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How to Provide Valuable Product Design Feedback

Michel Velis

Valuable design feedback can be hard to come by. Lead by example: learn what to say (and NOT to say) when giving product design feedback.

posted in product design on December 5, 2022 by Michel Velis


How to Provide Valuable Product Design Feedback

Michel Velis by Michel Velis

At Bitovi, receiving feedback and iterating on design work is integral to our daily operations. Collaboration is essential to improve our work, whether we're performing an internal review amongst our designers or discussing projects with clients. 

The difference between positive and negative comments can significantly impact a project's final product and overall success. As a result, paying attention is essential. In this post, we’re sharing our best advice on how to provide constructive and, most importantly, valuable design feedback.

How to Develop a Feedback Culture 

Establishing a work environment where feedback is constantly welcomed enables your team to grow and learn swiftly, produce higher-quality designs, and push their creative boundaries. 

One of the most effective strategies to promote the establishment of a feedback culture is to make feedback a team sport. Before you ship anything, assemble your team and ask the following two questions: 

  1. What is it about this design that we value? 
  2. What changes would we make to this design? 
  3. What are you trying to achieve by doing?

How to Provide Feedback 

Start with establishing trust. Trust is a two-way street and must be developed before a designer enthusiastically welcomes your comments. The most valuable design feedback I receive comes from people I respect and who appreciate me in return. 

When asking and giving feedback, it is all about context. The project's objectives and KPIs must always frame the most crucial aspect of design input.

When providing feedback, ensure that its underlying reason is consistent with these objectives. Lastly, when asking for feedback and setting context, explain your underlying problems and refrain from offering solutions. 

Intention and Clarity 

Use concrete phrases while expressing yourself, yet be straightforward. Be sure to structure your comments and indicate how they apply to the design. Focus areas might include:

  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Layout

It’s also important to focus on strategic objectives—what is the design trying to accomplish? Be sure to ask clarifying questions to ensure your feedback is aligned with the intention of the design.  

Your team will benefit more from the input they receive if they don’t take it personally. It can be challenging to receive feedback, especially for new designers. Therefore, it's essential to coach your team on how to respond to comments emotionally.

Remember to share the positives about their work, and be specific! Feedback should be constructive but also encouraging.

30-60-90 Framework 

At Bitovi, we use the 30-60-90 design framework to gather feedback. The 30-60-90 Framework guides the discussion to garner valuable feedback at each stage of the project.

Stage (percentage of completion)

Guide

30% Completed

Go/No Go Ideas

Needs feedback on:

Is the idea going on the right direction? Are all requirements covered and can it be built?

What can change:

UX, IA, Layout, Copy

60% Completed

Establish design and user flow

Needs feedback on:

All product + dev requirements accounted for?
Are all interactions in the user flow intuitive?

What can change:

Interaction, UI, Copy

What cannot change:

UX, IA, Requirements

90% Completed

Last check before handoff

Needs feedback on:

Is the copy finalized?
Do the visuals map to the design system?

What can change:

Copy

What cannot change:

UX, IA, Requirements, UI

Areas to focus on:

  • Talk about strengths
  • Good critiques empower. They do not just concentrate on what is not working
  • Separate like/hate from good/bad
  • A good design meets its goals, a bad design does not meet its goals
  • Ask questions
  • Don't try to design a better solution on the spot

 

What Not to Say During Design Critique

Don’t Say…

Do Say…

“Why did you do that?”

“What are you trying to achieve by doing X?”

”I don't like it”

”I'm not sure that X makes it clear to users they can Y.”

“Why don't we just..”

“What do you think we should do?”

In Summary

The method by which design feedback is communicated can have a significant impact on the success of a project. By applying these suggestions, feedback culture is fostered, strategic objectives are placed at the forefront of decision-making, and projects can operate more smoothly. 

Providing and receiving feedback is beneficial to your professional development. It requires you to engage your analytical muscles, develops your communication skills, and enhances your ability to discuss design.

Stuck in a Design Feedback Loop?

Bitovi has Product Design consulting experts who are eager to help with every stage of your project. Schedule a free consultation call to get started!

Sources

The Performance Of Staff Can Have A Significant Impact On The Success

30-60-90 Framework 

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