How to give meaningful design feedback

Written by | February 27, 2014 | Posted in Business, Clients, Design

Today is the day. You’ve explained your business & your project goals to the design team, and it’s the first time you’re seeing mockups. You’re excited. Your design team is excited. Everything is wonderful. You click the link to see the first round of mockups and… you’re disappointed. That’s okay! Here’s how to communicate exactly how to move forward without going in circles, driving yourself and your designer crazy.

First of all, don’t panic!
We completely expect for the first round to be a bit shaky. For us, the first round of mockups is important, not only to nail down what you do like, but also eliminate elements that you don’t! So fear not if you don’t see exactly what you’ve envisioned on the first go-round; we’ll get you there.

Take your time.
It can be a bit overwhelming to see a new set of designs all at once, and if you’re not careful, you may make some quick decisions that you may later regret. We recommend that you take a day or so to look at the designs, consider each one’s merits and weaknesses, then we can talk about how to move forward.

Consider hierarchy – not granular details.
When your site goes live, what does it need to accomplish? Refer back to your creative brief and ask yourself: what elements from each design are either supporting those goals, or preventing your message from getting across? It helps us to think in terms of problems that need solutions, rather than rely on the client to provide specific “move this here, change this color” feedback.

Be specific.
We know you can’t always know exactly what doesn’t feel right, but try to be specific. For example, a broad statement like “I don’t like this font” isn’t as helpful as “this font feels too playful.” This is another example of seeing a problem and letting us find the solution for you.

Distill your feedback.
It’s inevitable that different members of your team will have different opinions on the first round of designs you see, and we fully expect that. What we recommend is that rather than sending us a detailed list of everyone’s individual feedback, you send us a unified list of directions that your whole team more or less agrees on. This will save everyone time and help us get to your final design much faster.

Be honest.
If there’s an element, a color, or an animation that you really want to see included in your design, tell us about it! We aren’t mind readers – and we want you to be happy with the final design. The more you tell us about your expectations, the more we can customize our designs to your taste.

Let’s talk!
Once you’ve analyzed the mockups, let’s have a conversation about it. The best thing to remember is that everyone wants the project to be a success. Together, with honest feedback and open conversation, we’ll be able to create something you’ll be proud of.