Feedback in daily communication & design

① Humans and feedback

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Delivering specific, truthful and focused feedback

The proper delivery of feedback is fundamental to making a difference and causing a change in behavior. If the delivery is not good, well-intended feedback could lead to a damaged relationship and bad decisions.

ASK more & TELL less

As people, we frequently want to solve quickly all problems we see even when they are not ours to solve. This leads us to use providing feedback as a channel to force our way of solving a problem.

Asking for feedback

You probably have experienced that even without asking for feedback people have the tendency to give it.

Receiving feedback

If you want to keep walking forward this is one thing you should learn to do when receiving feedback.

Expressing gratitude as feedback

Remember we are all people who by default make mistakes. Giving and receiving feedback is a way to correct them.

② Designing feedback

As designers, designing for feedback should be on the top of our to-do checklist when creating or improving a system/product/game.

Positive & negative feedback loops

Feedback loops are the foundation of designing good feedback into whatever product we are designing. This is the foundation that allows our designs to communicate with the user and help adjust the behavior in the desired direction. Positive and negative feedback loops are acting as antagonists. They balance each other and by using them in a smart way users will enjoy using your designs.

The password needs to meet the requirements so the negative feedback loop repeats until the user meets the requirements.

Conformational feedback

If you want to indicate and inform the user of what is happening you need to use this type of feedback.

Slack using conformational feedback after you’ve read all your unread messages. They even have spiced it up by changing the emoji and text every time you encounter that use case.

Corrective feedback

This type of feedback is used when you actually want to encourage a specific type of behavior. For example, if you would like to teach the user what type of information should be entered in an input field. You should provide corrective feedback.

Corrective feedback example — Gmail undo notification after archiving email

Explanatory & diagnostic feedback

This form of feedback can build on top of the previous ones. The feedback is aimed at providing a more detailed explanation to the user of what has happened. By diagnosing why the current feedback is shown you can attempt to teach the user on a deeper level how to avoid future mistakes from this kind even when the conditions are not the same.

Example of Medium’s cookies notification/feedback. It gives you a link for reading even more information.

Natural & artificial feedback

Natural feedback is a category of feedback that includes all types of feedback the receiver usually gets from the natural world. All perceptual feedback like touch, texture, haptic, visual, sound, and other sensory experiences can go under natural feedback.

③ Time & Frequency of feedback

Feedback frequently has the most impact when delivered fast and if possible still in the context that the feedback is for. For example, if you touch a hot stove your nerves endings in the hand will give quick feedback to your brain so that a reaction of preserving your limb can happen.

④ Final thoughts

Great feedback is two-way communication. Strive to deliver and receive feedback in person when possible. Especially when the feedback is critical and important. As Designers, we should aim to deliver and ask for feedback as soon as possible. It speeds up and improves our professional development. It helps us build better relationships with people around us and increase the value of our designs.

References that helped me:

  1. Positive and negative feedback look in biology

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Sharing what I study & practice. Pragmatic tips about designing, health and self-development with the hope it might help someone else.

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