Feedback is the necessary evil to create great designs as “Feedback is the key to improvement.”
Why Design feedback is a pain?
Gathering/sharing feedback is analogous to numerous back and forth cycles of exchanging long emails, to do lists or excel sheets (the reason i called it an evil). And when it comes to design feedback it gets even more complicated as it involves reviewing visual entities. No doubt, visuals quickly grab user attention and convey the message more effectively. But providing feedback for them is not easy, because it’s quite tough to make someone understand your viewpoint with mere subjective statements. So, to make it unambiguous and straightforward, it would be best if while sharing feedback you can directly pinpoint the issue; as it would provide a reference for others to connect.
Also it would be an added advantage if you can seamlessly quote practical examples(attach as images or URL) to support the feedback and add value to it. The complexity of design feedback aggravates with the fact that getting and sharing feedback is not a one time thing, you need it in every phase of your design cycle, be it formulating design plan,setting goals,prototyping iterations, development iterations, approval or design validation.
Why not use the design tools as feedback tools
Full stack design tools like Sketch, Figma, Framer, UXPin, AdobeXD takes care of the collaboration aspect while designing. But it’s not just the designers and developers from whom you need to collect feedback; you need it from stakeholders,product managers, project managers,prospective users etc. And it is too much for non developers/designers to understand the workflow and setup, one of the above tools just to review and provide feedback for your design. They would rather be interested in something, as simple as reviewing a google doc. There are various independent design feedback tools to address the cause. With them you can get a quick feedback, which makes this time intensive and iterative feedback process quite simple.
Some such tools to make the process efficient and effective are listed here:
Invision is a design collaboration and feedback tool which lets you upload image files(GIF, PNG or JPEG) or source files(PSD or Sketch) to share your design.To make your design look and feel the same way as the actual product, you can have click through prototypes as well. Liveshare option enables designers to present their design as clickable prototypes to remote teammates/stakeholders and hold a live discussion along with commenting and annotation privileges.
Design phases addressed: The tool best serves the discussion and prototyping design phases.
Price : Comes with a free plan along with paid plans depending upon the number of prototypes and teammates required. The starter plan costs $15/month for 3 prototypes. For more details visit here.
Other good alternatives for feedback on design as image input : Moqhub, Redpen, DesignDrop, GoVisually.
Feedback tool allowing you to get reviews for all your design assets, not just image files. It supports all major file types, be it image, audio, video,document or animation file format. This helps you share and receive feedback for content rich designs and cuts the hassle to use different tools for each file format.
Design phases addressed : It supports discussion phase to control and track approval for design assets.
Price : This tool is designed only for large enterprises, with bulk usage.The entry level plan starts with $ 10,000(quite costly for small teams).
Other good alternative for feedback on design comprising assets in multiple formats is ConceptBoard
A visual feedback and collaboration tool where you can simply add the URL for your live design. Then you can either invite people to review as collaborators or mere guests, to collect feedback. Here you can also keep track of the collected feedback, in an organized manner. It provides option to upload JPEG, PNG and SCORM files as well, for review purpose. While reviewing you can click screenshots and add annotations to pinpoint the issues wherever you see any ambiguity.
Design phases addressed : It serves discussion and validation phases really well and also the prototyping phase to some extent.
Price : Has a free forever plan with 1 project and unlimited collaborators and the starter paid plan costs $29/month for 5 projects and unlimited collaborators.For more plans visit here.
Design feedback tool for faster interactions, with a capture from anywhere approach.With the multiple input/import options like upload images, pdf,ppt; capture from URL or browser(chrome,firefox, safari or IE), you need not worry to import your design to the system. Thus you can just capture the design(sketches, wireframes or even the code) from wherever it’s stored and share it, to get feedback.
Design phases addressed : Discussion, prototyping and validation phases have been taken care of.
Price : Base plan costs $19/month.Based on customization and organizing features, other plans are also available.
If you are looking for a free option just to share URL/image and collect feedback without any tracking feature then you can checkout Bounce.
Feedback tool to get quick real user feedback for your live application. It provides you with actual insights about usability and user experience for your website/app. User feedback is available as videos in which the user speaks about his/her experience about the app. Sometimes users also suggest some possible alternatives for something in particular to make the experience better. The metrics provided help you judge the workflow in terms of ease of use, speed etc.
Design phase addressed : Serves the validation phase optimally.
Price : Has enterprise and individual plans. To have a look at the feature for both the plans visit here. For actual price, according to your requirements to need to choose a plan and user testing team would coordinate with you further.
All the tools mentioned here have made gathering feedback from desired set of people quite easy. Also some of the tools provide you with options to manage, prioritize and organize the feedback as well, obviously they are a better pick as you need not use separate tools like trello or basecamp to structure things well.
These visual design feedback tools, have given a new edge to the industry and are a great help for designers, developers, project managers and stakeholders as well. The tool you choose depends on the design intent, design phase you are dealing with and obviously the project budget. So decide on your requirements and get ready to feel the power of feedback, to get things done better and faster.