Don’t Take Design Critique as an Insult

Posted 3 weeks ago by Fabricio Teixeira

Receiving feedback is a natural part of the design process, and in every round of feedback the design tends to get stronger and tighter. But how do you avoid taking feedback personally?

Design critique sessions are nothing new. They are an integral part of the design process, and over the last years modern companies have found smart and efficient ways to incorporate these sessions into everything they design and build. Design critique sessions help the team be on the same page about what is being designed, and also help the designer understand the needs of every team and department in their company — to make sure that their design solution accommodates for most of them.

You show the work. People comment. You learn about what their needs are.

But some designers get really defensive when hearing feedback about their work. They take critique as an insult. And in the impulse of pushing back on every comment that’s coming from other team members, this type of designer tends to lose themselves in illogic arguments and fight for things that are irrelevant considering the broader scheme of things.

“Knowing how to receive and act on feedback is part of a designer’s job, and is also what differentiates good and bad designers.”

Identifying good vs. bad feedback

The first step when receiving feedback is to filter out bad, poorly formulated, or destructive feedback. A few characteristics of bad feedback:

“A good way to prevent bad feedback of coming up in the first place is to start every meeting with a recap of the goals. What are we trying to achieve here? Where are we in the process? What feedback are we expecting to discuss today?”

Discussing the feedback you received

When you get good, relevant feedback, the next step is to make sure you discuss it with your peers. Younger designers tend to take feedback straight as action items, without having a proper discussion about it . That’s where teams most commonly spin their wheels: addressing feedback that hasn’t been properly discussed, thought through, and agreed on.

Acting on what you heard

The work is not over when the critique session ends. The next step is (obviously) to address the feedback you heard —
but don’t do it right away. Give your brain (and your team’s brain) some time to reflect on what was discussed, preferably only starting to address it on the next day.

“Also: don’t get too obsessed with the details, or too attached with a particular solution. Designs evolve, will only be bulletproof when vetted by your peers/clients, and tested with real users.”

Taking feedback as constructive criticism will help you eventually see the faults in your work, and make you both a stronger designer and collaborator. Knowing to let go is a key principle for every designer.

This article was originally published on Fabricio’s Medium page.

Creative Director (UX) at R/GA, Founder of http://uxdesign.cc

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