How I evaluate your designs
Over my career, I’ve given feedback on design ideas, both at work and to juniors I’m mentoring. It’s never as simple as “does it look good” or even “does it make sense”. Giving effective feedback is not easy. You need to know what kind of feedback is helpful to the designer, and which things are just your opinion.
From a designer’s perspective, it’s also good to know what kinds of things you’d like feedback on. I’ve spoken about this before but by being specific about what you want, you’ll get much higher quality feedback. Nothing is more frustrating than someone sending me a design to review with no details on what they need help with.
In this article, I’ll go through what I look for when I’m reviewing designs, and why I think they’re important.
When you’re designing interfaces, they have to do more than look good. People will be using your designs to help them achieve a goal. They need to make sense.
UX designers can use usability heuristics to evaluate their designs. These checklists are a quick and helpful way to see if you’ve covered the basics.
For me, I like to know that your design has at least considered these things:
- Usability. If I wanted to perform an action, is it obvious to me how I’d do it? If I made a mistake, would there be a way to correct it? If I perform an action correctly, how do I know that it’s worked or if there was an error?
- Copy. Are you explaining things clearly, and is your writing easy to read? Is your tone appropriate? Would someone without industry knowledge be able to understand it?
- Scope. Does your design follow the original brief? Have you included functions that add needless complexity?
- Specification. How much do I know about how the design works from looking at your design files? Have you added annotations and explanations where needed? How do your screens all link together?
If you’re working on something that someone else is going to build, your design needs to be feasible. A developer needs to look at the designs you send…