Clarity in Design Feedback

design feedback

Despite what you might think, designers love feedback. In fact, feedback is probably the most important part of the design process. It allows you to give your opinions, make sure we’re headed in the right direction, and keep us on the same page.

Feedback is a necessary part of the design process.  In order to get to the best result, multiple rounds of conversation and revision are required to help us create something functional and aesthetically pleasing. The key here is that it isn’t just the designer doing all of this work, but a collaboration between them and you. That collaboration helps to take a good design and makes it great.

The problem is, not everyone knows how to give effective feedback. But fear not! We can help you become a feedback rockstar.

Things to think about when giving feedback:

  1. This is a partnership
    When starting any project, everyone needs to understand that we’re all going to have to do some work to get anything done. It’s not just the designer creating a UX design in a vacuum, but a collaboration between you, who has a grasp on where you want to go and where you currently are, and the designer, who brings their own viewpoint and expertise to the table.
  2. Make it a conversation, not a directive
    When giving feedback, remember that it’s part of a dialogue between yourself and the designer. Giving directives from on high doesn’t do anything but erode the partnership you’re building. Instead, voice your concerns with reasoning behind them and listen when the designer explains their initial choice. It could be that you were right and the change needs to be made but it’s just as likely that there was a purpose behind the original design choice that makes things work correctly.
  3. Be detailed
    Don’t just say “I don’t like it.” Vague feedback like this doesn’t give the designer anything to work from. Instead, they have to take shots in the dark in the hopes that something sticks. When you’re detailed in your explanation, the designer has a baseline to work from and can find a solution much quicker. Also, if you say  “make it pop,” we’re going to stop listening…
  4. Speak up!
    If you see something that you don’t understand or like, PLEASE, tell us, don’t just let it linger. When designs are being presented, THAT is the time to question them and ask for changes. Once we have design approval, things are much harder to go back and change. Moving things around in a design program is far easier than rewriting code.
  5. This isn’t for you, it’s for your customers
    We all have opinions but this is the time to check your ego at the door. You have to remember that what you like isn’t what really matters. What really matters is what your audience likes and what will get us to the goals we set out to achieve at the start of this process. So with that in mind, try to put your personal tastes aside.
  6. Prepare to be challenged
    When you give us feedback, you’re challenging our design choices. You have to be ready for us to challenge you right back. If you tell us to “make the logo bigger” the first thing we’re going to do is ask you why. We aren’t doing this to retain control or to marginalize your feedback, but to understand how making that change will help us engage your audience and to reach our goals. So we’ll bring our thick skin and you should bring yours too.

That’s it! By providing excellent feedback, you’ll find that projects go much smoother and quicker.

–Derek Heilmann

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