Behind the build: a Q&A with developer Tru Narla

We recently introduced plugins and widgets to FigJam to help teams better collaborate and connect. After building widgets internally for a few weeks, we opened up the API to a close community of external builders. We are always impressed with the Figma Community and wanted to share what they’ve come up with, so we reached out to three developers to learn more about who they are, what they built, and what they’re working on next. Read our first Q&A in the series with Tru Narla, and check out her widget on the Figma Community.

Tell us about yourself!

Hi, I’m Tru! I am currently a software engineer at Square. I love to paint and play video games. I also stream programming on Twitch! Even though I’m a developer, I use Figma almost every day for side projects, prototyping, or even to layout furniture.

What did you build and who is it for?

I built Soundboard. It’s for anyone looking to add fun sounds to their FigJam board! I eventually want to add the ability for users to record their own audio or use preset sounds.

How did you come up with the idea?

I thought it would be really fun to add something interactive and didn’t see anyone who was working on something involving just audio.

How did you start actually building it?

Reading the docs and working my way through some demo projects. It was a lot of trial and error and lowering the scope of the project due to some widget limitations, i.e. not able to record audio. I was also in a private Slack channel for people working on their own widgets and it was incredibly helpful to share code and help debug issues.

What surprised you in the process?

How easy and fun it is to build widgets. There’s definitely some room for growth, but what you can do currently is crazy and there are already so many other widgets that I can think of to work on. I’m going to work on a widget that’s basically an interactive piano. I also have many ideas for multiplayer games.

What do you hope people get out of it?

There are so many new features now that FigJam comes with. I hope my widgets provide some additional fun and interactivity!

Where do you often draw inspiration from?

Twitter! And just in my life. I usually jot down a note as soon as I think of something that I could build or prototype. I also like to build things that I would use myself.

What inspired you to build for FigJam?

I honestly was motivated to publish something. I’ve always started side projects but never launched or finished any of them. I got invited to the private widgets developer Slack and got inspiration from everyone else’s projects and I really wanted to try building something that involved sound. I ended up streaming that project and it was motivating enough to finish!

A snapshot of Tru livestreaming her project

What else are you currently working on?

I’m building an interactive piano! I want users to be able to click on the keys to play a sound as well as use keyboard shortcuts that are mapped to specific keys.

What do you want to build next?

I have some ideas for multiplayer games but they’re a little more complex and need some time to flesh out.

What do you hope someone else builds?

I really like the code embed that was announced! It’s going to make using FigJam for development/system design so much nicer. I can see myself writing tutorials or explanations to bits of code. It would be really cool to see running code in a sandbox as well.

What are you currently excited about?

How much possibility there is for FigJam and Figma. The more I see different plugins and widgets, the more that I’m inspired with new ideas on what to build. There’s so much left to do and it’s exciting!

Browse more widgets and plugins in the Figma Community, and check out all of the recent updates to the FigJam platform here.