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What is the correct approach for gathering feedback from different departments at the same time?

12 days ago from , UI Designer at Doubledigit

What is the correct approach for gathering feedback from different departments (legal, marketing, cx, art direction) at the same time when you need to deliver UI? I worked as a UI Designer for an eCommerce and getting feedback from an excel sheet is sometimes a huge pain.

My UI team already use basecamp, Jira and Trello, but that's something legal won't try. So that's not an option for the moment.

19 comments

  • Jan SemlerJan Semler, 7 days ago

    What about Abstract? Would also help in version control and so on? Dunno if the feedback features are that evolved since i am not using it. But i think it is worth a try.

    5 points
  • Mitch Malone, 9 days ago

    I've found that gathering context and understanding from these groups before the UI is designed is much more valuable than getting comments after the fact.

    Get a person from each group in a room and interview them. Listen to what they're goals are, what they are trying to do, what worries them, etc.

    4 points
    • N SN S, 5 days ago

      I've done this before but have had a hard time with some people not wanting to be the decision-maker/key-informer for a team - have you experienced this? and if so how did you get around it?

      0 points
      • Mitch Malone, 4 days ago

        First thing I would do is frame it just as a normal, casual conversation. You might only need 10-15 mins. If you need longer, invite them to out to lunch. That can make it feel more approachable. Pitch the conversation as a "shop talk" session where you just want to learn about what they do day-to-day. No need to seek a "key informer". Just find people who have a vested interest in the problem space you're designing in. They might be worried you are there to judge them or they will somehow get into trouble for speaking truthfully.

        If the person you want to talk to simply refuses and you have no one else in an analogous position to can talk to, I would escalate the matter to your manager. They should work with other business units on getting you the access you need.

        If that does not work, then the organization is deeply dysfunctional. The path ahead to align the organization in a way that would allow you to learn what you need to is long and hard and maybe not worth your time. If you want to stick it out, continue talking with your manager on how to solve the problem. Approach it as another other design problem. Try to understand the underlying motivations and goals of the folks you'd like to talk to.

        At the very least, revisit how your role and position is evaluated. If you are evaluated on the outcomes of your designs but are prohibited from truly understanding the context, environment, and users of those designs, then you are being set up to fail.

        1 point
        • N SN S, 3 days ago

          Wow thank you for such a comprehensive response. Expanding through the decision tree like that is super helpful. The only times I have run into anything similar to what I described was doing contract work for government offices which in my experience are at higher risk of these kind of bureaucratic walls. And to be fair not necessarily at the fault of the individual or team but as you described a wider org challenge.

          Do you write anywhere else? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on more of these design-within-business problems as I don't see a lot of that around. And/or could you recommend any people to follow who cover these types of things?

          Again, thank you!

          0 points
          • Mitch Malone, 1 day ago

            You are welcome! Glad it was helpful.

            I don't really write that much.

            I would recommend reading and listening to Erika Hall and Jared Spool. I've learned more about design from those two than anyone else.

            0 points
  • Carlos SousaCarlos Sousa, 8 days ago

    Hi David, I deal with this on a daily basis. My best approach, if everyone is working in the same space, is to do a quick feedback workshop to explain things and what's you expect of them. After that is done you can follow up each 'department' feedback separately. I don't know if you work in sprints or not but allocating a timeframe for the feedback would be great. This aligns everyone and gives them time to arrange their schedules to meet you. It improves communication and collaboration levels as well as understanding everyone's point of view.

    1 point
  • Ahmed Sulajman, 8 days ago

    We work in Figma. Our marketing can open it and leave comments there. Yeah, I need to import Sketch files to Figma, but that's the fasters feedback loop for us so far.

    InVision works as well.

    0 points
  • A. N.A. N., 6 days ago

    Just share your UI with Invision or XD, they are great for feedbacks. Just try to have only one tool for feedback, this will keep you from wasting time and getting insane, especially because all these departments feedback should also be aligned between each other as well.

    0 points
  • Mark RedmanMark Redman, 2 days ago

    One approach could be use an online markup and approval tool, where users can all view the same version and make comments. We have a tool in beta called MediaMarkup, see www.mediamarkup.com. This will allow you to upload single or multi-page PDFs for review. Users comments will all be within context and on the same version without emailing files around. Multiple approval groups can be setup so you can get different users in each group to make related comments, eg from legal & marketing etc, so they can see discussions that related to them.

    0 points
  • Bhavya Aggarwal, 7 days ago

    Hi David, Making stakeholder feedback easy is what we are trying to solve at zipBoard. You can share a link for a quick feedback from your stakeholders and they will quickly and easily be able to send their comments. Take a look at a sample link set up here: https://app.zipboard.co/s/z2TMB Let me know, if this helps streamline your workflow.

    -Bhavya ( zipBoard founder)

    0 points
  • Miramark DiazMiramark Diaz, 10 days ago

    Did you guys try invision?

    -1 points
    • , 10 days ago

      Yes. It works mostly for the creative part, but marketing and Legal tend to avoid it. We deliver PDFs full of screens (sometimes more than 60 screens) and they got back with an excel file full of comments.

      1 point
      • Elwin Ha, 10 days ago

        Is there a reason why they avoid it? In my experience (I use Marvel but it's similar to InVision and Zeplin) I send every stakeholder a shared link to designs, then they can easily access via their browser and then comment on it.

        However, there were a few instances where feedback on spreadsheets were warranted because I need to extract data programmatically using Python or something related so I usually use Google Spreadsheets for that since they have an API for it.

        1 point
      • Miramark DiazMiramark Diaz, 10 days ago

        Maybe they need help on educating/teaching them how invision works? And also to prove to them that it will lessen their effort of writing comments from excel and vice versa...

        1 point
      • Jan SemlerJan Semler, 8 days ago

        So you should deliver your design as the marketing whishes. Just say that excel is confusing for you and not really suited to give you best possible feedback. Just say: Please use this because our devs use it, designers use it, product manager use it.

        Thing is: You need one channel of feedback not multiple. You will need more time to open excel, Invision, Zeplin and so on. Just try and explain why you want one channel of feedback.

        2 points
      • Steve O'ConnorSteve O'Connor, 8 days ago

        Why do they get to choose the format? Explain (to whoever is best to influence them) how much extra time it takes to make the PDFs and sift through the feedback for every iteration. Then tell them that they will be using Invision from now on :)

        2 points
  • Paul Gates, 10 days ago

    Put your foot down. I wouldn't even ask. 'We are switching to InVision for gathering feedback for reasons X, Y, and Z. It is very straightforward to use: follow this guide I have created for how to get started with the tool and see tips on how to provide useful feedback to the UI team.'

    -1 points