How to Give Feedback to Designers in 3 Clear Parts

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How to give feedback to designers is critical when 94% of first impressions are design-related; so designers need to nail that design. Feedback is a critical part of communication, a key element in designing products. Feedback is when someone notices or experiences something created or done by someone else and the first person gives the second person comments and information about their experience or about the results of the second person’s work (or possibly lack thereof).  To start with how to give feedback to designers, we’ll go over the types of feedback designers need: 

  • Critical Aesthetics/Features
  • Branding
  • User Feedback

The Kinds of Feedback Designers Need

Critical Aesthetics/Features

The first kind of feedback designers need is about critical aesthetics and features for the product or document being designed. Designers need to know what clients need to be able to do with a product as well as what the product is going to be near when designing a product. Designers need to know about how much or how big to make the product and if it needs to fit in with or near other products.

rising images on a projector slide

Keep in mind that designers often create and place things in certain places or make them certain colors or fonts for either or both alignment and spacing reasons or user experience reasons. Users need to be able to find things and designers want to help them while making things aesthetically pleasing.  Please don’t just tell designers to change something because it is different or you don’t like it; it likely has a reason behind it. Learn the reasoning behind the design decision and present your own idea and reasoning behind it about why you think it should be another way in your feedback to the designer (or middle man).

Branding

The second kind of feedback designers need is about the branding of the company that they are going for. Branding is a combination of the place in the field of work that the company does, values that the company has along with what customers care about, and the personality and tone of the company that sets it apart from the competition. This is represented by symbols, icons, logos, colors, word choice, graphics, and other things. For marketing purposes, good branding makes it easier to tell what you do, what your values are, why consumers should favor your brand, etc.

Designers need to know and understand the brand that the company has to correctly traspost their values, image, and purpose into their designs.

User Feedback

people advertising with social media

The first kind of feedback designers need is about/from users about how they find and use the product. No one wants to use a broken website or other product; thus users will avoid them. Users don’t use what they don’t like. The item should be designed so that users find it nice to look at and appealing to use. If a room looks pretty, people will want to go into them. The same is true of websites.

The elements of the site should be finable and accessible to consumers. Users should be able to locate the item easily and without help. If users can’t find a page or button, they definitely won’t read or use it. People with disabilities should be remembered for this: will this page read well for the deaf? Is this text readable to the colorblind? Don’t forget mobile users either! All of the above (and beyond) are consumers that need to be planned for.

The best way to find out that a product is not accessible or work as well as it should is through user feedback. Users can give feedback through contacting the company (e.g. contact us forms or by calling or emailing) or through user research methods such as:

How to Give Feedback to Designers

The first part of how to give feedback to designers is to be clear. Being clear is critical for conveying specific facts and results of or about a process, product, or action. Make sure not to play the ‘pronoun game’ where readers are confused on which noun or proper noun a pronoun takes the place of. Also, beware of dangling modifiers; make sure all modifiers are attached to the word they modify.

man explaining to coworkers

The next part of how to give feedback to designers is the tone of how it was written. A writer’s tone can be hard for readers to discern unless the writer is clear and does not expect the reader to read their mind about the writer’s intent and meaning. Tone is usually conveyed through the words the writer chose, but the organization of phrases, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs also contribute to a writing’s tone. Even how you start a sentence changes the tone of your writing.

The third part of how to give feedback to designers is to give constructive criticism. Criticism is critical for finding shortcomings and how to better do or make something, but most people don’t want to hear it or listen to it. This is partially because a good portion of people tend to despise change and partially because they don’t want to admit they (or what they made or did) have their faults. Criticism should never be made to hurt someone’s feelings; it should be given to help them improve.

Constructive criticism is an evaluation done to help build someone up stronger and better in the long run. This is done by attacking the action or choice and not the person who did or made it. Make sure to state what the person did right at some point (opinions differ on where the placement – before, after, or both – of the positive points should be in regards to the criticism). As a part of this, explain why the action or choice was wrong by going over the consequences of it.

Summary

Feedback is when someone notices or experiences something created or done by someone else and the first person gives the second person comments and information about their experience or about the results of the second person’s work (or possibly lack thereof). We went over the types of feedback designers need: 

  • Critical Aesthetics/Features.
  • Branding.
  • User Feedback.

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