How to provide feedback to a designer
Designing a custom website (or designing anything, probably) can be a bit of a dance between the customer and the designer. Like a dance, there is a bit of give and take with one party leading, and the other responding. The steps go something like this:
1. The customer provides a basic outline or brief, and/or works one out with the designer
2. The designer interprets the brief, and provides an initial draft
3. The customer then provides feedback – any changes they want, new references the design should be more like etc
4. The designer makes those changes, and provides a new draft for feedback
And so on, repeating steps 3 and 4 until the design ticks all the boxes the customer needs it to, at which point they approve the design, and the next part of the process begins.
There are a number of ways of providing the feedback designers need, not all of which are particularly obvious or efficient. In a nutshell, the more efficient the communication process, the better the eventual outcome.
Our preferred way of receiving client feedback is solution-focussed feedback (SFF). SFF concentrates on the goal. Where do we want to get to? We want to get to THERE. It’s about saying what you want, and it’s not about saying what you don’t want. For example:
“I need it to be this colour,” (pointing at an example) is a solution-focussed response; whereas
“I don’t like the colour you’ve used,” is not, and
“You didn’t listen to what I said,” is also not
The first example, says “do it like this” and shows a sample. It focuses on the solution. The second one only says that this particular colour is not liked. It focusses on a feeling. Which exact shade of colour out of the millions available, does the customer actually want then? The designer doesn’t know. They only know how the client feels.
It’s ok to have feelings, but feelings won’t help the designer. Designers need examples.
There are of course many different ways of communicating, and arguably no one single correct way for anything. Everyone brings their own experience to the process, however sometimes a few guidelines can help dancing partners create something amazing!