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Giving and receiving feedback as a UX Designer: a short guide on how it should be done

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Getting feedback on the design of a digital product from the other members of the development team, stakeholders and clients is an essential part of a UX designer’s job. Ideally, it provides constructive criticism of the design, helps improve the product and perfect it as much as possible to present the best result of work to the users. But getting feedback doesn’t always happen smoothly – when communication is not established properly or the goals of the process are defined incorrectly, things can go the wrong way. In fact, both asking for feedback and giving it requires following some unwritten rules in order to make this experience useful and comfortable for all parties. In this article we’d like to discuss two things: how to ask for feedback correctly and what to consider if you’re the one who’s giving it.

6 tips for asking your team's feedback on UX design correctly 

  1. Define the goal of the design project 

In order to evaluate your design, people should know exactly which product it is made for and what goals it pursues. So before asking for feedback, be sure to define the goals of the given design project - for example, “to attract new audience” or “get more users to open this page”. Apart from that, state the problem that you are trying to solve with your design - for example, “This element has to catch users’ attention” - instead of “I think this element should be bright-red”. Clear definition of goals and problems will help you get constructive criticism instead of subjective judgment.

  1. Clearly state what you want from feedback

Feedback can be of various types depending on what you want to get from it. Be sure to explain what you need exactly from people reviewing your work. Do you want them to point out mistakes? Or do you want to hear some tips and suggestions on how to make your design better? Or maybe you want them to compare the product with the products of competitors? The more specific feedback you get, the more useful it is. 

  1. Use special tools to structure reviews

In the modern reality, the majority of collaborative working processes happen remotely. If you are getting feedback this way, it is helpful to use some tools for organizing team collaboration, structuring information and storing all feedback in one place. 

  1. Back up your design choices with research data

In order to understand why you’ve made this or that design choice in the product, people should be familiarized with the data that you’ve collected beforehand by conducting user research, testing and other methods. If your design is centered around this data, it will most likely make much more sense and eliminate some objections.  

  1. Ask reviewers specific questions

Don’t expect the reviewer to touch all the necessary points themselves while giving you feedback. Encourage them with questions that will help you understand more about their opinion on your design. For example: “What did you like the most/the least? Which elements did you find memorable/confusing/boring? What would you add/remove?”

  1. Whatever the feedback, react politely

One of the key rules when getting feedback is to behave professionally and politely. Reviewers can be different, and not all of them give constructive criticism. But even if you don’t agree with their opinion, it’s important to not take it personally. Remember that receiving feedback is a necessary part of any design process, and if you don’t understand the reviewer’s point of view, it’s better to ask a few more questions and encourage a fruitful discussion rather than starting a conflict. 

8 things to consider when giving UI/UX design feedback 

The situations where you may be asked to give feedback include stating your opinion on the work of your colleagues at team meetings, evaluating the projects of the job candidates (if you are a member of a hiring team) or supervising the projects of your company’s interns. Giving valuable and objective feedback is not as easy as it may seem: one needs to be able to not bring everything to a gruff criticism while also not be reluctant to give an honest evaluation of a given design. That’s why it’s important to train your feedback skills, and that can be done by putting your own designs on display and listening to how other professionals analyze them. If you have been asked to give feedback for the first time recently and don’t feel confident yet, here is a list of things that you should pay attention to when doing that. 

  1. Overall impression

When a user opens the product for the first time, the instant overall impression is what defines whether they will continue using it or leave. That’s why it plays major importance in design. Start evaluating the work by how it makes you feel and whether you think that impression corresponds to the product’s idea.

  1. Content placement

After getting the first impressions, our eyes start looking through the content of a product. Analyze whether there’s a hierarchy in how the content is placed and if it’s easy for your eyes to travel through it and quickly grab the main parts. 

  1. Structure of elements

In well-performed design, elements should be aligned, structured and grouped according to their function and relation. Is it easy to find a certain element in the product you’re reviewing? Are the elements combined into logical groups and the groups divided by a certain amount of white space to avoid cluttering? 

  1. Integrity

One of the main indicators of a good UX is integrity of design throughout the whole product. All elements should combine harmoniously in terms of color, shapes, size, fonts. If you see poorly matched colors, buttons of varying shape, inconsistency in text fonts or unregulated size of elements, be sure to mention that in your feedback.  

  1. Clarity

The main goal of a UI/UX design is to navigate users through the product, showing them what actions they should perform to complete a certain task. Check whether the design you’re evaluating has clear calls to action. Is it easy to intuitively understand which button bears which function? Is there clarity in how you are supposed to navigate through the product, or have you stumbled upon some difficulties in understanding how to perform some tasks?

  1. Compliance with the products’ goals

UI/UX design should not only be aesthetically pleasing and functional, but also meet the product’s goal and correspond to its target audience. For example, if the product is aimed for kids, but it has a dark and gloomy color scheme, it would make users' experience much less enjoyable. Do the colors, functions and other elements of the design reflect the product’s goal and TA needs, or is there any imbalance between what the product is and what you expect it to be?

  1. Accessibility 

Accessibility has become one of the most important product design requirements. Here you should evaluate whether the product would be comfortable to use for people with visual/hearing/physical impairments. Is there a way to choose dark mode, increase text size, use voice search?

  1. Flexibility

A good modern design should be very flexible. This is due to the fact that because of constantly changing trends and technology capabilities, software products need to be updated regularly - and therefore, their UI/UX design should be easy to change and update. Is it easy to imagine the product you’re reviewing in different colors, with different buttons, different elements structure and so on? Or do you feel like any update would break the product’s usability?

Conclusion

Feedback is a powerful tool in UX design that should not be disregarded during the working process on any product. If given correctly, it can have a huge positive impact on the user experience, making the product align with user expectation to the highest level. The most important rule when giving or receiving feedback is to stay professional and respectful, giving deliberated constructive criticism and carefully noting errors and any issues, improving which can make the product better for everyone.

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