When you’re creating a new brand, capturing a client’s design feedback is critical to the process. In most cases, clients will want to make changes or see additional concepts. Understanding your client’s needs and asking the right questions is a skill set you can actively develop. It’ll help you ensure you always get constructive feedback and in turn, improve your work.
Badgeland believes that feedback is an important part of the design process, and it’s the part of the project that designers get the most frustrated about because they feel it doesn’t work. Each party has strong opinions and tension will rise, and it becomes hard to keep your cool when someone else understands what you are trying to say.
Presentation is everything
The best way to set yourself up for success is to present your concepts in deliberately. Start and end your presentation with your strongest concepts. Provide mockups of signs, marketing collateral, or even swag. Showing the brand in context can really sell them on your vision.
Show them a variety of concepts to show a contrast of ideas. If you have concepts that follow a theme, group them together. Even breaking down a logo into important elements before revealing the entire concept can help explain its story.
The Netflix Effect
Providing a variety of concepts is great, but showing too many can work against you. How many times have you opened Netflix and twenty minutes later, still haven’t picked a show?
Keep it minimalistic. Giving the client too many options makes the process overwhelming and difficult, especially when there are multiple decision-makers. Present only a handful of solid options and their decision process will be smoother.
Create a survey of ideas
A great way to gather feedback before you begin the design process is to put together a survey of logo examples. Be sure to show them examples from their particular industry so they can relate to them.
If you’re working with an eye care company, examples of construction logos will be difficult for them to relate to. However, you should show them plenty of examples within the style they are looking for. Together, you can identify elements they like and don’t like within this set. This will give you a clear direction for where to start with your branding concepts.
Dig deeper for constructive feedback
Often clients have a difficult time expressing why they like or dislike a concept other than attributing it to their gut reaction. It’s your job to probe them with smart, direct questions. We call this precision questioning.
You must dig deep to get helpful feedback. Ask specific questions about your concepts. What don’t you like about this font? Is it too thick or too thin? Would you like to see more color options? Asking deeper questions can also lead you to questions you may not have thought of.
5 Ways to Get Better Feedback
1 – Be Upfront
One of the best things you can do to improve the quantity and quality of feedback is to explain that the web design process requires your work as well as input from the client. Remind the client that the effectiveness of their website is drastically improved if they get involved in the process and provide their feedback.
As a designer, you can create a website that is beautiful, but if it doesn’t meet the needs of the client, it really does no good. Once clients truly realize that the outcome is going to impacted by their feedback, they’ll typically get more involved. I like to explain this at the start of the project as I have found that it will save some time that could otherwise be wasted.
2 – Use an Interview/Survey
When you accept a new project for a client, one of the first things you should do is go through a series of questions that will help the client to think about specifically what they want and need from a website. Sometimes clients won’t give much input on what they want, but once you ask them some specific questions the wheels will start rolling and they’ll quickly see how they can get more involved. It’s a good idea to have some standard questions that you go over with all of your clients, and of course, you’ll want to add some specific questions according to the project at hand.
3 – Ask the Right Questions
Simply asking questions is not enough, they also need to be the right questions. Clients that are hesitant to give much feedback will often assume certain things, so they are unlikely to share their thoughts unless you ask. Asking the right questions can save you time and make the project more successful, while not asking the right questions will usually lead to more work down the road when you realize that the client isn’t interested in what you’ve been doing. Take the time to be sure that you have addressed all the important issues with the clients and asked all of the necessary questions.
4 – Actually Listen
If clients see that you are taking their feedback and putting it into action, they’ll be more likely to stay involved. On the other hand, if clients feel like what they are saying is pointless because they don’t see the results in your work, they will probably stop giving much feedback.
5 – Explain the Entire Process
From my experience, part of the reason that clients don’t give more feedback is that they are unfamiliar with the whole process of building a website. I’ve found that when I take the time to explain things about the process, clients will be more comfortable and open to sharing their thoughts. Before a project gets started I’ll usually explain that I’ll need some time to talk with them so I know specifically what they are looking for on their website. After that, I’ll get started with the design and come back to them throughout for their feedback. Once I have their feedback I’ll be able to put it into practice and give them what they want. After the understand more about how the process will work they usually are comfortable enough to get more involved.
Your main goal should always be to knock it out of the park for your client. However, more times than not, you’ll have multiple stages of revisions with your client. It’s up to you to gather as much constructive feedback as you can at each stage to help them arrive at the winner earlier.