How to Provide Effective Feedback on Web Design
The web design process is a demanding one that requires collaboration and inclusivity to achieve the desired results.
During the project, designers receive tons of opinions and reactions from the stakeholders. The feedback, if constructive, can drive the project forward. It helps designers stay on the same page with their clients while working collaboratively towards the common goal. Conversely, poor feedback can hold up or potentially stall the project since designers are not sure of the changes or revisions to implement.
For this reason, you should learn how to provide clear and actionable feedback that adds value to the design process. Below are eight tips that can help you provide constructive web design feedback to improve the outcome of your project.
1. Assess how the design aligns with your business goals
Whether you're working on a new project, or redesigning an existing website, start by evaluating how different design aspects align with your objectives. For business and organizational websites, verify that the design follows your brand guidelines, including imagery, color scheme, fonts, and other graphical elements. The website design should be an accurate reflection of your brand's personality.
As the design process unfolds, be sure to check whether it meets the goals you set at the beginning of the project. Ideally, the design should be intuitive enough to guide users through the desired path of action.
2. Be clear and specific
This is arguably the most helpful guideline for making your feedback more effective. You should always strive to articulate your views clearly in a way that the designer can understand and implement your feedback accurately.
When you see an element that requires some tweaking, be,and provide as much context as you can. Clear and concise feedback gives the designer something constructive from which they can start revising the design.
It is always important to keep off generic comments along the lines of "I don't like the layout” or “make it cooler". This kind of feedback does not provide necessary guidance or context for making changes to the design.
3. Provide examples whenever possible
The best way to express opinions in your web design feedback is by using examples. Sharing a couple of screenshots and links to other websites with your designer provides a better understanding of the kind of design you're looking forward to.
With a visual reference, designers can make necessary revisions in the right way. This avoids the confusion that might occur when you use a vague description that is subject to misinterpretation.
So, next time you're providing web design feedback, make it more effective by illustrating your points with visual examples.
4. Avoid vague or ambiguous comments
One of the most common reasons why clients deliver poor feedback to their designers is by using vague and ambiguous comments.
For instance, when you say "make it pop," "jazz it up," or "the site looks bland," the designer might be confused about what you want. Many questions will pop up - do you want some improvements on the fonts used? Do you want a brighter color scheme? Are you recommending a change of the images used?
Good web design feedback avoids generalities since they are open to multiple interpretations. You should use clear statements with concrete examples of what you're feeling. For instance, you can ask the designer to draw more attention to the sidebar titles by adding some whitespace and making the headlines bigger.
5. Be objective
Most people are tempted to give web design feedback based on their personal tastes. Even if you're working on a personal website or blog, it is always good to step back and assess the design from your customer's or end-user point of view. Your target audience should be your top priority, so comment based on what they like or what they'd find intuitive and easy-to-use.
Additionally, good feedback is as objective as possible. It builds on definitive information such as research findings, project goals, or the creative brief. For instance, saying "I don't like color red, can you remove it?" sounds harsh. Instead, you can provide a more objective reason for the suggestion. You can say, "The design looks good, but can we use a different color scheme because red isn't part of our brand's color palette?"
6. Use a web design feedback template/checklist
A web design feedback template is a simple and easy-to-use form that allows you to communicate your view on key design aspects.
With this template, you can comment on a wide array of UI elements including usability, intuitiveness, efficiency, memorability, navigation, content, load speed, and more. Using a feedback template or checklist allows you to provide exhaustive feedback about website design, without leaving out the most important details.
7. Ask relevant design questions
An effective way of improving feedback is by asking questions that make designers feel respected as contributors in the project. So, instead of providing feedback that's too specific, consider creating additional room for engagement by asking questions.
For instance, you can politely ask why they added a particular element to the layout. Alternatively, you can ask the designer to tell you more about a particular choice of design. The idea here is to ask questions that are directly tied to the project goals. When the designer responds, you can easily gain insight into their approach to solving particular problems.
8. Be honest
Finally, remember honesty is key. You should be completely transparent with the feedback you provide, without worrying about causing offense.
The goal of the project is to deliver a product that meets the specified requirements and gives your audience the best experience. Designers cannot achieve these or any other desired result without your input. So, be sincere from the start to avoid multiple unnecessary revisions or frustrations at the end of the project.
It is also a good idea to provide positive feedback as opposed to focusing only on the negatives. Taking note of the positives in your feedback gives a better idea of what you want to the designer. This encourages them to keep moving in the right direction when addressing the negatives. Adding some compliments in your feedback also reinforces your working relationship with the designer.
Effective feedback plays an indispensable role in the success of any collaborative project. With clear communication throughout the design process, all parties can be sure of a successful outcome. Whether you're communicating with your designer in person, via email, or over the phone, using the above tips when crafting and delivering feedback will help your designer understand your needs better and deliver the website you deserve.