Design Decision in UX
bonus: handle genuine negative feedback
Working as a UI/UX professional means we have to solve problems and constantly make design decisions to find end solutions, has three parts what solution to bring to problems, which version to choose and what to change based on user feedback.
What is a Design Decision
Design decisions take into account human considerations, from ergonomics to cognitive capabilities. A good solution has to be useable and useful.
A designer whose design is good when it solves a problem,
A smart designer’s ability to not only solve that problem but then explain it to someone else in a way that makes sense.
How you can improve the decisions
There are a few types of design decisions that you make while you are designing,
- Based on your experience, this is experienced-based design — I have seen that work time and time again that a tried and true kind of practice, your past to help create present designs
- Reference-based design, you are going to be looking at things that you like and you are going to be imitating them in the best possible way, you are going to be using them as inspiration and trying to figure out why you like that thing
- Gut feelings (are physical manifestations of our intuition or Intuition, is the ability to acquire knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning ) design, making a choice based on your gut feeling can easily be attached to your ego, Gut feeling is an entirely different thing from your ego(conscious decision-making process, sorting out what is real.)
Design Principles to Support Better Decision Making
Require choosing between two competing goals. For example, should we go for a clean, minimalistic(the goal of minimalist web design should be to present content and features in a simple, direct way) design or make content discoverable(new content or functionality that they were not aware of previously.)? Which user group should we prioritize for this task. When faced with tradeoffs like these, designers need to choose which goal to sacrifice in favour of another. Doing so can be tricky. The choice made can feel subjective or random and can result in lengthy debates within large design teams.
These principles support consistency in the way decisions are being made across teams, build confidence in the decision, and eliminate fruitless debates.
Design Principles are value statements that describe the most important goals that a product or service should deliver for users and are used to frame design decisions.
Design Patterns to Support Better Decision Making
Patterns are not website features that can just be cut and pasted into your design. A more accurate definition would be visual strategies for solving common usability problems. Furthermore, patterns are not pieces you stitch together to create an interface; instead, they are closer to foundational pieces on which you can build your customized site. UI design patterns aren’t templates
A design pattern is a reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem.
Structural and behavioural features of a pattern are familiar to users. Your team can leverage this knowledge, rather than reinventing the wheel, to provide greater ease and use of their product. It’s good to point out, however, that while design patterns are useful for informing design decisions around your particular problem, you may likely need to modify them around your users’ and business’ needs.
What does it mean to articulate your design decisions?
People often say that the best designs should speak for themselves. But that’s not the case in reality. Being articulate is actually not about frequency or persistence, but about ensuring that what you’re saying is thorough, precise and compelling enough for others.
An articulate decision:
- Imparts intelligence and indicates that you’ve done the research and can be trusted
- Demonstrates logical thought intentionally, rather than basing your decisions on random assumptions
- Expresses confidence by showcasing your clear processes
- Shows respect and don’t disregard others’ opinions.
To communicate well with your writing, ask yourself three questions:
- What are you supposed to solve?
- Why will this design that I’m creating be successful?
- Is it easy for people to use?
These questions will make you a bit more cautious and intentional when creating a design.
It’s also a good practice to document your thoughts, the flow and all details as writing, even if it’s on the Figma file itself. Then write the solution in front of it once you’ve finalised it. This way, you can visually connect the dots between the problem and how your design is actually solving it.
As a designer today, intuition definitely plays a huge role in your capability to find creative solutions in working environments. But at the end of the day, it needs buy-in from different types of people. And that’s why there needs to be a logical rationale and a well-articulated design decision(s).
How can one foster agreement and build trust with multiple stakeholders?
Design is subjective, attracts opinions, and many a time leads to disagreements too. It’s our responsibility to create shared understanding amongst stakeholders, develop empathy, show solidarity, and ask good questions to understand their perspectives.
A good rule of thumb is to first map all your stakeholders and write stakeholder stories, create empathy maps and figure out what values they believe in. Then, articulate your decisions clearly in a way that gives them confidence in your expertise and thought processes and convinces them that you’ve done enough research and are intentional with every part of the design.
Ask and answer questions and be open to constructive criticism. Sometimes, people also tend to get defensive in times of disagreement, and ultimately end up focusing on the wrong problem. But ensure that you’re open to changes and create a positive environment that allows for healthy addressing of disagreements.
To ensure seamless communication and no gaps between the decision-making stakeholders and the designers, it’s key to lead the conversation, participate in discussions, and get support from the extended team and stakeholders.
Bonus: How to handle negative feedback for design decision
Understand That You Both Want What’s Best
- Don’t rush to react
- Be appreciative
- Be genuine
- Summarize the feedback
- Take action
- Seek additional feedback
- Receive feedback with a growth mindset
- Empathize with the feedback giver
Everybody in your company works towards the same goal — a successful product. So, whenever a design is discussed, everybody tries to achieve the highest quality.
No doubt, designers have the highest level of expertise in user interfaces. So when you work on a problem rather than a suggested solution, you improve your product. If your manager or peer still does not agree with it, keep investigating if it’s good enough.
Usually, intuitional critique comes with a new solution: I would make this button green, I wouldn’t make corners rounded, etc.
Be prepared to explain why you’ve chosen the presented solution over another. You need to make a strong case for your design also.
By asking Why? you will uncover the whole layer of problems you may have not noticed. Or you will both agree, that this comment doesn’t have any reasoning at all, so it may not be taken into account.