How to Give a Good Design Critique

Good Design CritiqueWhen working with a web designer, it can sometimes be tricky to communicate your ideas with one another. Often the designer will have their own vision, while the client is thinking of it another way. It can be a challenge to find a solution that is the best result. A lot of problems can be avoided if clients are able to more effectively explain what they think of a design.

Critiquing a design is an important step in the web design process. Getting good feedback will often improve the design. It cuts down on time and money spent on the project and prevents anyone from getting too frustrated. But how does one accomplish this? Here are some examples of the right and wrong things to say when critiquing a design:

What not to say: "This isn't what I was looking for."

What to say instead: "This is a good start, but I was hoping to see more of a professional look, with some more muted colors and clean looking type."

Just because you're not a designer, it doesn't mean you should feel intimidated to give examples of what you do and don't like about a design. You may not be up on all the fancy design lingo, but if you are able to explain what you want in layman's terms, the designer will mostly likely understand what you mean.

What not to say: "I guess this is good enough."

What to say instead: "This isn't bad, but I feel that it could be better. Can you think of anything else we could do to improve the overall design even more?"

Even if you're not sure what you don't like but know you're not completely satisfied with the overall look, don't be afraid to speak up. Most designers enjoy the challenge and want you to be happy. Maybe you're also worried about going over budget. You can address this concern as well and let the designer know that you don't want them to spend a lot of time on the revisions, but see if they can make any quick changes to make some improvements. In the long run, you will probably be happy that you decided to spend a few extra dollars to have a better looking site.

What not to say: "I don't like the colors. The fonts don't look right. This isn't what I wanted."

What to say instead: "Instead of using warm colors, could we try cooler colors like blues and greens? I'm not sure what it is, but the fonts feel weird to me. Maybe you could try some that are more playful."

Remember, designers have feelings, too. They take pride in their work and make an effort to create something that you like. So, try to make sure they know you are appreciative of their work, and give some ideas for what you would prefer instead of just saying what you don't like. Also, issues like colors and type can be avoided if discussed before the design process begins. Show a designer other sites you like and what you like about them, and this will give them a better idea of what you are looking for.

These are just a few ways to improve your relationship with designers. A List Apart and Mule Design Studio have additional tips for improving your design critiques.

Are they any other issues you have come across as a designer or while working with a designer? What did you do to try to solve the problem?

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