A comprehensive guide for clients to provide frustration-free feedback and create better design outcomes.
The goal of every design team is building strong, healthy, positive client relationships, and while most relationships begin that way, with both parties excited to get started, studies have shown that most client relationships that devolve, happen during design revisions, leaving the client frustrated and the designer resentful.
As a ManyPixels client who needs to provide feedback to your designer, keep these guidelines in mind. 👇🏼
1. Frame your feedback with context
The most important thing about design feedback is that it must always remain framed by your project goals and strategy for success. When you give feedback to your designer, make sure it's aligned with these goals. If it’s not relevant to the purpose of the project, it probably falls into the category of personal aesthetic preference, which isn’t all that useful. *See stay objective below.
2. Be clear and specific
Vague feedback is not helpful. “I’m not feeling it”, or “It doesn’t pop” are ineffective statements.
- Be specific - Make sure you frame your feedback and describe precisely what it applies to (is it colour, layout, content design, usability, etc.). Tools like Loom help a lot here, allowing you to record very contextual feedback directly on your screen.
- Be clear - Speak your mind, but stay concise. Use terms that are specific, not ambiguous. Keep everything connected back to your context. For example, "I worry it won’t engage our core audience” is far more useful than “make it pop”.
3. Explain your thinking
The design feedback process is a discussion. As designers, part of our job is to question everything which is subjective. So If your feedback is a vague “I don’t like this”, we'll probably ask “why not?”. Or we may say, “but how will your target audience react to it?”. Be prepared to answer that why every single time. If you don’t have an answer that ties back to your project goals and customer needs, then you might question whether that piece of feedback has any purpose at all.
For a hassle-free workflow, provide the why right from the beginning, so we don’t have to ask. ✌🏼
4. Be coherent
- Start by explaining the aspects you like about the design. For example: “Nice colour choice on the background, it really draws attention to the call to action buttons”.
- Move on to any elements that you have concerns about. For example: “However I’m concerned there are too many competing actions here, we don’t want to overwhelm customers with choice. Can you please narrow this down to a single primary "Sign in" call to action?”.
- Lastly, follow up to end on a positive note. For example: “I like the way you’ve visualised the core message, it is simple and compelling. Let’s get that same level of simplicity in the call to action too”.
If you don’t have much positive to say, at the very least, stay kind and respectful at all times. It may take a few rounds of feedback for you and your designer to get in the same headspace. After all, we all have the same goal here. ✌🏼
5. Stay objective
Our personal preferences are so innate to our decision-making process, yet they have very little weight unless the product/service you’re designing is made for you as the sole user.
When providing feedback to your designer, it’s vital that you remove from the equation as much of your own aesthetic preferences as possible. Instead, focus on what your customers will like. What makes them feel they can trust your company.
Comments such as: “I don’t like this” don't bring any real value to the process. Instead, think in terms of “our users may not feel attracted to these strong colours, due to their age”. Stay objective and aligned with your project goals at all times.
💡 Tips & Tricks
Last but not least 👉🏻 keep feedback about the work, not about the designer.
Refrain from using any personal pronouns to describe the design. Use, for example:
👍🏻 “The screens look unbalanced due to the weight of the content”,
👎🏻“You messed up the content / You are not creative enough”.
Even the best of us don’t always get things right the first time around. Revisions are an important part of the design process, and it often forces us out of our comfort zones to discover better design solutions. 🙌🏻