How To Take On Stakeholder Feedback For UX Designers

Jack O'Donoghue Avatar



When we’re passionate about our work, negative feedback can hurt.

But if we remove the emotion, that same feedback can drive us forward.

All feedback is data, data that we can use to make future decisions.

No matter the source, it can act as a signal that tells us what impact our work is having.

It’s a very powerful thing, but it’s easy to miss this opportunity if we’re wrapped up in emotion.

The best thing to do in an emotionally charged situation, is to take a break, and come back to it with a fresh head once the emotion has gone.

And remember that everything is iterative, so don’t set your self up for a fall with high hopes that your first design will hit the nail on the head, this is rarely the case.

Instead, try not to think of the finish line, just enjoy the journey of improving your work with each piece of feedback that comes in.

Jack O’Donoghue (2 x Bestselling UX Course Creator)
UX Strategy Blueprint
Design Thinking Made Simple

Criticism, a word that often carries a negative connotation, especially in the minds of creatives who care about their work. 

However, what if we told you that criticism, when approached with the right mindset, can be one of your most valuable tools for growth and innovation? 

Let’s look at eight strategies that can help you turn the sting of criticism into the spark of innovative genius.

1. Embrace a Growth Mindset

The first step in transforming criticism into a tool for improvement is to adopt a growth mindset.

The first step in transforming criticism into a tool for improvement is to adopt a growth mindset. This means viewing your abilities and understanding of UX design as evolving traits that can be developed with effort and time. Criticism, in this light, becomes a guidepost for growth rather than a marker of failure.

2. Understand the ‘Why’ Behind the Criticism

Understanding the ‘why’ helps you address the root of the issue.

When you receive negative feedback, dig deeper to understand the underlying concerns or problems. Is the criticism about usability, aesthetics, or functionality? Understanding the ‘why’ helps you address the root of the issue, rather than just the surface-level symptoms.

3. Separate Yourself from Your Work

As a designer, it’s easy to become personally attached to your creations. However, it’s important to remember that criticism of your work is not criticism of you as a person or as a professional. This separation is crucial for objective analysis and improvement.

4. Encourage Open Communication

Encourage an environment where team members, stakeholders, and users can provide honest feedback without fear of reprisal. Open communication not only helps in gathering diverse perspectives but also in building trust and respect within the team.

5. Prioritize Feedback

Not all criticism is created equal. Learn to prioritize feedback based on its relevance and impact. Feedback that directly affects user experience should be at the top of your list, while subjective opinions about style or color might be lower.

6. Experiment Based on Feedback

Use criticism as a basis for experimentation.

Use criticism as a basis for experimentation. For instance, if users find a particular feature confusing, prototype different solutions and test them. This approach not only solves problems but also fosters a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

7. Document and Reflect

Keep a record of the feedback you receive and how you responded to it. Reflecting on past criticisms and your reactions can provide valuable insights into how you’ve grown as a designer and how you can continue to improve.

8. Seek Constructive Criticism Proactively

Don’t wait for feedback to come to you. Proactively seek out criticism from peers, mentors, and users. This proactive approach not only shows your commitment to excellence but also gives you more control over the feedback process.

Wrapping Up

Transforming criticism into creative fuel is an essential skill for UX designers. It requires a blend of emotional intelligence, open-mindedness, and a relentless pursuit of improvement. By embracing these eight strategies, you can ensure that criticism becomes a powerful ally in your journey to create intuitive, innovative, and user-centered designs. Remember, in the vibrant landscape of UX design, feedback isn’t just noise; it’s the melody that can lead you to the symphony of success.

You Asked, We Answered

Q: How can I effectively incorporate stakeholder feedback in UX design?
A: Engage stakeholders early in the design process. Regularly update them on progress and incorporate their feedback to ensure the final design aligns with business goals and user needs.

Q: What’s the importance of stakeholder interviews in UX research?
A: Stakeholder interviews are crucial for understanding the business context and constraints of a UX project. They provide insights that guide the design process and help in aligning design decisions with organizational objectives.

Q: How should a UX designer handle conflicting design feedback?
A: Prioritize feedback based on user research and project goals. Discuss conflicting points with your design team and stakeholders to reach a consensus that best serves the user experience and project objectives.

Q: How do stakeholder interview questions influence the UX design process?
A: Questions asked during stakeholder interviews can uncover critical insights and requirements that significantly influence the UX design process, ensuring that the final design aligns with both user needs and business goals.

Q: What role does user research play in shaping product design?
A: User research is fundamental in product design. It helps in understanding user needs, behaviors, and preferences, which guides the design process to create user-centric and effective products.

Q: How does stakeholder analysis benefit a UX designer?
A: Stakeholder analysis helps UX designers understand various perspectives, constraints, and expectations, ensuring that the design caters to both user experience and business requirements.

Q: What’s the best way to manage design feedback sessions with stakeholders?
A: Clearly present design concepts, be open to feedback, and encourage constructive discussions. Document stakeholder inputs for reference and incorporate actionable feedback into your design iterations.

Q: How should UXUI design trends be balanced with stakeholder and user needs?
A: While staying updated with UXUI design trends is important, always prioritize user needs and stakeholder goals. Trends should enhance, not overshadow, the usability and functionality of the design.

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Jack O'Donoghue Avatar