Product Design Lessons

Mastering Design Feedback  |   Lesson #69

Asking for Feedback Doesn’t Have to Suck

Learn to ask questions that lead to better feedback.

Getting feedback is an important part of any creative process. Unfortunately, too often we get as far as "what do you think?" which — let's face it — doesn't give the other person much to go on. You're likely to get feedback on everything and anything, not just what you need.

But there are ways to negate this problem. Here are four ways to ask for feedback that doesn't suck.

1. Start with the goals

What problems does your design solve, both business- and user-wise? Knowing this gives other people a reference against which they can determine how well the design succeeds — or if it's totally off the mark.


"What do you think of this home page design?"


"This home page needs to grab users' attention, but I don't want to turn them off. Do you think this design balances those goals well?"

2. Save time

We don't mince words to help others see where they need to focus their feedback. It keeps them on track, rather than commenting on aspects you aren't concerned with. For example, criticizing kerning doesn't help when you're trying to improve a color scheme.


"So I'm working on this homepage — there's more to the site, of course, but right now I'm going for a 'friendly' look because that's what my client wants. They don't have a set color scheme, but they like Archer. I talked them down from Comic Sans Neue."


"The home page introduces people to the company, which wants to be 'friendly.' Do you think this homepage is friendly?"

3. Make ideas memorable

Questions based on your goals allows you to punctuate your purpose throughout your presentation. You should frame the decisions you made and how they achieved that goal at each step of the design process. In the process, making your ideas memorable and easy for others to leave quality feedback.


"So here's the final product. It plays up your nonprofit cause with photos of friendly children."


"At this point, we're nearly done. The product's supposed to convince people to donate to your cause — but stay positive. So we used art that reflect success stories. Specifically, photos of happy children in foster homes. Do these photos reflect your success stories?"

4. Be confident, be open

There's no shame in asking for a second opinion on a work in progress. But you to be open to feedback, even when you might not agree with it. Confidence isn't arrogance.You don't have obey every comment you receive. Nor should you assume people are attacking you personally, or telling you how to do your job. Consider others' ideas and accept that you might have not have the best answer.

When it comes to presenting your work, you want to give them the purpose upfront — and not just "what do you think?"

Remember: Feedback is about improving your work with other points of view.

About the instructor


Ben Gremillion is a Design Writer at ZURB. He started his career in newspaper and magazine design, saw a digital future, and learned HTML in short order. He facilitates the ZURB training courses.