Significance of design feedback in the product design process
In the words of Bill Gates, "We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve." Yet, in the dynamic world of product design, embracing the transformative potential of feedback is not always easy. Many designers overlook this crucial aspect or struggle to incorporate feedback effectively. Why? Because receiving criticism, especially when it strikes at the core of our creations, can be daunting. However, creating exceptional products is a complex endeavor that demands careful consideration of multiple factors. As a product designer, you invest countless hours in research, user testing, and implementation, all leading up to the grand moment of releasing your creation to the market.
But here's the secret: receiving feedback at the right junctures, from the right sources, is the key to unlocking the true potential of your designs. It can significantly enhance the success rate of your product and propel it to new heights. In this blog, we will embark on a journey to explore the profound role of feedback in the product design process. We will delve into strategies and insights that will empower you as a designer to navigate the world of feedback, harness its power, and use it constructively.
What is design feedback?
To comprehend the true essence of design feedback, let's start by exploring its fundamental nature. Feedback can be defined as a form of communication that involves receiving and responding to information regarding performance in relation to a predefined goal.
However, design feedback goes beyond simple communication—it serves as a catalyst for greatness. Design is an inherently collaborative process where the collective efforts of a team unlock its full potential. When it comes to refining product designs, embracing diverse perspectives becomes essential.
At its core, the ultimate purpose of design is to solve specific user problems. As a product designer, you hold the key to creating innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by your users. It is crucial to recognize that your creations are not meant solely for your company's or personal fulfillment but rather to serve the needs of your target audience.
As the saying goes, "Customers won't truly care about any particular technology unless it offers a superior solution to their specific needs." This highlights the importance of understanding your users and designing products that provide meaningful value to them. To achieve this, design feedback becomes paramount.
Design feedback serves as a vital tool in your arsenal, enabling you to refine and enhance your designs. It offers insights and perspectives from various stakeholders, including users, colleagues, and clients. By incorporating feedback at every stage of the design process, you can ensure that your product is on the right path to success.
When should you receive/give feedback?
Receiving and giving feedback should be an integral part of your design process, happening regularly rather than waiting for a specific moment. In today's dynamic digital landscape, every product is continuously evolving, and feedback from stakeholders is crucial at every stage to ensure that your product is on the right path and effectively addressing the intended problems.
By incorporating feedback into your design process at regular intervals, you create a proactive approach that helps you navigate each stage with clarity. Whether it's research, brainstorming, design, testing, or deployment, seeking feedback ensures that all aspects of your product receive input from team members, allowing you to incorporate valuable suggestions and insights at the right time.
Embracing feedback throughout the entire design journey promotes a collaborative environment where ideas can be refined, and potential issues can be identified and resolved early on. It empowers your team to collectively shape and improve the product, maximizing its potential for success. So, rather than waiting for the "perfect" moment, actively seek and provide feedback to foster continuous improvement and create a remarkable product.
Why should you receive/give feedback?
Design feedback plays a pivotal role in the product design process, bringing numerous benefits and contributing to the overall success of your design. It serves as a valuable compass, guiding you towards creating a product that meets user needs, solves their problems, and exceeds their expectations. By actively seeking and incorporating design feedback, you can refine your ideas, iterate on your designs, and ultimately deliver a product that resonates with your target audience.
The importance of design feedback stems from its ability to provide fresh perspectives and critical insights. As a product designer, you may deeply understand your product and its features, but you are still subjective to your own biases and assumptions. Design feedback serves as a reality check, helping you uncover blind spots, identify areas for improvement, and challenge your design choices.
Let's delve into why design feedback is so important:
Design feedback Improves the design
Designing a product is indeed one of the most challenging jobs. As it is said, "Customers won't care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way." As a product designer, you must always remember you are not designing the products for your company or yourself but for the user and the problem they face that you are trying to solve. A fine balance between aesthetics, usability, and simplicity makes a product successful.
However, it's not only that. Truth be told, an eye for design doesn't guarantee a successful product. It takes more than that. One of these things is receiving feedback from your users, which plays an important role in shaping your product. No matter how much attention you have paid in your research and development phase, there could be gaps in your research or assumptions that need to be tested before you go live with the finished design.
This is where user testing comes into play. User testing is a process by which designers get feedback about their designs from actual users of their products and services to see if they work as expected. If there are any issues or problems with their design, they can make changes accordingly before going live. User testing helps you identify problems early on while they're still easy (and affordable) to fix.
Fosters User-Centric Approach
The ultimate goal of design is to create products that solve specific user problems. Design feedback enables you to gather valuable insights directly from users, ensuring that their needs, preferences, and pain points are thoroughly understood and addressed. By incorporating user feedback early on and throughout the design process, you can align your design decisions with user expectations, resulting in a more user-centric and successful product.
Drives Innovation and Creativity
Feedback stimulates creativity and promotes innovation by encouraging designers to explore alternative solutions and think outside the box. Constructive feedback challenges designers to push the boundaries of their ideas, sparking new insights and inspiring novel approaches. By embracing feedback, you create an environment that fosters innovation, enabling your team to create groundbreaking and distinctive designs.
It builds your confidence and enhances your skills as a designer.
We don't even realize that our beliefs always limit our work. Working with other designers from different backgrounds and having different opinions, skills, and experiences widens your horizons and give you a fresh perspective.
We often take it for granted that we know what we're doing — or worse, we'll pretend to know just because we're passionate about something. Learning never ends, and if you want to be the best, be open to feedback and try to understand and analyze them to gain more insights.
Promotes collaboration and teamwork.
No great products are ever built alone; collaboration remains the key. When the team members, stakeholders, and clients involved in product design decisions, are regularly asked or consulted for their feedback, it brings fresh ideas to the table. It gives them a sense of pride and ownership, knowing their suggestions are valued and heard.
Design feedback facilitates an iterative improvement process, allowing you to continuously refine and enhance your design based on real-world insights and user feedback. By embracing a feedback-driven approach, you can address design flaws, optimize usability, and deliver an exceptional user experience. This iterative cycle of feedback and improvement ensures that your product evolves and stays relevant in a dynamic and ever-changing market.
How to give Design feedback?
One of the biggest problems with feedback is that people often don’t give enough of it or give too much at once. In either case, both scenarios can lead to confusion and frustration for all parties involved. Genuine and timely feedback should be a natural part of the design process that aligns with the ultimate goals of the product. If done well, you will see how it can drastically enhance your final results.
Here are a few things you should remember while giving the design feedback:
Start with the good.
It might sound obvious, but always start with the good things you see in the design. Every designer will put a lot of work into their project. And every designer feels proud when they've created something. So it's only natural that a designer's project is something they feel passionate about. This passion is something you can use to your advantage to boost your chances of getting what you want from their design. “I see you used a grid structure for the website layout. I always advocate for this as it makes the design more usable and easier to navigate. So I liked that.” This is a good way to start giving constructive feedback that the designer will like and execute.
Stay focused on the goals.
As I have mentioned earlier, design is subjective, and there isn't a single right way to do it. What one user might love, another might hate. You should always keep the goal in mind when giving feedback. Rather than "Oh, I don't like the color" or something similar, start by stating your goal, then explain what you think is preventing the goal from being accomplished. For example, your app's goal is to get more sign-ups, and the signup button doesn't pop up. A good way to give feedback is to share more button, color, and font options for users to navigate easily.
You would barely see any difference in the next iteration if your feedback is vague and includes words like "it's just not clicking" or "this is not impressive enough." It is important to speak your mind and be clear about what you don't like. "These colors are too bold and could be overwhelming our users" is a better way of saying that "it doesn't click right."
Feedback on the design and not the designer
If there are specific issues with the design, you can mention them in the feedback. But it is important to know that you are giving feedback that bounces back on the design and not on the designer's preferences or personality; that could shake up the trust wall you have built between the two of you.
Give regular feedback.
Regular feedback is essential in any designer-client relationship. Just like in any relationship, consistent feedback provides designers with the confidence and assurance they need in their work. By establishing open lines of communication with your designer, you can actively discuss the design process and ensure that the project stays on the right track. Sharing your preferences and insights with the designer throughout the design process enables them to effectively meet your expectations and deliver the desired outcome within the designated timeframe.
How to receive and make use of feedback?
Now, if you are on this side of the table, you must learn how to receive feedback, use it for your good, and help you become a better designer.
Let's see some quick tips that can help you go a long way:
Don’t Be Afraid and take notes.
Don't be afraid; it's just feedback! When you are receiving feedback, especially a negative one, do not listen to the answer, but listen to understand the thought process behind the change that is being suggested. Defending your design decisions may come naturally to you, but it is important to understand from their perspective what is not working here. Be sure to take notes, as recalling these suggestions during reiteration is easier.
Don't let your ego get in the way.
Don't let your ego get in between you and the ultimate goal of the product you're working for. Staying open-minded is a virtue of a good designer. At every step of your design process, you must always remember the problem you are trying to solve with this product. When you keep all the feedback focusing on how best you can resolve this problem, it becomes easier to work towards it and take the suggestions for the ultimate goal you are trying to achieve.
Clarify your doubts.
Never hesitate to ask questions. There is a popular saying: " The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute; the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” If something is unclear, ask a question; if you think what they are suggesting might not work, counter it with an explanation but be vocal about your thoughts and bring a healthy discussion to the table for the best of your product. Hey, I liked that feature we discussed, but I have a question. What if this happens? What do you think, then? Other than that, I'm all for it! Let's move forward after you get my thoughts.
Justify your decisions
The best way to do this is by justifying your ideas in a way that makes sense. Explain why you are trying to achieve a certain goal and how it will improve the design, rather than saying, ‘Because I said so'. This leads to better understanding which results in a more meaningful discussion. Remember to also work with the team and provide as much information and context as possible; this reduces friction and misunderstandings later.
Consolidate and prioritize the feedback.
You may find yourself with many suggestions and feedback from multiple perspectives. It is important to list them, review them all, and connect them with the objective of the meeting. Based on that, you should group them on a priority basis. This will remove the undue pressure from your head while ensuring the result is mutually agreed upon.
Listening and being willing to hear what others are saying are essential elements of effective design collaboration. We hope the tips in this post will help you improve your design feedback and collaboration process, whether you're giving or receiving. This is an area where improvement can come from any direction, so we urge you to be open to all feedback that comes your way.
Design Feedback with MockFlow
Embracing the transformative potential of feedback is crucial in the dynamic world of product design. To unlock the true potential of your designs, incorporating feedback at the right junctures from the right sources is key. MockFlow, the ultimate design collaboration tool, simplifies the process by facilitating collaboration not only for UI designs but also for other design assets.
With MockFlow, design collaboration is made easier through its powerful features:
- Conduct audio/video calls directly inside the editor, enabling real-time communication and seamless collaboration.
- Utilize the presentation mode to convey design concepts and gather feedback from stakeholders in a clear and engaging manner.
For design assets, MockFlow provides a comprehensive set of tools:
- Bring design files to the designated design space in MockFlow.
- Incorporate design assets effortlessly using the direct Photoshop plugin, eliminating the need for cumbersome file transfers and ensuring a smooth workflow. Add inline comments and initiate discussions in separate threads to facilitate collaboration and suggest changes.
- Create versions of the files and compare them side by side for efficient iteration.
- Add approval status to the files, ensuring clear visibility and tracking of the approval process.
By leveraging the power of MockFlow, designers can unleash their creativity, enhance collaboration, and deliver exceptional products that resonate with their target audience.
Ready to supercharge your design collaboration? Sign up for free and experience the power of streamlined feedback and collaboration in your design process.