Earlier this month, we held our first user conference, Config. As our user base has grown, we’ve been looking for more opportunities to connect in person. While we’ve met many of you at events around the world, this was the first time that over 1,000 of us came together to learn, share, and explore in one place. Whether you joined in person or online, we were impressed with the way you all showed up to workshop, chat, learn, and laugh with us—thank you. (And if you couldn't make it, don't worry, you can watch all of the recorded sessions here).
When we first set out to organize a user conference, our goal was to create a physical manifestation of the community, a space to have meaningful conversations on topics like team culture, mentorship, and design ethics. Another must-have was making sure that every Figma employee had a chance to hear from our users, and that our users got to meet each other.
More than anything, it was a conference by and for the community. Instead of building out a set agenda, we leaned on you all to bring Config to life. When we announced Config, we made a call for ideas; many of the workshops, lightning talks, and roundtable discussions were the product of your submissions. We wanted you all to take an active role, and you did—it wasn’t just about listening to talks and presentations, but participating in and contributing to a collective discussion.
That discussion centered on open design. Developing “openly” has long been a theme in engineering, but it’s relatively new to design. This concept of sharing, remixing, and building on each other’s work showed up in a number of sessions: Devon Zuegel taught us how open source extends beyond the digital world to urban planning and physical infrastructure; Jason Kunesh recalled how students became an extension of the City of Chicago’s design team and built a design system when his team was under-resourced; Miguel Solorio shared how Microsoft brought the community into the design process.
We were encouraged to think more broadly about community as well. Craig Mod reminded us that technology makes it all too easy to isolate ourselves: “Smart phones are teleportation devices, which is great if you’re somewhere you don’t want to be.” It’s up to us to use technology not to escape, but to connect more deeply with those around us. Finally, May-Li Khoe shared how she joyfully subverts the status quo while supporting the communities she cares about and encouraged us to think about what we can do for our own.
Thank you to everyone who came out, and to the team at Figma who made Config happen. Whether you flew in from overseas, commuted from another part of the Bay Area, or followed along online, we’re so grateful to have you as part of this community.
Stay tuned for more on some of the topics we covered at Config. In the meantime, you can watch the Config sessions here.