Don’t ask for feedback: request critique based on goals

Marcos Rezende
Dec 29, 2020 · 3 min read
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Decision making is an arduous task when it comes to design. Being a field of study that blends science and art, it is often wrongly analyzed only based on visual appreciation criteria, put on evidence personal preferences. I know. It is frustrating! That’s why a design review shouldn’t just be feedback, left in your mailbox on a Friday night with urgent changes for next Monday. Definitely, not.

During my journey as a UX Designer, I was frustrated to be reminded of the phrase “The customer is always right” by the simple fact that they cost the project. After all, the project was the company’s, but shouldn’t we look at the people behind the project?

Thus, for any new User Experience project, I always asked those involved what the goal was. The answers were the same. “Design goal? Is that necessary?” That was the opportunity I had to show value in design.

I suggested we look at the problem to understand what we were trying to solve with design. I confess that the design goal definition took longer to elaborate than the first low-fidelity wireframes, but that was a good sign. Looking at the problem carefully before starting a project meant that we were on the right track.

Find the problem to set realistic goals. Make sure they are related to the findings in the UX research phase. Often, a detailed briefing can also help.

To simplify this explanation, I defined three perspectives for a useful UX review: information, design and technology.

1. Information (Features)

• Is the information properly presented?

• Have all the expected features been included?

• Is there enough information for the user to complete their tasks?

• Is the information easy to find?

• Is the info relevant/necessary?

2. Design (Usability)

• Are the elements easy to identify and recognize?

• Does the design guide users along the journey?

• Is the design simple to understand?

• Are the steps to complete a task clear?

• Can the users predict the next step?

3. Technical (Functionality)

• Do we have all the functionality required?

• Does the functionality make sense?

• Can the functionality be supported?

• Is the functionality feasible considering the timeframe?

• Is implementation achievable considering the resources?

The questions should help the stakeholders elaborate on the concept or prototype, always looking from the design goal’s perspective. Clinging to visual details without focusing on the goal can delay the project and create a Frankenstein.

Understand who the stakeholders are, what areas they are experts in and how they can help the project with their criticism.

Avoid individual feedback without interaction. Feedback is often based on likes and dislikes. Create a workshop and encourage the stakeholders to define and review the best design concepts, always considering the whole project. A decision-making workshop is an excellent exercise because it improves the work quality, opens new perspectives of seeing the same challenge under different viewpoints, reduces the bias, and increases your chances of having a project in facts and not in tastes. It is possible to use collaborative tools in real-time, such as Miro or even the traditional paper and pen in face-to-face panels.

Keep in mind: the client may be right, as long as their opinions are constructive and based on the design goals to be achieved.

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Thanks for reading!

If you want to chat, drop me a line here or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Marcos Rezende

Written by

User Experience Designer based in Ottawa, Canada 🇨🇦 marcosrezende.ca

Bootcamp

Bootcamp

The best resources for designers starting in Design, UX, and UI. Bootcamp is a new product publication from the team behind the UX Collective (http://uxdesign.cc). To submit your story: hello@uxdesign.cc

Marcos Rezende

Written by

User Experience Designer based in Ottawa, Canada 🇨🇦 marcosrezende.ca

Bootcamp

Bootcamp

The best resources for designers starting in Design, UX, and UI. Bootcamp is a new product publication from the team behind the UX Collective (http://uxdesign.cc). To submit your story: hello@uxdesign.cc

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