Last updated on September 15th, 2020
Design feedback is an integral part of any successful design project. It gives an opportunity to evaluate a design solution to appeal to a specific market. How do you get effective feedback in the right way? This article will help you with some useful suggestions.
If you’re a graphic designer, feedback can be a frustrating part of your project. It may feel like a battle against your designs — resulting in a compromised outcome. On one hand, you want feedback to finalize your project and make it the best and on the other hand, the feedback from clients can be obscure and frustrating. The challenge is to decode what the client really wants and to receive helpful feedback.
Why Feedback Is So Important?
‘Feedback’ is helpful information from an individual, communicated to another individual who can use that information to adjust and improve their actions and behavior. Feedback is an opportunity to see our work from a different perspective.
But, what exactly is effective feedback?
“Effective feedback is not praise or criticism. It is a carefully chosen language and actions that propel the learner forward.” — Regie Routman
Here are a few things that happen when an effective design feedback is shared between a designer and client:
i. Helps designers think more broadly.
ii. Builds a shared responsibility for the result.
iii. Shows different perspective to improve the process.
iv. Increases collaboration and speeds up the rounds.
v. Deepens the mutual respect.
vi. Helps designers improve their skills over time.
Tips To Receive Meaningful Design Feedback Without Being Frustrated
You cannot control what feedback you’ll receive, but you can decide how to get a meaningful one and how to deal with it. Here are some tips for the designers when you receive feedback.
01. Bringing Your Review Process In A Proofing Tool
It is quite challenging to manage feedback particularly for design approvals and email is a terrible way. If you’re working remotely or in any kind of team where you are not able to present a project in front of the client, you can use a creative collaboration platform or proofing tool to set up a scalable design review and approval process.
You can map out a clear design review workflow: who will be reviewing it, what needs to be reviewed, what are the timelines and what might be creating a delay. Work together with your team or your clients can add notes or comment directly on the project design.
All your feedback will be organized for you to consider as you begin to make revisions. There are various tools out there that let multiple users (clients and team members) view and comment on the design at the same time, add notes, @mention, and even make changes directly on the visual. All in all, collaboratively receiving feedback is always important.
02. Ask For Feedback At Various Parts Of The Project
Suppose your clients have crowdsourced a logo through a marketplace offering graphic design services like Designhill, you put the efforts to get the best design, but will you be expecting bland feedback from your clients like, “Oh, it’s good”, “I like it”, “It looks nice, Good colors”… Definitely not! You would want precise, actionable feedback to improve your design work. If your clients want to give feedback, ask for it in the early stages. Asking for feedback early, when the design is in progress, is a great way to make sure you are on the track and can predict concerns from clients in the later stages.
At some particular milestones, set up a time for regular feedback. When you complete a small part of a design gig or a design of your professional logo, get reviews and approval before you present the final design. Or, in the beginning, give them a quick run-through on what changes can be better at what stage and at what costs.
03. Give Them Limited Options
Have you heard of the term choice overload? It is a negative psychological, emotional, and behavioral effect that comes from having too many options to choose from. Suppose you have to choose the best pair of shoes from 30 pairs of shoes at a time. That is truly a challenge. But if you’re given only a few options, according to your preferences, you’ll be more capable of deciding which one is better.
Similarly, simply ask your client feedback with limited options to choose from. “Does this look better in a particular shade of pink, or another shade of pink?”, or “Does this image look good when center or left-aligned?” Then ask them the reasons for their choice and keep repeating your questions.
And, yes, make sure you have patient clients. Good luck for that.
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04. Show It With Confidence
We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to convince the client that a design is perfect, after all, you’ve applied all your creativity, applied the right colors, positions, logos, fonts, and everything else. If in the end, the client is not happy, means you’ve failed?
In whatever way you submit your design, make sure, in every interaction you present yourself confidently. You need to be confident in your abilities and skills. Because the more confident you are, the less likely the client will push you around on a design decision.
Your logic, your ideas, your opinions—these are all considered as a part of your confidence meter. And when you make a connection with your clients with confidence, you’ll be better able to convince them that the design no longer needs any changes.
05. Ask Why? Keep Asking It Again And Again
When your client asks you to make a button a tad bit bigger, be polite and curious, and ask ‘why’? Ask them a series of questions before you simply start making changes to understand why they want something to be changed. Continue asking “Why?”,“What do you think?”, and more questions like these until you can figure out the real reason they have been providing conflicting feedback.
Ask questions that provides you with enough insights into why the design fails to fit the expectations. Here are a few more questions you’ll need to ask:
a. What type of audience will this design appeal to?
b. Which points did not interest you?
c. Which of the important features are missing?
d. What would you like me to add?
e. What is confusing?
The right questions will encourage them to give you valuable data, else all your efforts will go down the drain.
06. Be Prepared To Justify Your Solutions Well
Suppose your clients want the logo design in a way that you believe is inferior to your ideas, do it anyway. Then present your idea along with how they want it. Make a comparison with justifications and a strong mixture of brand experience, UX logic, audience, and more. Your client will respect your ideas rather than dismissing them. You must be able to clearly communicate why you think one potential solution for a logo design is better than another. Talk in a simple language your client will understand.
You’ll not be listened to if you say “I like this option better” without backing up with strong points. This approach will make your client agree with your preferred solution more often. Gradually, a trust will develop and you can handle your decision making by yourself.
07. Don’t Take It Personally, Accept It Gracefully
Take feedback with grace and honor. Do not get defensive. If your client is giving you feedback, he is only trying to help you create the best outcome. It’s not personal, it’s just different perspectives, of which, both are valuable. Graciously, without feeling insulted or embarrassed, receive valuable feedback. It is one of the most important ways for you to improve as a graphic designer.
Try to learn and grow from it. Stay open-minded to ideas before you refuse to admit their suggestions. Prefer not to react negatively at every little nitpick, it’s pointing out what can be improved and what should be improved for the best results.
Bonus Tip: Collaboration Is the Magic Ingredient To Any Successful Design Feedback
Design project should be a collaborative process. You and your client, both know a lot about design, therefore, any design project needs to be a collaborative process. Communicate, collaborate, and receive actionable feedback by using some of the tools below:
The design needs to be checked at various levels for feedback from the client and needs to be checked within the team. ProofHub is an all in one solution loved by many designers due to the easy proofing method (using markup tools and annotations) and project management capabilities. The best thing is the way it brings together teams, clients and other stakeholders under one roof and makes the review and approval process a breeze.
zipBoard is for designers, clients, and other stakeholders to collaborate on the design and share their feedback with annotations. It combines the abilities of a visual feedback tool and bug tracking, has conversations and gets work done. The feedback can be converted into trackable tasks that can be prioritized and assigned to team members.
03. InVision App
InVision is quite popular among designers and front-end developers to collect feedback and collaborate on design drafts. You can present your designs as clickable prototypes to get more insightful feedback. Also, you can control the way you get notifications of feedback from clients at a time that suits you.
Usersnap works great for collecting feedback too. Whether it’s for designing drafts or for real HTML prototypes, you get a collaborative space where you can report bugs and visual feedback is collected, shared and discussed. Assign, label, comment, and filter feedback to match your team’s workflow.
Get all your team activities in one place with this browser-based collaboration tool. This is good for designers to create a variety of visual projects. With the built-in features in Visme, teams can monitor each user’s workload and activities.
This is another project management platform that brings collaboration between teams to get projects done in an efficient manner. Teams can communicate with clients directly to solve any problems. Also, keep clients in the loop of the design process, update them frequently with any changes.
Save templates that you can use for any new project, saving a lot of time.
07. Red Pen
Red Pen is a tool for fast feedback for visual teams. It lets you drag and drop your designs into a dashboard and invite clients or team members for feedback by giving them a private link or through email, to have all opinions in real-time. It keeps track of the various versions all the time.
How You Receive It Is How You Ask For It
Feedback is tough and that’s why hearing good feedback is not common. But being a little mindful can be more effective in making things better altogether. At times, it can be a tough pill, get over it. A good design should be the end goal.