Best Ways to Get Feedback and Constructive Criticism on Your Design Work
WHY FEEDBACK IS SO IMPORTANT?
Getting great feedback is very important for graphic designers, web designers and other types of creative professionals, as it provides them with an alternative perspective, critique or advice that will help them improve their next design work.
The most successful designers always ask for thorough feedback. Feedback is a very powerful tool and key for an effective design. Receiving good quality insights from your clients and like-minded professionals gives a unique perspective on your design project, helps you see things which you may not see, increases your motivation and improves your personal development.
HOW TO ASK FOR MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM?
Receiving vague feedback and statements like: “Yeah that is fine.”, “Thank you, it looks nice.” doesn’t help you much. Actually it doesn’t help you at all and can even leave you feeling lost. Often, clients don’t share thorough, actionable feedback simply because they didn’t get a very bad experience. Even though the project or service didn’t meet their expectations they don’t want to bother and spend time on giving you negative feedback. Instead they will simply not do any business with you in the future.
54% of respondents in this study said they share a bad customer experience with at least 5 other people. That’s a really high price to pay for lost or inadequate feedback. This is more than a good reason to refine and improve the way you are asking for a useful design feedback.
After a detailed research of what works best for designers, we have compiled the 5 best ways to get high quality feedback from your clients and fellow designers:
1. Send out short surveys
Surveys are a very effective way for getting great feedback. They are easy to set up, distribute and analyze. Be very careful when constructing the survey in order to get helpful responses. Think about what is the purpose of each of the questions and include only the most essential ones, limiting the questions to no more than 10.
You can send a survey to your email list, to your clients and fellow designers about a specific design project, or about your work in general.
2. Provide clients with feedback guidelines
Write a short text, an article or a checklist with a list of guidelines which will help you receive helpful and better feedback. Do you always go something like: “I finished the project, what do you think?” Clients don’t know what is important to you. In order to encourage great feedback ask the clients to be honest and give their best answer on questions like these:
• Do you feel the design corresponds to the characteristics and interests of your target audience?
• Do the design colors and fonts represent your branding style?
• What do you think about the layout and choice of images?
• Is the design evoking the right emotions?
• What parts of the design aren’t necessary and are creating confusion?
• What parts are missing?
• What parts of the design do you not like or feel can be improved?
Questions always need to be specific. Never provide more than two options in each of the questions. For example if you want to ask which color will be better say: “Do you prefer red or orange?” Giving people too many options can make the process very complicated and lead to decision paralysis.
3. Use collaboration platform or tools specifically designed for feedback
Using a project management application or a collaboration platform will enable you to receive constructive, useful commentary more quickly and more effectively. There are various tools out there that let multiple users view and comment on the design at the same time, add notes and even make changes directly on the visual.
4. Ask for feedback at various parts of the project
Avoid spending lots of time and effort working on a project that will not meet the expectations of your client. Set up a time for regular feedback, reviews and get opinion and approval on small sections of the design prior to presenting the final project.
5. Give people enough time to review your work
Giving people time to think about your project increases the chances you are going to receive thoughtful feedback. Nobody wants to be put on the spot. Never expect rushed feedback as it may be irrelevant because you didn’t give people enough time.
IT IS CRUCIAL TO REMEMBER THAT HOW YOU ACT UPON RECEIVING A FEEDBACK IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS HOW YOU ASK FOR IT
Be sure that you accept genuine feedback graciously - it is highly likely not a personal attack. Always ask why, and dig deeper to the root of the most important comments. No doubt you will get the odd comment or guideline that can be bothersome, like the following examples, but stay focused on the bigger picture.
USE FEEDBACK TOOLS
Get your projects approved faster with the use of a feedback tool specifically designed for creative professionals. Communicate, collaborate and receive actionable feedback by using some of the tools below or any other feedback app of your choice:
Easy-to-use tool that allows you to add notes and make comments on a design which than can easily be shared with others who can provide their feedback as well. Bounce is a great application for soliciting feedback. Simply, enter the URL of a website you want a feedback on and the app will generate a screenshot of the site which people can then make comments on. Ask your friends or clients for feedback by easily sharing the design on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Using a tool like UsabilityHub allows you to check whether the design of your website makes the right impression and evokes the right emotions of its target audience. This tool features include 5 Second Test, Click Test, Navigation Test, Question Test and Preference Test. Each of these tests will help you make the best design decisions quickly and effectively, probably finding the best answers to your most crucial design questions.
THE app to share and talk about your designs. Invision creates a seamless feedback process by enabling your clients, team members, and stakeholders to comment directly on your designs. The vast array of wonderful features it provides are used by companies such as Uber, Twitter, Hubspot, Netflix, MailChimp, Evernote and others.
This review tool lets every creative professional receive fast and useful feedback from managers, subject matter experts and clients. Add collaborators, annotate, add comments, share visual feedback and easily keep track of discussions for multiple projects.
If you are working on a print piece, mobile app, web site development or redesign, commercial, movie or any other type of a creative project, don’t miss trying out this tool to speed up the design process by receiving on-time, actionable feedback by keeping all parties engaged in one place. Preview your previous versions of files, provide your clients with a straightforward process to approve artwork, use the sketch tool, track whether a file is approved, has comments, or new versions, and much more. Cage is a simple to use tool that will ensure your clients are satisfied with the end result.
Putting an organized feedback process in place will speed up the design process and help you build a creative piece that is compelling and reflects clients' goals and expectations. Don’t risk losing a client simply because of a lack of clear communication. Collecting more meaningful design feedback from your clients will take your performance to the highest level.
If you have other methods of collecting great feedback, share them below in the comments!