Give ‘RAD’ Feedbacks

RAD = Respectful | Actionable | Direct


*People giving design feedbacks*

“I like it.”
“I like it, but I don’t love it.”
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t make me say Wow”
“Looks great man.”
“Great colors.”
“Can you try something different?”

You might have heard(or said) these words often. This is generally how people talk when giving feedback on design. And it’s useless. Getting or giving such feedback doesn’t help anyone.

Feedback is a necessary pill to deliver a product that satisfies users. But it has to be prescribed by the right people, in a suitable way.

Designers can do their part to make the process more constructive. They should know what to ask, and whom to ask. Be selective of who you choose to ask for feedback. Listening to many people is the same as designing by committee.

Back to giving feedback. It isn’t as simple as walking into a meeting and talking about their personal preferences. Design is subjective, and everyone has an opinion. This is great in its own way. But if you really want to help the designer, you must learn to give ‘RAD’ feedback.


Respectful

Designers usually put in lots of time to arrive at a specific solution. Simply saying negative things about the work is disrespectful. It will demoralize them and might push them into not caring about the work anymore. Nobody wants this. After all, it costs nothing to encourage an artist.

Spend some time understanding their perspective and why they have done things in a certain way. Have a conversation, and critique the work rather than giving commands. Be social!

Actionable

Before giving feedback, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Have a list of things that you disagree with and want the designer to correct. Be clear in what you want to say. Lack of clarity hinders everyone’s progress.

“Good job”, “I don’t like it” and “Something feels wrong” aren’t helpful. Such feedback is either opaque, or completely open to interpretation. This applies for positive feedback and praise as well. “How is it good? What in this should I change? And what do I keep as it is?” You don’t want to leave a designer guessing.

Feedback gives designers an opportunity for improvement. You can either reinforce(praise) or alter(correct) how they do something in the future.

Direct

Ambiguity is the enemy of good feedback. Tell your designer what is wrong, and why it is wrong. Sure, there will be arguments but it lets them know where they stand, and what needs to improve. They won’t be left guessing, or think something is ok when it’s not.

Being direct isn’t the same as being cruel or blunt. It means clarity. Good feedback leaves your designer with a clear course of action. He or she will know exactly what falls short. And both of you will know the expected outcome.


Bottom line

Feedback brings clarity. Feedback gives fresh perspective. Feedback reinforces things. Feedback rectifies things. Feedback make things better.
But make sure whenever you give feedback, they are RAD!


Thanks for reading

I’m Adil Siddiqui, a Digital Product Designer. Also, a hand lettering enthusiast.

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