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Erick Jones

Experience sharing: Dealing with negative feedback

Not long ago I came across a topic that’s recurring on our Design career: Critique. Also negative ones. So I decided to write about this in hope to help other Designers in similar situation.

I’ve presented the proposal for a landing page in our team. Important to mention is: I’ve spent several hours to come to that state on discovery phase with developers and other stakeholders, structuring the content and afterwards choosing the images, researching ideas, checking contrast, alignments and how the Call-to-actions could be better positioned in different viewports, and one developer started to give some feedbacks: “the landing page doesn’t have enough colors”, “the UX of the page is not good” and some other rough comments.

Be proactive and go behind the answers.

The first reaction of a Designer would be: “Front-Enders shouldn’t care about colours” or “Why the hell are you talking about UX?” but I think it’s a great opportunity for practicing something that I have learned after so many years as a Designer:

Every feedback is valid

Why? The feedback shows the struggle or impression of that particular user. We need to take this in consideration in our Designs. Probably that opinion could be the same of thousand other users. If somebody says “You Design sucks”, ask them why they think this and try to get to the reason with the precision of a scientist because that’s what we should do. Don’t be reactive. Don’t let your emotions do the job you should be doing. Be proactive and go behind the answers.

And how to answer to these kind of feedback? My approach:

My answer was exactly this one: “Sure, we let’s find a better solution together”. And we did it.

And that is, believe it or not, a game changer. You are inviting the feedback giver to think about what would solve that particular question together with you. If you read the article I wrote about clashes between Designers and Developers, you will see the same affirmation that we can have her: Collaboration is the key to a well designed project.

  • Don’t be afraid of not having the answers in the very moment somebody asks;
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong and revisit your previous decisions;
  • Don’t be afraid of failing – that’s the only way to learn new things and improve old things;
  • Don’t be afraid of feedback because they are just exactly what you need in order to make a bullet-proof Design piece.

I want to add here that this is not an easy thing to do. Many times we don’t have the nerves, patience or will to take a negative feedback in a good way, but we should aim for it. We need to master this skill.

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash


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