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Skill Level Intermediate
- Designers have to share their work regularly with their team and project stakeholders. Do you sometimes find it difficult to present? Do you have a method for talking about your designs? This week I'd like to go over some best practices I've learned with sharing your work. We'll go through getting the most out of every sharing session, setting yourself off for success and the benefits of sharing even when you might not think you're ready and creating your routine to share your work early and often. By the end of this movie, I hope you had your feeling prepared and ready for your next day sharing.
Sharing can be very intimidating. Designers often feeling nervous, intimidated or scared that they might be doing something wrong. It's important to get feedback every day so you're not designing in a bias bubble. The beauty of being a user experienced designer is you're not expecting it to deliver a polished final design for a product in one working session. It's not practical. What is practical is that you brain your design thinking into all your feedback sessions. Let me show you how.
This design sharing process can be used during any stage of the design process. The first part of sharing your work is to set the context. You'll want to explain to your audience where you were at in the design process. For example, I'm early into the discovery phase of my concepts and I'm working through multiple solutions to solve this new problem. The problem is that our users cannot find the time to come back to the site to learn. They have very busy schedules and then they often only have 20 to 30 minutes a week to put aside to learn something new.
In this example, I'm clearly stating what the problem is and why. This gives your audience the complete disclosure of the problem you're trying to solve. It also helps eliminate the far out questions you might get from the various people that you might be presenting to. After briefly discussing the problem and where you're at in the design process, state clearly what type of feedback would be most beneficial from the people you're presenting to. Let me give an example. At this time I have a few sketches and concepts that I would like to get your perspective on.
Based on what we've learned from research and from actual user feedback, here are few proposed solutions. I can upload a drawing or a map to share an envision app or I can even hand a rough sketch to the individual and state that I would love their feedback on how we're approaching this new concept. While collecting this feedback, it's imperative that you treat this concept as a concept and not as an extension of you personally. This will help you absorb critical feedback in a positive way without being defensive.
Remember you want unbiased opinions and perspectives. This is what's going to improve your design. This helps you find the holes in your design thinking or it will validate them. As a reviewer start giving you feedback, this is the chance for you to shine. By bringing a notebook and collecting this feedback, it can help you be prepared, organized and efficient. If you don't understand some of the feedback you are receiving, this is your chance to restate what you're hearing back to the individuals or sharing the feedback.
This will allow for a healthy, honest and creative dialogue between you and your stakeholders which in return will help you establish a reputation for being an expert on collecting feedback and improving your overall outcome. There is a chance that the feedback you are receiving is not helpful. This is when you'll need to help the conversation to get back on the type of feedback you're looking for. You can say things like, "Thank you for your feedback. "I was wondering if you could go more into detail "around why you think it's not a good idea." Or, "Thanks for the great feedback.
"I'd like to refocus on the information architecture "on this page and not on the visual design at this time." It's okay to change directions in your feedback sessions because you're the facilitator and it's your responsibility to keep the session in check. To learn more about facilitating meetings and improving your communication skills, check out this video. So you've just finished an excellent sharing session and it's time to close the conversation. You want to restate the key takeaways you received from your audience to verify that you heard them accurately.
This also lets them know that you've taken in the feedback. However during this state of the process, you've received a lot of feedback. Just because you received it doesn't mean you have to run back to your desk and change it right away. The next step is to synthesize what you heard and connect it with all the research and business goals you have. This knowledge will keep building up over and over and this makes you the expert on solving the problem. Remember you're designing to solve a problem for the user and all the feedback you'll receive is to help you inform your next iteration in the process.
As you get deeper into the project and are showing more of a flow or design, remember the key is to share the context of the project, the problem you're trying to solve, where you're at in the process, and what would be the most valuable feedback at this time. I hope this helps your next design feedback session. If you have stories about sharing your work, feel free to share them on our Practical UX Lessons from the Trenches Linkedin group. This will help our UX community benefit and learn from other related stories.
Q. Where can I ask the author questions about practical UX?
A. To continue the conversation started in Practical UX Weekly with Drew and other user experience professionals, join the LinkedIn group at https://www.linkedin.com/