The web design process has evolved significantly over the past couple of years. More and more agencies now work with remote clients and team members, which underscores the need to streamline the design feedback process and ensure creative collaboration between the two.
The most common issues in the design process include communication barriers when gathering feedback. When working with larger websites, even the tiniest changes are critical.
Miscommunication or improper feedback could affect your workflow, delay timelines, and may even lead to work that requires heavy iteration before it’s accepted. To prevent this from happening, it’s imperative that you use design feedback tools.
These tools effectively replace the conventional note-taking process when gathering information from clients. Instead of having clients explain each and every point, a design feedback tool allows them to offer more accurate feedback on individual elements, from subtle changes to the color palette to aligning smaller elements on screen.
Most tools have a built-in communication module that lets clients explain to designers what it is that they want. Some even have project management functionality built-in, which helps to reduce repetition and offers more transparency in the design process.
In short, design feedback tools reduce back and forth between clients, and allow designers to understand exactly what the client wants.
What is the easiest way to request & collect design feedback?
The easiest way to request and collect design feedback is through visual feedback tools. A visual feedback tool lets individuals leave feedback on an image or a screenshot. It allows you to gather accurate feedback from clients, letting clients pin notes on the elements that they want to change. Most visual feedback tools take screenshots of websites, and include basic annotation features.
How to give good feedback?
Receiving feedback and iterating on creative work is a huge part of the design process. It’s easy to go through the motions of this feedback loop without thinking critically about how to optimize the delivery of feedback when deadlines are approaching, budgets are tight, and multiple projects are being juggled. The difference between good and bad feedback can make a real impact on the final output and overall success of a project. It's not only the tools, but also the way how to ask for feedback.
1. Make your customers ask questions
A successful design process is collaborative, and by asking thoughtful questions, communication between the client and the design team is strengthened. Rather than sending a list of specific design changes that need to be made, posing questions opens up the lines of communication, encourages further discussion, and ensures that no assumptions are being made. You learn more about your customer's needs when they question design choices and a conversation ensues.
2. Communicate problems, not solutions
It can be tempting for your customer to review a design and propose solutions to things that they think are not working. Instead try to get them to communicate what the problem is, and why a design decision is troublesome. For example, if your customer doesn't like the placement of a buy button and suggest moving it to another place on the webpage, try to find out why your customer thinks users might be less inclined to buy when the button is placed elsewhere. By describing the problem, your customer is equipping your design team with more knowledge to explore other solutions, rather than feeding a solution that might not be the best one.
3. Keep the focus on strategic goals
Visual design can be subjective, so keeping the conversation focused on whether or not the design is meeting the stated goals is a great way to keep feedback discussions productive and move projects in the right direction. Instead of asking yourself if you like the new design, recall the strategic goals and key audiences. Does the design successfully address the needs of the audiences it serves? For example, if the stated goal of a website is to be the go-to resource for marketing people, does the layout support their need of finding timely updates? If so, great! If not, it’s the right time to start asking questions and describing the problem (see tip 1 & 2).
4. Consolidate feedback
Establishing a clear process for feedback delivery is critical to the success of a project, even more so when many stakeholders are involved. Consider this example: several stakeholders are reviewing a design mockup and provide comments that contradict one another. Some think by adding a short description to a button will generate more conversions, while others feel strongly that the text shouldn't be included. Not only does sorting through this feedback take time, it also puts the onus on the designer to makes sense of competing opinions and decide which one is a priority.
To avoid this cringe-inducing scenario (a project manager’s worst nightmare) ask your clients to deliver feedback that’s representative of the client team’s final opinions. We suggest having one team member be “responsible” for delivering feedback, but ensure those who need to be “consulted” had a chance to voice their opinions.
5. Good news
Everyone likes to receive affirmation on a job well done. Even though feedback meetings typically focus more on ways to improve work, we highly appreciate it when clients share what’s working really well. Not only does this encourages to keep working hard, but it also allows us to build up a knowledge base of what clients like so that we can bring more ideas to the table that align with their tastes.
Design Feedback Tools
Here’s a list of five popular design feedback tools that every designer/developer can use to optimize the communication with your customers ang to gahter feedback in a structured manner
Atarim, a tool for design feedback, is specifically designed for distributed teams and digital agencies. Atarim offers a plugin that designers can use to install on the websites of their clients. This allows them to make specific changes and leave comments.
Designers have the ability to review these screenshots and convert them into tasks that can be assigned to team members. Agency owners and their team members can view any activity updates or comments made by clients in the dashboard tool.
Atarim is designed to reduce communication barriers and includes project management capabilities. Instead of creating tasks using third-party tools such as Trello and Asana, these tasks are created directly on the Atarim dashboard.
Each member of the team can claim tasks that are displayed visually on a Kanban board. After completing the task, the team member can update the status and notify the client. Designers love it because of its low learning curve and ability for visual feedback.
Bounce is a great tool to gather feedback from clients who don't know much about digital spaces.
It is extremely easy to use. Simply send the link to Bounce directly to your client. All they need to do is to type in the URL they want to give feedback. The app automatically takes a screenshot and allows them to add comments and share it. The app works in your browser so you don't need to download anything. Instead of simply capturing URLs you can upload images and share them with clients.
Bounce is completely free to use. However, they offer a Pro Suite which includes tons of additional apps and functionality.
Droplr is available as an extension for your browser or can be downloaded to all major operating systems.
You can take photos, annotate them or use the built-in image editor to add elements such as different shapes and colors quickly. You can also record webcam video and screen recording are possible.
Designers can get better feedback. You can download all images and recordings from the cloud or share them with others.
InVision, a popular design feedback tool, comes with over 100 templates from companies such as Microsoft and Atlassian. InVision is a prototyping and wireframing tool that allows designers to create mockups of websites and get feedback from clients.
To give an accurate representation of the final product, each mockup can be rendered. To leave feedback, clients don't have to sign up for InVision; any client can use a link.
Clients can view the mockups by sharing a link with designers and then leave feedback. InVision allows designers to easily gather feedback, from replacing icons to changing active elements such as the hover state or popup windows.
Its team management functionality is lacking. You can also sign up for it free of charge, but the price increases dramatically if you need to add more users.
ProjectHuddle was created for a specific purpose -- to help teams implement WordPress solutions for clients, but not necessarily developers. Clients can choose specific areas of your design and point, click and add comments to your mockups or site designs.
ProjectHuddle allows clients to show and tell. This provides targeted feedback that helps improve efficiency.
ProjectHuddle, a self-hosted client feedback platform that allows you to receive feedback on an infinite number of client sites via one central dashboard, is called ProjectHuddle.
It was created with non-technical users in mind. The feedback input options are very limited so users can concentrate on giving feedback and not getting lost in the process of using the tool.
To reduce friction and back and forth, it’s important that you know how to get good feedback. When working with larger clients, always choose specific points of contact, primarily those who know a thing or two about web design.
More importantly, it’s best to ask for feedback that you think will help move the project along. Always keep some goals in mind when asking for feedback, and try to ask for examples so you have a better idea of what the client wants.
Tools help you structuring the process and define communication channels. It's best, when there is only one dedicated channel for communication where all the information is bundled.
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