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Giving better design feedback

“John in marketing wants to be able to log in directly on the home page, but Tim in engineering would prefer it on its own page. Can we compromise?”

No. We cannot compromise.

If you tell your barber that you like it short, but your significant other likes it long, you’re gonna get a mullet.

That was Mike Monteiro in a post from a few years ago about giving better design feedback. It got me wondering how you keep things “on brief” when talking about your work with clients.

Photos by Tom Magliery

When I send options for a new identity I’ll include a page near the end with pointers on how to compare ideas and keep feedback centred on the design brief. There’ll be questions such as:

  • What option will your customers be most receptive toward?
  • What idea is stronger at conveying your company as (insert words from the brief)?
  • What direction is best at helping you stand out from your competitors?
  • What design will keep your identity the freshest for longest?

I’ll normally follow the questions with a page showing my answers, talked about with the client after a few days have passed. I’ve found that those few days help when it comes to reaching consensus and avoiding spur-of-the-moment decisions — “It’s growing on me” is something I’ve heard now and again.

Is there anything you do to make sure client feedback is valuable and on point?

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