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The Importance of Constructive Feedback in Design

Posted: June 20th 2016

Hey, Constructive Feedback, you can always sit with us!

It is no secret that everyone likes positive feedback (unless you are negative feedback, then that may be a touchy subject) but one type of feedback that is arguably just as important is constructive feedback. Do you remember when you were at school and you were asked to mark your partner’s work and give constructive feedback? Sometimes it could be difficult because you didn’t want to come across as being patronising or mean or sometimes, your partner’s work was just that good that the only improvements you could think of were actually for how you could make your work as good as theirs. Well, it turns out that our teachers were trying to teach us an important skill that we would need more than we think.

Why is feedback so important?

Feedback is important in any job role as it enables you to better yourself and grow your skill sets. As human beings, it is natural that we all have opinions, some of which are likely to be different to others. When it comes to design in general, it is totally subjective. It is very much opinion-based, which is why feedback from clients is extremely important to designers. They need to ensure that you are happy and therefore, it is imperative that you like the way in which your website is designed.

What is considered helpful feedback when it comes to design?

It is completely natural to look and something and just think, “I like that” or “I don’t” and that is absolutely fine because this establishes your general feelings towards the design at first. But in order to either a) go in the opposite direction (if your initial reaction is that you do not like the design) or b) move forward (if you do like it), then you need to let your designer know why it is you don’t like it or why it is you do and if there are any improvements that you suggest.

How do I start?

First of all, please do not worry if you do not like the first batch of designs. This is a process and therefore, nothing will go ahead to build the website until you are happy with the designs.

One way to start is to think: is there anything I quite like about this design? If yes, then maybe list the things you like about it as it will help to isolate the things that you would like to be changed. Here are some things to help start you off:

  • Colour scheme - is there a particular colour that has been used that you are not as keen on or is a particular colour not being used enough?
  • Layout - Could there be a section that you don’t like because of the way it has been laid out?
  • Call to actions - Is something just not grabbing your attention as you hoped it would?

All of these things are constructive, helpful feedback which enable your designers to go off and make changes to the design. If you are really struggling, you could refer to the diagram below and think, on a scale of 1 - 10, how much does something bother me on this design?

design_bother_scale

Although this is just a light-hearted scale, it is a good way to put things into perspective on the design, establishing what you like and what you really don’t like (you'll hopefully never be an 8, 9 or especially a 10…).

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” - Ken Blanchard

Your feedback is important throughout the whole process of website build and completion, not just the design stage. Your designers want to ensure that you have the best experience possible in the process of making your website idea a reality, so I encourage you to let them know if there are any areas in which your website can be improved. This will help to turn that constructive feedback into positive feedback next time which, as a result, will make for a happy you and a fantastic website.

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