3 Useful Tips For Humanised Feedback

Sebastian Labro
May 29, 2023
min read

We all know the cliché saying “time is money”. Time is one of the most valuable commodities we all have, especially in our working lives.

With that said, why is it that projects so often suffer from getting pushed back or getting stuck in endless feedback loops?

It’s fair to say that we live in an era where there is an overload of information - there is constantly something demanding our attention. The result? We race to finish a creative task, with feedback given from a tunnel-vision perspective which fails to see the full picture and places unhelpful focus on results-alone.

I attended Design Pickle and MarkUp.io’s How To Fix Your Ineffective Creative Feedback! webinar a few weeks ago and learnt 3 key methods that we should all look to utilise to guide our creative feedback processes.

A group brainstorming ideas
Brainstorming and Brief Writing

Setting up your Project for Success

I am a firm believer that a project’s success is best achieved through a brief which is customer-focused, fact-based and thorough.

Time spent reviewing work can be minimised down the line if stakeholders articulate their vision in a clear and concise brief from the start. Instead of limiting yourself to just using words, why not provide examples like screenshots or sketches to better communicate your creative vision?

If we invest more time at the start of a project, setting clear goals and outlining key roles and responsibilities for all involved stakeholders, the creative team can better ensure that all and any expectations are met.

A person talking to a client via video call
Presenting Work to Clients

Create a Healthy Dialogue

As creatives, we all have to put on a brave face and not take criticism personally. Feedback can be misinterpreted due to the tone or selected words, which may come across as confrontational or “fighting”.

When reading through written feedback, it’s best to analyse the creative side by side and join the dots to ensure that everyone understands what needs to be done next. Context is absolutely crucial. Using the best tools to communicate is the next tip-top tip. With a simple screen recording using Loom, the feedback becomes contextualised as the client talks through and points out the changes by showing examples of what they mean by their feedback.

Alternatively, what I find really helpful is to schedule a huddle session with a client where we go through the design under a magnifying glass. This can take a bit longer, but ultimately the session is concluded with a finished product.

Handshake in agreement
Being on the Same Page

Meet in the Middle

By actively contributing to a healthy dialogue, where there is a reason to each decision, friction during the feedback stage can be minimised.

However, feedback may often feel one-sided or, even worse, dictatorial/micro-managing. Ultimately, this shouldn't be the case.

I’d like to emphasise again to strive to create a healthy dialogue. The best way is to approach giving feedback in a form of a question. Ask the Creative responsible for a project what was the intent behind a specific design decision as this might shed some light on their reasoning.

Remember, Creatives are industry experts and a majority of the design decisions are based on customer experience and best practices. So it’s important to respect their decision-making processes.

It’s important therefore to find the middle ground. At the end of the day, everyone is aiming for the same goal and wants to deliver the best work that will ensure the success of the project.

"Time for a change"​ writing in a Post-It note
Time for Action

80% of review time can be saved with good-quality communication

Consider this quote: “Everything always gets better with good quality feedback.”

I used to dread feedback, wondering “what if they don’t like it?” or “why are there more changes that need to be made?”.

As I continue my creative career, I have learnt to take feedback as a form of improving my skillset. If there’s anything unclear, I would respond with design options to decipher our clients’ train of thought - communicating solutions that keep the project closer to completion.

Let’s go back to the saying “time is money”. All projects are bound by time restrictions and it's our role as Creatives to deliver an aesthetically-pleasing and practical solution on time.

By leveraging these three tips, we can really save time, deliver faster, make clients, staff and stakeholders happier and reduce the risk of turnover.

If you are a stakeholder or currently in a long-winded project, how can we as Creative make the process more seamless and time-worthy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment below.

Video screenshot of Design Pickles webinar
Design Pickle Webinar

Learn More

Referring back to the webinar, I really resonated with centralising feedback into one platform as it simplifies the client’s journey and archives all communication so both parties can be held accountable. I’m looking forward to implementing this in our work processes.

Interested in learning more about giving feedback? Check out the article and webinar linked below.

Feedback guidelines by Dropbox: 8 Ways to Give Better Feedback to Creatives

Design Pickle and MarkUp.io: How To Fix Your Ineffective Creative Feedback!

Sebastian Labro
Digital Creative