Are you working on a website redesign project? Is gaining feedback a major part of your design process? It definitely should be.
Two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain & boring. So it’s important to achieve a great design. Getting critical, constructive feedback at various stages of a design project is important to producing a well-designed website and making clients happy.
As a web designer, you know what a good web design looks like. But clients know what they want. Finding a happy medium, corresponding with your client and having clear communication is the key to a successful website redesign.
What is Critical Feedback and why do you need it?
Critical Feedback is your client’s gut reaction to your work or deliverable. This information is used as a basis for improvement. Gaining feedback from your clients helps you gain insight into how your design process is progressing and what changes need to be made to satisfy the client. Clear communication helps design projects run so much smoother. Here’s what our Senior Account Manager, Kerstin has to say.
“Getting honest and transparent client feedback at the start of any website or digital marketing project is crucial for both the client and the agency team. When detailed and transparent client feedback is given at the beginning of a project vs. the end, both partners are set up for a happy project road ahead. If this input isn’t given in the beginning, the client will continue to be disappointed in the work being presented/executed but the creative team will feel like they are nailing it!”
Client Feedback Leads to More Successful Projects
Clients – this one’s for you.
The more details and reasoning behind client feedback, the better. This leaves room for the agency team to get inspired with new ideas. If a client doesn’t know why they dislike something, that’s ok too! Just say you don’t like it, or else, you’re going to keep seeing it again. Projects that don’t receive this type of feedback early on can quickly turn frustrating and uninspiring for both parties involved.
Remember, the end goal is to create something both you and the designers are extremely proud of. And it’s the account manager’s job to relay your input to your agency team in the most effective way possible, even if we’re calling their baby ugly on your behalf.
There are various reasons we need client feedback for an ideal website redesign:
- Gives you the ability to provide input throughout the project. As you move through the process of redesigning a website, you can offer feedback on even the simplest design elements. For example, the designers show you what they’ve done so far. You relay that you aren’t happy with the color scheme they’ve chosen. Great feedback lets them know why a design element isn’t working for you, which is important for the improvement process. This type of feedback shows what you don’t like – so the designer can incorporate your tastes throughout the rest of the project.
- Ensures you are happy with the progress and that it matches your goals for the project. Getting feedback makes sure that they are well-informed about how the redesign process is going. Providing solid feedback at the right time throughout the process will help designers conceptualize each step of the project. That’s why at Buhv, we always start a design project with a style guide that defines the look and feel for the rest of the project. If you don’t like the style guide, we don’t go any further with the rest of the concept.
- Prevents designers from going too far in one direction The worst-case scenario is this: the designers haven’t asked for your input, you haven’t provided any insight and when you see the completed project- you hate it. This is a lose-lose for you and the designers since we’ve both wasted time and most likely lost revenue. And we honestly want you to be happy with the work.
How to give good feedback
- Be as specific as possible. Don’t just say “I don’t like this.” Say something like, “I don’t like the layout of this page because I would like this content block to be prioritized, as it is more important to my business.”
- Trust your design team. It is your job to make sure the design aligns with your goals and brand – it is the designer’s job to make it look good. If you’re having a hard time visualizing or understanding the design, ask questions before giving feedback.
- Don’t take anything personally (and vice-versa, don’t make it personal). Try to be as objective and unbiased as possible.
- Open the right DOORS Be detailed, on time, organized, adhere to rounds of revisions, and be specific.
DOORS: The Key to Giving Effective Design Feedback
- Provide as much detail as possible about a design element. Don’t just say “I don’t like it” but say “I don’t like this element because I feel another content block should take this high-priority spot on the page”
- Use the system your designers & project managers have set. Never just send an email with a bulleted list of things you like & dislike.
- On Time
- Not too late, not too early. Don’t provide feedback before a deliverable is finished. Don’t deliver feedback late since this will hold up the entire project timeline.
- Rounds of Revision
- After the designer has moved past a round of revisions, don’t go back on updates or changes. The design process is linear – going back on older design versions will throw the entire project off track.
- Be very specific about the insight you’re giving. Use the feedback templates to give notes about the right element on the right page. Giving vague feedback confuses the designers and they might change something you actually liked.
How to Get the Client Feedback you want
Designers & Agency friends, this one’s for you.
You know the benefits of getting client feedback, but what’s the best way to get it? Here are some tips for getting the most helpful, most insightful feedback from your clients.
- Layout the schedule. When scheduling your project timeline, define exactly when client feedback is due, which is usually after certain stages of the design have been delivered. Don’t ask before a deliverable is completed. And if you’re a client, don’t give it until it’s asked for.
- Present and explain. Don’t just send a client a wireframe or branding guideline and expect them to understand your direction or train of thought. Present your design and then let the client ask questions. Having a full understanding of both the design and the client’s ideas is a necessary step to gaining feedback.
- Use the right tools and stay organized. At Buhv Designs, we use a tool called InVision to present and gather feedback. This helps clients visualize the website design (without needing developers) and leave comments throughout. If there is a more involved project with a lot of moving parts, we use a spreadsheet so that clients can leave specific comments about specific sections or items.
Need help planning for your new website? This guide has planning tips, a helpful worksheet, and insights by industry.