How to give good design feedback

good designer feedback

Design is a collaborative process between you – the client – and the designer. In my last post, I shared tools and checkpoints for project feedback. This post will cover the more delicate art of how to provide feedback that will help your designer – and save you headaches and project time. Before we start, you should know:

We want to make you happy.
The best part of my designer life is hearing a client say, “Wow. This is exactly what we wanted. You nailed it.”

I do my best to hit that goal with each project I touch.

Still, standards must apply.
I never forget that my job is to make you look good. That means adhering to coding standards and user-friendly design, and sticking to your brand. If your feedback moves you outside that realm, I’ll ask you for details to help me understand your reasoning. I’ll work to identify a solution that will meet your goals while following best practices.

We love direct.
I love to hear your thoughts, even if the news isn’t pretty. Don’t be shy to let me know if something is headed in the wrong direction – sooner rather than later.

So, that’s us. Now, here are a few tips that will help us when you give feedback.

Specific is terrific.

The more specific your feedback, the better. Quality design feedback operates on many of the same best practices as the feedback you’d give your employees. Don’t like an image? Say why: “This image is too dark;” “This image doesn’t reflect the product well;” or “This image overlaps the text.”

Two of those problems will mean changing the image. The third might be fixed with coding for break points or photo editing. To make good decisions when revising a design, we need to know “the why.”

Need a framework? I love the “agile user story” format. It’s easy to digest and gets all the pieces into place.

As a [role of speaker], I need [what you want], so that I can [why you want it].

Provide examples.

Share examples of things you like to help steer the design toward your taste. Relevant examples can provide inspiration for your project. The best examples come from comparable industry or business work. Explain why you like them so we can understand which design elements strike a chord.

The finished product is a negotiation.

The best results come from tapping into your product, market and industry knowledge, and your designer’s talent, expertise and trend awareness. The finished product should be a good blend. Your designer should respect your knowledge, and we work best when you respect ours!

Great design is a team effort. Hopefully, these tips will help steer your project in the right direction and enable you to get the most from your team of experts. Have more tips? Share them in the comments below.

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