4 Mar, 2022 5 Questions to Keep in Mind When Reviewing Designs 4 March 2022 Alex Roberts Design Team Manager For an agency like ours, the design phase is a hugely significant and important part of the process when creating any new digital assets. It’s important no matter whether it’s creating something as large as a new website design or as small as a social media post design. However, it is often the most subjective part of the process too. Everyone has an opinion on colours, fonts, layouts, images and how it all comes together, and this can sometimes become a challenge when it comes to reviewing designs objectively. The fact is that every design is created with an end purpose and an end user in mind. Who and what that is depends on your business and what the design is for of course, but those two pillars remain: the end user and the end purpose. Keeping this in mind when reviewing designs is a really good starting point to help keep your design review critical, objective and relevant. For even more top tips to help you effectively review designs please continue reading… 1. Does it meet the brief? This ties in a little bit with the idea of the end user and the end purpose of a design which I mentioned above, but essentially when reviewing designs produced by your digital agency, it’s always important to refer to the brief. This is the document that will outline all the key parameters of what your design should deliver (and you probably wrote must of it when you requested the work to start with!). It will specify any relevant brand information and brand guidelines, what the purpose of the design is, where the design will be used, who the design is for in terms of digital audiences and what the design should do in terms of function. So, it goes without saying that the first step in reviewing a design objectively should involve comparing the design back to the brief and making sure it meets it. This is exactly what our digital project managers do when they review designs internally. 2. Is the design easy to use & understand? At the end of the day, a good design is about more than just looking amazing, it needs to work effectively as well. That might mean it’s effective at communicating a key message, or it might mean something more complicated like being effective at driving ROI from your online presence, be it through form completions, product sales and any other key online actions. By keeping in mind, what you want a design to achieve, or in other words, by keeping the purpose of the design in mind, you should be able to effectively assess whether the final design delivered is going to do what you need it to do. A few key things to think about when considering ease of use and effectiveness are things like: Headings: are they clear, readable, and prominent enough? Buttons and calls to action (CTAs): are they instructive, are they big enough (especially as tap targets on mobile devices) and are they well positioned in the content, are there too many different calls to action that might be making the user’s next step confusing? Forms: are the field requirements clear, is it obvious when the form has been completed, does it collect the data you need to follow up on submissions as a business? Colours: do they effectively draw the user’s attention, do they link well to the brand, and if they are used in conjunction with text, is the text accessible? 3. Where will the design be used? Where a design will be used, e.g., social media, email marking, on your website and so on, has a big impact on the result. Some obvious ways in which where a design is used intersects with the output of the design itself include size, shape, responsiveness, and content. For example, social media posts have required sizes, they’re generally a relatively small canvas for a designer to work with, so typically they demand limited written content and high visual impact. For website designs, carefully considering how the design looks and works on mobile devices is also imperative. For more and more businesses, mobile traffic is becoming the dominant source of visits to their websites so while desktop designs are still important and are typically the most experiential interaction with the website, the mobile design could well be the most accessed by your audiences so this is the one that really needs to work. It can also be useful when reviewing a design, to ask your digital agency to show you the design in situ. This is something we like to do for our clients as it can really help demonstrate how a design is suited to the platform it’s being used on. A couple of ways we do this, include marking the fold-line on desktop designs to you can see what appears on the screen without scrolling or mocking up an Instagram feed to show how a new post design will sit alongside the rest of your social content. 4. Will the design be competitive in your industry? It’s no secret that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, especially online. As a result, the look and feel of your digital presence needs to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. One question to keep in mind when you’re reviewing any final designs, is how will it compare with your online competitors? This might be as simple as reviewing the design to make sure it’s not too similar to what’s already out there or it could be ensuring key information like your brand USPs or any incentives and offers and strongly positioned and well executed. 5. Do you like it? The last thing to keep in mind when reviewing designs is a simple one, do you like it? While a design absolutely must look great and work well, it does also need to be something you’re proud to share with the world as part of your brand and your business. If you don’t like it, you’re less likely to have confidence in it and want to share it, so while objectivity is vital when reviewing designs and this should always come first, it is also important to consider whether you like it and are happy with it too. So, there you have it, our top five tips to help you effectively review and feedback on the final designs delivered by your digital agency.