Critique is full of subtlety, and not very objective. Design critique is often no different. Giving design feedback requires a detailed analysis, and it can quickly turn into an unpleasant experience when the process is not properly defined, or it gets subjective.
When working in teams during a product design process, open feedback is essential for a healthy development of the product. However, sharing unfinished work is naturally uncomfortable (especially for the designer) and often generates tension. If you’re a remote/freelance designer, communication skills are essential, as you often have to prepare presentations and receive feedback without face-to-face understanding.
From my experience, I know that feedback can be frustrating and tensioned. It may feel like a battle against your clients, leading to a compromised design result. Instead, what we should aim for is a constructive co-creation, developing a solution that is much better than a version which any of you alone could have come up with.
After numerous years of designing for large and small clients, in teams or as a freelance designer, giving or receiving feedback myself, here’s how I’ve learned to give constructive feedback for better design results and less tensioned collaborations.
Read more about some 'rules' of constructive design feedback and examples in
my latest article on UX collective.