Have you ever experienced a communication barrier with your marketing partner? If you’ve ever been involved in a web design project with too much back and forth, inefficiency, repeated target-missing and frustration, the answer is likely yes. Whether you are a web designer or trying to communicate with one, there are common problems that arise over and over again. It’s understandable-you’re trying to pinpoint something that’s multifaceted, technical, and sometimes purely subjective.
You might want to pause a moment and think about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. As you prepare to submit feedback, make sure your agency or designer is going to understand it completely; after all, no one wants to spend time and money on additional rounds of revisions. Check out these five reliable tips to help you give more effective feedback.
5 Tips for Effective Web Design Feedback
1. Be Specific
Sometimes you may get a sense about what you’re seeing—it lacks energy, it feels unprofessional, it isn’t “you”—that’s a great start, but if that’s all the feedback you provide, your designer will be left to interpret for themselves what you mean by it. If you can point to specific parts of the site that are giving you that feeling, or provide examples of what you mean, the designer is far more likely to get what you mean.
2. Explain Why
After you point out something you’d like to change, provide a little context. For one, it’s going to let the designer in on your thought process so they can catch other related aspects to support your larger goal. Secondly, that will give some buy-in from your project team. Step back and look at your feedback. If it starts to sound like a list of orders, chances are the designer will start to feel like an order-taker, and the last thing you want is for your designer to mentally check out. Let them in on your thought process so they can support what you’re trying to do.
3. Speak to the Project Goals
The best kind of feedback addresses the project goals. At Pyxl, we like to start every web design project with an in-depth “Kick Off,” where we dive into things like the company history, targeted personas, marketing strategy, desired website functionality and design direction. The most important part of that meeting is covering the project goals, the things this redesign is supposed to accomplish. Those goals are the best springboard for feedback. A common, harmful tendency in providing critique is to jump straight to giving the design solution you believe will meet a project goal. Instead, express your goal and explain specifically where and why you feel the design is not meeting it. If the designer is never presented with the goal, they’re not able to use their skills, their experience and their team to come up with multiple options of better solutions. You’ve hired professionals for a reason—use them!
4. Ask Questions
In some cases, if something seems odd to you, feel free to shoot back questions. “What will happen if we have more than three featured posts?” “Will we be able to change these product filters in the future?” “Is there a reason you’ve placed the CTA here?” For one, you’ll help the project team plan for how you intend to use the site in the future. But also, you’re giving the team a chance to fill you in on their strategy or industry best practices you may be unaware of.
5. Don’t Forget the Positives
We once had a client submit feedback on a first round of a website design. As we parsed through the lengthy list, we became more anxious. The next day, we received one last note from him: “By the way, we absolutely love the site! The design is right on target! Just needs a few changes. Sorry I forgot to mention that earlier.” If he hadn’t added that, we would have thought we completely missed the mark! Your positive feedback lets the project team know what you like so they can get a feel for the direction you want to go.
Successful communication is one of the biggest factors that makes or breaks not only your web design project, but your entire relationship with a marketing firm. Use these tips to help both go smoothly!
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Updated: Jan 18, 2023