Published June 5th, 2024, Motiff insights

Pricing philosophy of Motiff

Ryan Zhang
Ryan Zhang

Before delving into our pricing philosophy, let's check Motiff's pricing structure one more time:

Next, I want to share some thoughts on Motiff's pricing strategy by addressing a series of questions.

Why is the basic features priced much lower than Figma?

Given the similarity of basic features offered by Motiff to those of Figma, pricing comparisons are inevitable.

Whenever I ponder the pricing of a product or encounter questions, a saying by Warren Buffett enlightens me. I prefer to interpret this saying in another way: "The price is a part of the User Value".

So, what value does Motiff offer to its users?

  1. 1.Motiff AI: As a design tool for the AI era, we hope AI can bring unprecedented value to interface design creativity. Hence, AI capabilities represent the core value we aim to deliver to our users.
  2. 2.Motiff Basics: As a professional collaborative design tool, Motiff offers a comprehensive high-performance editor and a Dev Mode exclusive to developers, in homage to Figma’s leadership in setting industry standards.

Basic features are represent as the fundamental value Motiff delivers to its users. These are the professional tools our users rely on for detailed design work daily.

Imagine, a decade from now, the UI field might witness numerous AI-driven design tools. By then, we would regard these professional collaborative features (currently referred to as Motiff Basics) as the "standard package" of a design tool — just like today, when mobile scaling, graphic tools, text tools, etc., are considered "standard" in any UI design tool.

Years ago, Figma introduced a collaborative UI design tool, including features like collaboration and Auto Layout, which brought new value to users and thus set a new price bar. Today, by offering these basic functionalities, I believe Motiff's current pricing accurately matches the value of a "standard package", while we strive to offer better performance and foundational experiences.

As AI introduces new values, professional collaborative features of interface design tools will become the "standard package", and the prices for these "standard packages" will gradually return to represent their value as such.

The above is the essential reason why we offer a fair price for our basic functions.

Thus, we arrive at the heart of our philosophy: offering a fair price for our basic services.

When will the limited time free AI features start to charge?

As a novel technological product, we need more early adopters to experience and validate our AI features, which is the primary reason for the limited-time free offer.

Returning to the issue of "value", we believe the value brought by AI could be radically different. In the past, the value of professional tools was more about "efficiency," whether improving the efficiency of individual professional users or teams.

AI will certainly enhance efficiency again. Meanwhile, as AI capabilities have expanded to generating content or providing creative ideas, it might become the "productivity" itself — AI will become an assistant to professional users, directly handling part of the work.

Therefore, we are confident that AI will create considerable new value. However, we will be more cautious about starting to charge for AI features for two reasons:

  • Because the "value" generated by AI will be significant, and we are already charging for basic functionalities, we are not in a rush to "charge for AI".
  • We need to be very confident that AI capabilities create enough value for professional users before considering pricing to match value. Thus, we won't just charge when we confirm "user interest", although AI is always very intriguing, but interest doesn't necessarily mean long-term value.

Future Pricing for AI Features

Honestly, we have not decided yet, but roughly confirm that AI functionality will have separate pricing.

The reason for separate pricing is our optimism about the enormous potential inherent in AI. As mentioned, AI will not only help improve efficiency in the future but might also become productivity itself. Therefore, the productivity AI brings to different businesses may vary according to different needs, and even the needs of the same business at different stages might vary.

Partially charging based on "usage" intuitively makes sense, a model tools like Notion are exploring. However, the challenge is the cost of user understanding. For instance, if we say using "AI Reduplication" costs users one "usage" unit, how many units should "AI Design System Creator" consume – 5 or 30? Although Motiff's AI features are currently free for a limited time, limiting the number of uses for different AI features doesn't necessarily mean we will charge based on usage frequency in the future.

On the other hand, pricing will also be influenced by the computational costs of AI. But as believers in Moore's Law, we trust that prices in the future won't be significantly limited by computational costs but will return more to the value itself provided to users.

How does Dev Mode pricing determined?

Figma's introduction Dev Mode created new value for front-end engineers. Returning to "the price is a part of the User Value", I think it's reasonable to charge separately for this part. Motiff treats the Dev Mode as another aspect of the "standard package" value we offer to users; hence we also price the Dev Mode separately.

However, we also closely monitored some of Figma's veteran users' criticisms regarding charges for Figma's Dev Mode and even some developer users "returning" to Zeplin.

The core issue here is the "amount of value". The number of front-end engineers in a team needing the Dev Mode is usually more than five times the number of product designers. Consequently, veteran Figma users choosing to pay for the Dev Mode might see their bills triple or even more.

If users can't clearly feel 'three times the value’ but are quickly exposed to 'three times the price', it's inevitable that there will be some pushback against the pricing. Considering this, the unit price of one Dev Mode seat in Motiff is set below 25% of a design seat. We believe this price better matches the current value the Dev Mode brings to teams.

At the same time, we are very optimistic about the future value AI in Dev Mode can offer developers.

For example, Motiff's AI layout also has the foundational capability to transition "Free-form Design" into "Structured Code". And current LLM have already shown unlimited potential in the coding domain. Only when "triple the value" or even greater value is genuinely realized will we consider a new pricing strategy.

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