I answered: When you’re the only designer on a team, how do you get valuable critique on your work?

Being the only designer on a team can often leave designers second guessing themselves. Receiving valuable feedback is critical to get out of that mindset. I see it as a great opportunity to take ownership and start educating your peers about what good design means. Once your teammates start understanding what some of the goals of what you do are, it’ll help them provide valuable feedback on your work. Another effective technique is to seek the help externally. You can share your work with a few trusted designer friends or reach out to people you admire on Twitter, etc.

Action Items

1. Introduce a culture of solving user problems through design thinking

Start bringing design into every problem-solving conversation. Discuss your goals with the team, explain to them why and how you came to the conclusion that you did. Once everyone in the room has a good understanding of the problem, ask for feedback on your work. If the feedback doesn’t sound substantial, ask follow up questions. Ask ‘why’ a few times to get to the bottom of the sentiment. There will also be times when you’ll just have to let go of certain pieces of feedback that just aren’t valuable enough for you to consider. And that’s ok.

2. Seek help externally

Ask designer friends if they have 30–45 minutes to spend with you to take a look at what you’re working on and provide feedback. Also reach out to designers that you admire (Twitter has made this very easy!) and ask if they’d be down to meet up and talk shop. I used to be hesitant about doing this but when I actually started reaching out to folks, most people were super sweet about meeting up. So, don’t be shy!

3. Conduct research and usability tests

The best way to get candid, concrete feedback is by putting your designs in front of users. This is a (relatively) fast, cheap way to gather a lot of useful feedback. There are multiple ways of going about conducting usability tests. With the number of tools that we have available to us, it’s super easy to get started. Get started with tools like User Testing (https://www.usertesting.com), Full Story (https://www.fullstory.com), Lookback (https://lookback.io) to name a few. I’ve also found live usability tests extremely useful to be able to capture users’ subtleties that you can easily miss on the tools mentioned above.

This answer was originally posted on Playbook.