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Figma Takes Down AI Tool After It Creates App Mock-Ups That Eerily Resemble iOS Weather App

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Figma launched a new interface and several new artificial intelligence (AI) tools on June 26, in its third significant redesign since its inception. However, soon after the launch, one of the AI tools, dubbed Make Design, which can conjure app mock-ups from textual prompts, received flak online. Several netizens claimed that the AI-generated app mock-ups appeared eerily similar to the iOS apps. The company responded to the criticisms by taking down the AI tool and the company CEO Dylan Field has responded to the allegations.

The Issue With Figma’s Make Design AI Tool

The Make Design tool, as per the company, is an AI-powered feature that enables users to add a text prompt and generate user-interface layouts and component options complete with an app mock-up. The tool was designed to help users get a rough design of the app before they can fine-tune it as per their preference and use case.

Figma AI looks rather heavily trained on existing apps.

This is a “weather app” using the new Make Designs feature and the results are basically Apple’s Weather app (left). Tried three times, same results.

— Andy Allen (@asallen) July 1, 2024

However, in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), Andy Allen, the Co-Founder and CEO of Not Boring Software, claimed that the Figma tool was generating mock-ups of apps that closely resembled existing apps. In one instance, the requested weather app design appeared very similar to the iOS Weather app.

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Figma CEO Responds to the Allegations, Takes Down Make Design

In response, the website and app builder took down the AI tool. CEO Field also posted a series of posts on X to address the issue as well as to respond to the allegations. Claiming, “the accusations around data training in this tweet are false,” to Allen’s post, he highlighted that the company had mentioned before that the AI tool was not trained on Figma content, community files, or app designs. Instead, the company commissioned third-party AI models and design systems.

According to him, the main issue was the low variability of the Make Design tool, which was caused by using an off-the-shelf large language model (LLM). Acknowledging his fault in not running quality analysis (QA) tests of the feature properly before release, he added that the feature was temporarily disabled. “We will re-enable it when we have completed a full QA pass on the underlying design system,” Field added.

In simple words, the Figma CEO claimed that the issues with the generation occurred because the company did not have the knowledge of where the training data came from. The company outsourced both the AI models and the data from design systems.

For now, the Make Designs AI tool is not available to Figma users. The company will likely run a full-scale QA pass on the system to identify whether the training data of the design systems or pre-training data of the AI model was configured using existing app designs. If this turns out to be the case, users might have to wait a long time before Figma can fix these foundational issues.

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