”, but I can’t say how they would be implemented. Maybe it could be turned off when the user is in edit mode. FigJam does this iterative process perfectly, so maybe a plugin that makes the Figma file content frames exported as static images or instances to a FigJam board.

While going through this, I thought about something similar to developers git-flow: developers work alone in teams that use the same codebase (Figma file), each one of them has their own separate branch (maybe a user track or copy with authentication) that can be merged into the main branch. With this, they supposedly work simultaneously and separately in peace and can “iterate” sometimes during code review or pair programming.

Anyways… I still love Figma, I just wanted to share this experience and some ideas :slight_smile:

1 Like

A simple way to hide your avatar from appearing to others would be easiest. Others could still work on files and collaborate with others but the “stalking” part would be more difficult and “screen watching” would be impossible.