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How to work with designers  

At some point in your startup life, you are going to have to work with a designer, even if you're a designer yourself. Knowing how to give good design feedback is a useful skill in that context.

Here are the key points:

  1. Make sure you're giving the right feedback. Don't give feedback on the content when it's all filler content.
  2. Evaluate based on whether it achieves the design objectives, not whether you like it.
  3. Not knowing anything about design doesn't stop you from seeing whether the design meets your business goals.
  4. Don't try and spare the designer's feelings. When the design doesn't work, say it.
  5. Be direct. Don't spend 5 minutes to say "This design sucks".
  6. Start with general feedback over the whole design and then drill into specific elements.
  7. Relate feedback to goals and user needs. Don't be subjective ("I don't like this") or prescriptive ("Move the buttons over here").
  8. Don't redo the design in photoshop and send it to the designer as feedback.
  9. Ask questions as the design is being presented.
  10. Don't give contradictory mandates.
  11. Set up a time to go over the feedback in a structured way.

Worth reading for the details on these points. I would add one more point, in the spirit of Orwell's famous essay:

  • Break any of these rules sooner than accept a design that just doesn't work.
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