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Figma Hover Effect: A Step-By-Step Guide To Make Your UI Feel More Alive

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
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Do you want to create a Figma hover effect, but you don’t know how? Your design is almost ready, but without hover effects, it still feels one-dimensional and boring?

While Figma is a versatile tool, it can be confusing when you’re trying to create a specific effect for the first time.  It’s always frustrating when the path to realizing your vision gets obscured by technical complexities.

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you how to make hover effects in Figma easily. My Los Angeles web design company is using Figma for all of our projects, and I’ll teach you a method I found most effective for adding a dynamic touch to your UI elements.

By the end of this guide, you’ll not only master how to make a hover effect in Figma but also understand which UI elements will benefit the most from it. Once you complete these five steps with my guidance, you’ll be able to craft Figma hover effects with confidence every time you need them.

Table of Contents:
Figma Hover Effect

UI Elements That Can Look Better With Figma Hover Effects

Hover effects, like many other web page effects, are not something most users immediately notice.

However, they’re one of the cornerstones of modern UI design.

Hover effects can make your web designs feel more alive and also subtly guide visitors throughout the journey – clarifying which elements are interactive and beckoning them to explore further.

  • Buttons: The most common yet impactful elements that benefit from hover effects are buttons. A button hover effect can significantly improve usability by providing instant visual feedback to users, indicating that the button is clickable.
  • Icons: Adding hover effects to icons can enrich user interaction, offering hints or additional information when the user pauses over them. This can be particularly effective in navigation menus or toolbars.
  • Galleries: Hover effects have become an essential design choice for image galleries. Pinterest is an excellent example. Hovering over an image can trigger overlays with descriptions, additional images, or icons, prompting the user to take action, such as enlarging the image or moving to the next one.
  • Dropdown menus: Dropdown menus are essential for efficient navigation, and hover effects can streamline the user experience by revealing options or submenus dynamically. This interaction feels natural and helps keep the interface clean and organized. It helps you avoid overwhelming users and keep them on your website for longer.

Develop A Clear Plan Before You Start Making A Hover Effect In Figma

Hover effects should not be afterthoughts; they should be integral parts of your design strategy.

Ideally, you’ll have your design ready before you start making a hover effect in Figma. This will make it easier to decide which style you want and ensure a great user experience.

What do you want your users to feel and do? Each effect should have a purpose, whether it’s to encourage clicks, provide information, or enhance navigability.

Before you jump into Figma, take a moment to sketch or outline the desired effects and interactions. Which elements need that extra touch? How will the hover effect complement the overall design? Planning these interactions upfront can save you time and ensure your design is cohesive and aligned with your project’s objectives.

Also, you should understand the basics of how to use Figma for web design before diving deeper into hover effects.

How To Create A Hover Effect In Figma – 5 Simple Steps

Now, let’s explore five steps to making a hover effect in Figma. Keep in mind that this is a universal method you can use to create Figma hover effects for various UI elements.

1. Create A Frame And Design The Default State Of Your UI Element

Creating a frame in Figma

First, you need to prepare a design for the element you want to add hover effect to. Create the frame and design the default state of your element.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the Frame Tool: Look for the frame tool in Figma’s toolbar or simply press the F key on your keyboard to activate it. This tool is your starting point for creating distinct sections within your design, allowing for an organized and efficient design workflow.
  2. Draw Your Frame: Click and drag on the canvas to draw a frame. This frame will act as the container for your UI element. Think of it as the stage where your hover effect will come to life.
  3. Design the Default State: Now, with your frame set, it’s time to design the default state of your UI element within this frame. Whether it’s a button, icon, or any other element, ensure it clearly communicates its purpose even without the hover effect. This state is what users will see initially, so it should be intuitive and align with your overall design aesthetic.

2. Create Component Variants

After setting up your element’s default state, the next step is to create variants as Figma components.

It’s crucial to remember not to put these variants inside the original frame you created for the default state. Instead, you’ll be working with them as separate entities. This separation allows you to manage and modify each state’s properties without affecting the others directly.

So, you need to have a default state component plus a variant component with a color change, for example.

You can convert your UI element into a component by selecting it and using the keyboard shortcut  Ctrl + Alt + K(Windows).

3. Add A Hover State

How to add a hover state in Figma

With your component variants ready, the next pivotal step is to add a hover state to your UI element.

To add a hover state in Figma, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to Prototype Mode: At the top of the Figma interface, you’ll find the ‘Prototype’ tab. Click on it to enter the prototyping environment where you can define interactions between different elements and states of your design.
  2. Link the Variants: Locate the default state of your UI element and drag the connector (a small circle that appears when you hover over the component) from it to its hover state variant. This action creates a link between the two states, signaling to Figma how the element should transition upon user interaction.
  3. Set the Interaction Trigger: Once you’ve made the connection, a new menu will appear. Here, you need to specify the type of interaction that triggers the state change. Select ‘While hovering’ from the dropdown menu as the trigger. This setting instructs Figma to switch to the hover state variant when a user places their cursor over the element.
  4. Choose Interaction Type: After setting ‘While hovering’ as the trigger, you’ll also need to select ‘Open Overlay’ as the interaction type. This choice is crucial as it dictates how the hover state appears in relation to the default state. ‘Open Overlay’ allows the hover state to be displayed on top of the default state, creating a seamless transition that doesn’t disrupt the layout or flow of your design.

4. Add Animation To The Figma Hover Effect

With the hover state in place, it’s time to elevate your Figma hover effect by introducing animation. Animation adds a layer of sophistication to your designs, making transitions between states not just noticeable but also engaging and fluid.

In the right sidebar, under the ‘Design’ tab, you’ll find options like “Fill,” “Stroke,” and “Effects.” These options allow you to modify the visual properties of your hover state. For instance, changing the “Fill” can alter the element’s color, while adjusting the “Stroke” can modify its border.

Think about how you want the element to animate between the default and hover states. Do you want it to grow in size, change color, or perhaps move slightly? This decision will guide which properties you adjust. For example, to create a growth effect, you would increase the element’s size in the hover state.

5. Preview And Adjust Your Hover Effect

Previewing and adjusting Figma hover effect

This phase is where you get to see your design in action, allowing you to make critical adjustments.

  1. Look for the “Play” button, located at the top-right corner of the Figma interface. Clicking this button launches the preview mode, effectively bringing your design to life right before your eyes.
  2. With the preview window open, hover your cursor over the UI element you’ve applied the hover effect to. This action triggers the animation, allowing you to observe the transition between the default and hover states in real-time. Pay close attention to how the effect looks and behaves—does it transition smoothly? Is the animation speed too fast or too slow? These are the types of questions to keep in mind.
  3. Return to your design and make the necessary tweaks to the hover state variant, the animation settings, or both.

Previewing and adjusting your hover effect is typically not a one-and-done process. It may take several iterations to get everything just right. It’s also worth learning Figma to HTML conversion to ensure your designs fully shine once they go live on a website.

Advanced Techniques To Make Your Figma Hover Effects More Immersive

Now let’s explore some advanced techniques I’ve been experimenting with at Alpha Efficiency to create modern-looking user interfaces for our clients.

Using Drag Triggers For Figma Hover Effects

This technique allows you to create hover animations in Figma that respond to mouse movements.  Drag triggers activate when a user clicks and drags across an element. They’re great for adding interactive layers to your designs, offering a tactile feel to user interactions.

An everyday example of this type of interaction can be seen in Gmail. In the desktop version, once you drag a message it allows you to move it across different folders. In the mobile version, the message appears once you try to swipe items in your inbox, informing you that this way you can delete the item.

It’s a worthy option if you’re designing a slider, a scrolling gallery, or any component that could use an extra touch of responsiveness,

Implementing drag triggers for hover effects in Figma is simple.

You only need to navigate to the Prototype tab and select ‘Drag’ as a trigger.

Overlay Effects Allow You To Display Content When User Hovers Over An Element

If you want to display additional content or information in a dynamic, context-sensitive manner when a user hovers over a specific UI element, using overlay effects in Figma is crucial.

Let’s say you’re designing an online store, and you want to implement a product image. With overlay effects, hovering over this image could reveal a closer look at the product’s features, display pricing information, or even show user reviews without necessitating a click. This can significantly improve user experience on your site.

To craft such an overlay effect in Figma, start by selecting the layer or group where you wish the hover-triggered content to appear.

Next, venture into the “Prototype” panel located on the right-hand sidebar of your workspace. Here, you’ll find the option to choose “Open Overlay” as the trigger type.

This is your gateway to setting up the desired overlay effect, be it a tooltip, an expanded card, or any custom-designed pop-up that enriches the user’s interaction with your element.

Is Your Figma Hover Effect Not Working? Here Are Potential Solutions

While creating Figma hover effects is quite simple, even a small misstep can cause your UI elements to not work as intended. Here’s what you should do to troubleshoot and get your hover effects in Figma working smoothly again:

  1. Check if you’ve set up interaction properly. It’s not uncommon to link wrong frames or forget to check the ‘While hovering’ trigger.
  2. Next, check the order of your layers and ensure the layer with the hover effect is on top.
  3. Check if there are any other interactions conflicting with your Figma hover effect. This usually happens if you use several effects on the same element. Try to find a compromising solution.

Final Thoughts

Adding a hover effect in Figma is a powerful way to infuse your user interfaces with a sense of dynamism and interactivity. These subtle yet impactful effects can significantly enhance the user experience, making every interaction with your UI feel more engaging and intuitive.

But don’t stop with basic hover effects in Figma. Experimenting with different types of hover effects – be it color changes, animations, or overlay reveals – can uncover unique ways to captivate your audience.

In this article, I’ve outlined the general steps you must follow to add hover effect in Figma. Now, it’s up to you to keep pushing the boundaries of creativity and come up with unique designs.

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