January 19, 2024

Beyond 'Make it Pop': A Blueprint for Effective Design Feedback

UX Design
Effective Feedback
Design Feedback
UX Process

As consumers of design services, whether it's outsourced to a professional or done late at night on Canva in our pyjamas, it rarely happens that the design is a hit in the first go. Sometimes, it happens that our vision is not getting translated into reality, and sometimes, we ourselves are not very sure of what exactly we want from the design. Either way, it is important to be able to convey our needs to our designers. But here's when things get tricky- how do you convey, "Maza nahi aa raha yaar!" without offending them and ensuring they understand what you want?

Worry not; Fluidesigns has got your back! We're here to give you a crash course on finding the best ways to communicate your vision to your designers in a friendly, effective and, most importantly- constructive way. Our team has come up with the five most common pitfalls that we lovingly call "feedback fails". Avoid these and see your projects turn into a breeze!

Feedback Fail #1 - Using Wrong Terminology

We're not in the 20th-century people; let's be updated on the commonly used design lingo before we begin to give feedback to our designers. Knowing what you want but using the wrong words will add confusion and delay the progress of your design.

If you can speak the language of your designer, you're much closer to getting that kick-ass design of your dreams. You'll understand them. They'll understand you. Asking them to “do the mixing trick on fading colours” when you want them to just “apply a gradient” is not going to make things easy for either of you. Put an effort into coming on the same page with your designer, and you'll learn that RGB and CMYK are not Star Wars droids, after all!

Well, well, well, let’s not take sides yet, right? Designers should also be adept at deciphering clients' feedback by reading between the lines and understanding the problem behind the solution they are trying to propose. It is important to ask the right questions and take the help of references if the client is not able to communicate the feedback clearly!

Feedback Fail #2 - Giving Vague Inputs

The three worst words a designer can hear: "Make it pop." It means absolutely nothing. Our feedback shouldn't always be an unfiltered gut reaction. Comments like "I don't like it", "This is looking weird", and "Make this better" are counterproductive and do not help the designers understand the problem.

Instead, you could say, "I need the title to stand out more. Could you give me some other font or colour choices?" Or, if words are failing you, use very clear visual examples that illustrate your design direction. Find something that "pops" for you, and tell your designer what you like about it. In short, figure out exactly what your gut reactions are and use clear words to collaborate with your designer to find an awesome solution together.

Feedback Fail #3 - Having Unrealistic Expectations

There's no better joy for a designer than to be able to translate their client's vision to the best of their capabilities. However, that vision needs to be realistic and reasonable. For example, wanting to make a logo look "dynamic", "minimalist", "realistic", and "subtle" all at the same time is impossible. Similarly, demanding elaborate poster-like illustrations on a small business card is unreasonable. There's nothing wrong with giving designers a challenge (they actually love that). However, unrealistic expectations make it hard for collaboration to happen.

It's a good idea to share your creative plans or feedback with other stakeholders involved in the project. They might be able to tell you if your ideas are unclear or not practical. Good designers will let you know if your creative ideas might not work or if they have better suggestions. Feel free to ask them questions, and trust that they know how to handle the project well. If something is confusing, don't be afraid to ask for an explanation. Working together helps create something you both like!

Feedback Fail #4 - Giving Feedback on the Designer Instead of the Design

Saying things like "Your design is very kiddish" and "Try to be more creative" will work against maintaining a positive relationship with your designers and affect their motivation to perform well. Instead, consider saying, "The colours and font in the design don't seem to be inclining well with the target audience of this design. Can we consider using more mature colour tones?"

Be clear about what aspects you appreciate and what might need adjustments. Use constructive language to suggest improvements, avoiding personal criticisms and attacks. Emphasize the project's objectives and encourage open communication for a more effective and positive collaboration with the designer.

Feedback Fail #5 - Trying to Hop on the Train that Has Already Left Station

What is a sin in the design world, you ask? Asking your designer to make changes to the wireframes when they have already covered a tedious journey and are at the final visual design stage! 

Make sure you’re up-to-date on all the new updates of your project. Make sure to give inputs on different stages of the project as they get completed. If you’re having a hard time trying to visualise what the final product might look like, don't hold back from asking your designers! Remember, it's better to sprinkle your ideas throughout the adventure, not drop them like breadcrumbs at the end.

Give your two cents at every pit stop of the project. If you’re having a hard time trying to visualise what the final product might look like, don't hold back from asking your designers! Sprinkle your magical feedback dust throughout the adventure, and let the design wizards work their charm! 

As we conclude our crash course on effective design feedback, remember: clear communication is the bridge between vision and masterpiece. Embrace constructive dialogue, avoid common pitfalls, and let your feedback be the catalyst for creative brilliance. Happy designing – may your ideas flourish and projects thrive!