How to give better design feedback

Creativity is all about collaboration which is why, whether you are leading a team or part of it, giving great feedback is an essential skill. In this episode, we will look at the two types of feedback, a model to give great feedback and some critical things to always keep in mind.

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Creativity is all about collaboration. Amazing things happen when people work together. And that’s exactly why design feedback is so important. The problem is that It is easier said than done. In this case it is literally about what is said.

2 types of feedback

Great feedback is about a whole lot more than what is said. The foundation of great feedback is trust. There are two basics types of feedback. One that builds trust and one that destroys it. You will immediately think of people who have done both types of feedback and take a second to see how you think about those people.



Feedback is a lot like leadership where you need strike a balance. The feedback needs to be strong and clear enough that it provides leadership and makes the work better. But it needs to leave enough space that it respects the teams creative process, challenges them to find new solutions and actually makes thing better.

A good feedback model

Striking that balance can be difficult so here is a simple model you can use to make sure you are giving the best feedback and striking the best balance possible.

Find the issues you think need to be solved or improved.

See something that looks sub-optimal and start to figure out why.
Ask questions to understand thinking and decisions instead of making statements

Identify a problem, understand its cause, and propose a possible remedy.
Propose – not solve.
Be specific about the problems you see but be sure to give problems to be solved not solutions to be vetted.
Discuss the feedback.
Be aware to give constructive feedback and destructive.
Be visual if needed.
Revisit my 10/80/10 episode

Things to think about

Understand the type of feedback they are looking for
Feedback, insight, details, approval?

Define when you leave titles at the door – and you need those times

Be direct and honest
Be honest even when its hard
Direct and honest but not personal

Have a source of truth and refer back to it
Not my opinion vs. yours

Keep the feedback loop as small as possible
When there are problems there is a tendency to bring more people into the process. Fight that urge.

Don’t make it about you

Final thought

Like most things there isn’t an easy answer here and great feedback is more of an art than a science. Understand that ‘good’ and ‘I like’ are compromise phrases.

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