5 Tips for Providing Better Design Feedback
Feedback is an incredibly valuable part of the design process, but as a client knowing how to get the most out of your opportunity to input isn’t always obvious. At The Pixel Parlour peer review is fundamental to how we develop our designs. Before a client sees anything we produce someone else in our team will already have cast a critical eye over the work. So it’s fair to say that over the past few years we’ve got into the rhythm of providing fast, focused, actionable feedback that helps quickly improve and move a design forward. Here are our top tips for contributing positively to any design project, whether that’s a website, an email or print materials.
Keeping feedback focused and specific will ensure that it is more easily actionable. To achieve this try and avoid very broad comments like “this page needs work” or “the font isn’t right”. These may be perfectly valid issues, but in this form they lack the necessary detail to find a solution. By including the reasoning behind your comments you’ll be adding that extra dimension that will help your designer to take action. For example: “the font isn’t right, it feels a bit too traditional for the image we’re trying to achieve”, provides a lot more information to work with.
As a client you should never be afraid to suggest solutions to potential design issues, but it is important to also remain open to alternatives. Sometimes prescribing a specific approach might seem like the quickest way to move forward but you want to avoid closing off from potentially better solutions. Finding answers to tricky design challenges is what makes us tick, so take advantage of that.
See the bigger picture
The most useful feedback brings a fresh perspective, without bias. A design always has to find a balance between competing priorities so in your feedback it’s important to consider this bigger picture. By thinking about your target audience and the aims of your project ahead of personal preference you’ll help to ensure that the final product delivers the best results.
Keep it constructive
How you frame your feedback will inevitably affect how it is received. Designers are used to taking criticism of their work on the chin as part of the design process. But it’s fair to say that some types of language are unnecessary and potentially damaging to a working relationship. Keep comments even-tempered and you’ll find your designer is likely to be much more receptive.
Say what you like
Last of all, and perhaps the most often overlooked aspect of good design feedback, remember to say what you like. Understanding which aspects of a design you believe work can be hugely valuable to a designer in solving other issues. You’ll also ensure that these elements aren’t lost as a design develops.
Getting into the rhythm of providing effective feedback can be like hitting fast-forward on the design process, helping you achieve the right results quicker and your budget go further. Every collaborative relationship is different but the fundamentals of being specific, thoughtful, constructive and open in your feedback will be welcomed by any designer.
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