As a website designer, one of the most frustrating aspects of your job is trying to decipher what a client’s feedback means. And if you’re still relying on outdated methods of communication, you’re missing a chance to become more efficient in your workflow.

The Friction of Client Feedback

When it comes to gathering feedback, website designers often encounter two major points of friction:

  • Getting enough feedback. Most web designers have trouble getting enough feedback. As a result, they’re handcuffed by the feedback that they do receive. And if it happens to be off base or inaccurate, there isn’t any way of knowing. Feedback from a variety of clients and critics is good because it helps you identify the overarching trends.
  • Getting clear feedback. For feedback to be effective, it must be clear and precise. Vague statements and platitudes will do you no good. You need pure insights that pave the way for an actionable response plan.

The goal should always be to receive feedback that’s high in both quantity and quality. If you’re missing either of these elements, the long-term value is limited and you’ll fail to improve at scale.

4 Tips for Collecting More Meaningful Feedback

It’s easy to criticize clients for not providing adequate feedback, but be careful about casting stones. In the majority of cases, poor feedback actually stems from your own inability to seek out the right information. 

Keeping this in mind, here are a few specific ways you can collect more meaningful feedback for your web design projects. 

1. Be Clear About What You Want

Most people aren’t experienced with giving feedback. One of the byproducts of this inexperience is the limited capacity to provide clear and actionable takeaways. Thus, it’s important that you set your clients up well on the front end by making it very clear what you want from them.

If you’re looking for feedback on a specific element, ask about it. If you’re merely looking for big picture feedback so that you can shift gears and focus on the granular details of the design, make it clear that this is just a basic prototype and that you’re looking for clearance to continue on. 

2. Use the Right Tools

Getting clients to open up and provide feedback can be hard enough on its own – don’t make it more difficult than it has to be by forcing them to explain their thoughts and criticism in an email or over the phone. Use the right tools to make feedback and collaboration as simple as possible.

Userback is one tool that comes to mind. It eliminates the common friction and confusion that underscores traditional feedback by giving clients the ability to take annotate and markup screenshots so that you can see the design precisely how your client sees it. This sort of functionality can save hours of back and forth communication.

3. Ask Better Questions

Open-ended questions waste time and fail to generate meaningful takeaways. It’s important that you ask better questions – specific ones – to unearth what the client really thinks and feels. Good questions include:

  • What do you find confusing about this design?
  • What part of the design gets you excited?
  • Which element of the design seems inconsistent with your brand?
  • What features are missing?

Your questions should guide the client without influencing their answers. It’s important that you don’t ask leading questions, which could taint the feedback you receive and limit the effectiveness of the takeaways.

4. Continue Asking Why

As a follow up to any question you don’t feel was answered appropriately, always ask “why?” And if you don’t get enough clarity, ask why again and again. With each answer, you’re able to peel away another layer, which will eventually get you to the meat of the issue.

Become a Better Web Designer

You can’t become a better web designer if you continue to do the same things over and over again. While you might have a few skills and tricks up your sleeves, this repetitive behavior also opens you up to making the same mistakes over and over again.

By proactively seeking out better website design feedback, you can collect more meaningful insights that lead you to improve, grow, and generate superior results.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.