Effective Design Feedback: 5 tips to elevate feedback received

From creating space for feedback discussions to directing feedback requests, learn how to get feedback that will lead you to the best solution.

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Remember when we dove into different ways of giving feedback to designers that make their hearts skip a beat? Well, it's time to flip the script and explore the realm of asking for feedback. We’ll demystify the process and empower you, the design maestro, to orchestrate feedback that hits all the right notes.

We know the design world can sometimes feel like a maze, especially when it comes to seeking input on your creative work. But fear not. This post is your trusty compass, guiding you with tips, strategies, and a drop of expertise from our Product Design team.

Whether you're a seasoned designer or just starting out, this second part of our series is tailor-made to help you navigate the exciting realm of requesting feedback from your teammates. So let’s jump in!

1. Design journeys speak louder than endings 🚀

While the end product ultimately matters, sharing a design only at an end-game stage can lead to a lot of frustration. If the goal is feedback, receiving it late can make it hard to justify decisions and iterate on valuable suggestions — it won’t be beneficial to the designer.

To avoid this, documenting the design process (while versioning the progress of a project) and sharing it at different stages can provide a better opportunity for good, well-timed feedback from the team or client and openings for the designer to address this feedback. Experimentation is one of the most powerful tools in Design, and having room for it in the process is a rewarding strategy.

Our design process at Tailwarden

Another thing to keep in mind is where feedback should be managed. With more and more tools becoming part of our daily routine, it can be hard to keep track of feedback. Choosing a platform or a small collection of them to request and manage feedback will allow for better visibility, more rewarding discussions, and faster iterations.

2. Directing design insights 🏹

Although sometimes time-consuming, acting as a director of your design and being specific on the feedback you require will often lead to better outcomes.

Requesting a broad review, like assessing an entire feature, can overwhelm reviewers. They may not know where to start or focus, leading to less relevant feedback, as they can focus on details that are not up for discussion at a certain stage of the design.

Directing the team’s attention to the most critical issues or areas for review allows for focus to be in the right spotlight. And more than writing these directions, attaching a short video in a walkthrough style can be even more productive! Yes, you’ll spend some time recording it, but there will be less doubt about what to review, where to start, and where to finish, which saves time in the long run if we’re talking about a complex design.

Besides these tactics, I can’t help but mention setting up a deadline for design feedback. Teams have packed schedules, and without a timeline, feedback may not arrive in time for meaningful improvements.

That’s where setting up a deadline can be a great help! While it might sound demanding, think of it more like a guiding limit — designers need to move forward with designs, and knowing when might help the team prioritize their time better and provide feedback in time.

3. Data-Driven Decisions 📈

While justifying design decisions can be challenging at times, making decisions based on data, logic, and successful use cases that can be referenced will be a powerful aid in these discussions.

Leveraging these assets will allow for more fruitful discussions and a better understanding for someone who is less ingrained in the design process and research than a designer is.

Using tools like Hotjar allows us to make conclusions out of user behaviors

4. From Monologue to Dialogue 💬

Speaking of fruitful discussions, that is exactly what feedback should lead to — unless it is a smart observation or a very straightforward solution.

But for it to happen, there are a few prerequisites that I’d like to cover with you:

  • Create space for dialogue, ensuring there's room to challenge and explore feedback. If there is no time to discuss a given feedback or all feedback is either discarded or accepted without challenge, there won’t be an opportunity for a dialogue to start. So, it is important to account for time to be spent on these conversations and there needs to be an active questioning posture from the two parts invested in the discussion. The goal is to find the best solution to the challenge, not to win arguments.
  • Keep track of discussions, for instance, by managing and resolving comments on platforms like Figma. This approach enhances the chances of receiving valuable feedback and arriving at better solutions in a timely fashion.
  • Don't hesitate to seek clarification or question feedback when needed. Sometimes, feedback requires additional context to be relevant or can be confusing to the designer. Both parties should have space for open discussions, as blindly accepting feedback without understanding hinders growth.

5. Design breakthroughs’ magic ingredient 🪄

You’ve probably never heard of a witch who was scared to experiment with new recipes on her cauldron or who refused to study her ancestors’ findings in magic, right? Well, Design can benefit from such boldness and openness too.

One of the most powerful yet simple pieces of advice I’ve received was “Don’t be afraid to experiment”. It can be tempting to try to reach the perfect solution on the first try, and I’m sure many around the world would love for that to be the case, but the truth is experimenting with different approaches to a solution (within time and cost constraints of a project, of course) can often lead to a more satisfying and effective result.

By welcoming diverse perspectives, including those found in feedback, we can discover new insights. Design serves people, so embracing their diversity and viewpoints is crucial for crafting solutions that truly resonate.

Different perspectives can lead to a better solution

Armed with these strategies, you’ll be able to push forward the best type of feedback — valuable, on time, and immersive.

If you haven’t had the time to check our tips for the ones sharing their feedback, feel free to read it here and share it with your team. Remember, feedback should be a dialogue in the name of a better solution 😉

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