How to Make Design Approval Painless | Paul Boag | Skillshare

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How to Make Design Approval Painless

teacher avatar Paul Boag, UX consultant, coach, speaker and author

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (59m)
    • 1. Introducing Your Project

    • 2. Establish a Process that Reassures Clients

    • 3. Help Yourself by Defining Roles

    • 4. Define Keywords to Engage the Client

    • 5. Working on a Visual Hierarchy With Your Client

    • 6. Five Tips for Presenting a Design Concept

    • 7. Dealing With Client Feedback

    • 8. Proving Your Page Layout Works

    • 9. Ending the Arguments Over Aesthetics

    • 10. Where To Go From Here

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About This Class

Getting approval from our clients and stakeholders for design is one of the biggest challenges we face as interaction designers. It is all too easy to end up stuck in iteration hell, dealing with comments like “make the logo bigger” or “it just doesn’t wow me”.

In this class, we are going to fix that. Paul Boag is going to introduce you to the techniques he uses to get client and stakeholder buy-in and avoid endless iterations.

If that sounds good, then signup and let us end the pain of design approval.

Meet Your Teacher

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Paul Boag

UX consultant, coach, speaker and author


Paul Boag is a leader in digital strategy and user experience design. He has been working with organisations such as The European Commission, PUMA and Doctors Without Borders for over 25 years. Through consultancy and training, he helps organisations make better use of digital technologies. He helps them meet the needs of today’s connected consumers.

Paul is also a well-respected figure in the digital sector. Author of six books including Click!, Digital Adaptation and User Experience Revolution. He also writes for industry publications including Smashing Magazine, Sitepoint and Net Magazine.

Finally, Paul speaks at conferences around the world and publishes premium course on his own website. Alongside speaking, he also hosts the award-winnin... See full profile

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1. Introducing Your Project: Hello. My name is Paul Bag, and I'm an interaction designer with over 25 years experience, working both in house and running my own agency. These days, I spend a lot of my time mentoring the next generation of agency owners and freelancers, one of the biggest re occurring pain points I hear a time and time again. The agony that comes with trying to get designed, sign off, getting approval from clients and stakeholders for a design is one of the biggest challenges that we face is interaction designers. It's all too easy to end up stuck in it aeration hell, dealing with comments like make my logo bigger or just just doesn't wow me in this class. We're gonna fix that. I'm going to introduce you to the techniques I used to get clients and stakeholders buying on tow. Avoid those endless iterations to help you integrate those techniques into a workflow. We're gonna build a slide deck outlining the new and improved design process, something that you can present to stakeholders and keep the design process on track. If that sounds good to you, then I would encourage you to sign up on Let's start dealing with the pain of design approval 2. Establish a Process that Reassures Clients: So here's the thing. If we want to get design approval, we need to understand our clients better. It's easy just to get angry and frustrated at them when they don't give us design approval without taking the time to understand what their underlying issue is. Just because they say it doesn't wow them or starts micromanaging, it doesn't mean that's it. There's other stuff going on below the surface. So for a star, you need to understand that clients need reassurance. Okay, to then this project could be make or break. It could decide whether they get their next bonus. It could decide whether they stay in business. The money might be a huge amount for them personally to spend. There are all kinds of reasons why your client might be very nervous, and so they want you to reassure them and tell them that everything's gonna be all right. But you need to do that in a way that they actually believe. The other thing that clients really want is to be listened to to be respected in the process, and often we can kind of push the client out of the process because we're afraid of what they're gonna say what they're going to do, and that's really the worst thing we can do because then they feel ignored. And if they feel ignored, then they start asserting their authority in the project. Andi things begin to go wrong, so they want to be reassured. They want to be listened to, and they also want to feel a sense of control now. Big part. That actually is just knowing what's going on and what's going to happen, because this may be very familiar to you. You may have gone through this design process are 100 times, but they haven't. They don't really understand what happens with design to them. Designed feels like a mystery black box you put the brief in. Creativity happens on the design pops out. And for most people, that's very worrying. When they don't understand the process, they become concerned about it. Now you might think, Well, they should just trust me And yeah, of course they should. But they probably don't know they can yet on, even if they do know they can. Trust is quite a hard thing to give when the stakes are really high. So one of the ways that you can overcome all of these concerns, make a client feel listen to make them feel reassured. Give them a sense of being in control is to outline a design process at the very start the project so that they can see what's gonna happen. They can see inside that black box if you like. So it was sure reassures them there. Oh, these people have done this before. They've got a process that results in a good design at the end. It's more understandable to them, so they feel reassured by it. It also makes him feel in control because they know exactly what's gonna happen on when it's gonna happen. And if you have the right process in place, they can see that they're going to be listened to and that they're going to be involved in the process. So my question for you is, what is your process? Do you have one? Trouble is a lot of us, as designers really are designing quite instinctively, you know, quite subconsciously, and so we don't put a lot of thought into the actual process that we use. But it's time to change that. In the first slide on our slide deck that we're going to create a toe, help us kind of formalize all of this. We're gonna look on outlining a process, and this is the process that I recommend you adopt the first part. The process is the definition phase right where you and the client work together. And you make that very clear on the slide that it's both of you together working on the definition face the second faces, the creation face. When you go away and create an initial concept, then we're gonna introduce a testing phase which you may not do at the moment for your design, especially when budgets are tight. Andi, you're under pressure to turn things around quickly. But I promise you, this is worth doing. You and the client together are going to look at the test results on make some decisions and that brings was owned to face for which is ideation, where you revise based on the testing and actually the testing and ideation phases might be site click. So if you don't get it right after you do some initial ideation, you might have to test again and saw now is worth breaking down some of those phases a little bit further in the second slide to reassure the client even further. So let's take, for example, the definition phase has break that down a little bit further. First of all, you want to make it very clear that it heavily involves the client so that they feel listened to. Now, within that phase, we want to we're gonna have a discussion about value proposition. What is it that are there key selling points and their benefits and they're features and all those kinds of things we're going to discuss brand keywords. What keywords represent the brand? What he was Do they want to communicate through the design? We'll have a conversation around calls to action Onda around visual hierarchy. Okay, so those are the different areas we're going to look at in the definition face. Now, our third slide is going to look at the testing phase because that's another one where the client is heavily involved. So what we're going to do in that phase is we're gonna test against are browned keywords on . We're gonna test our visual hierarchy and course traction. Now, in all those processes that I've just laid out if you notice what's missing. At no stage do I talk about design. Sign off in no state. So I talk about the client signing off the design. In fact, when I talk about testing on the testing slide, I emphasize that we're gonna be judging the design using testing. No, a big sign off moment. A big sign off point where the client gives approval that the testing is to judge whether the design is suitable to go into build. Now, I'm very conscious that this process might sound very time consuming to you, especially if you work on smaller projects. But I promise you it's better than the alternative. The thing is, is that yes, doing that kind of testing and that it aeration does take a little bit longer, presuming your project go smoothly on the design is signed off immediately by the client. But when does that ever happen? In practice, normally you get stuck in revision held going round and round, tweaking and changing the design based on random comments that their client gives you. So actually doing a little bit of testing enables you to avoid all of that, so ultimately it will save you time, and more importantly, it's predictable, you know, on come budget for how long that little bit of testing is going to take. What revision Hell could be no time at all when it gets signed off immediately. Or it could be weeks and weeks of back and forth. So anyway, don't worry right now if you don't entirely understand all of the steps and what all of the mean we're going to get into those Maurin future left lessons For now, all you need to take away from this lesson is the need for a process that reassures the client a process that involves decline onda process that avoids that big reveal and sign off. So that's it for now. Join me a game for the next lesson, But until then, thanks for watching 3. Help Yourself by Defining Roles: in the previous lesson I shared with you the fact that we need to understand our clients better if we're gonna get designed, sign off from them on. Another thing that we need to know about our clients is there's no guarantee they've ever run a design project before. Even if they have, it doesn't mean it went well or that the designer that they were working with ran it particularly well, so clients might not really know what's expected of them. They don't know what the relationship is supposed to be, so they don't know, for example, that you don't want them to give you personal feedback. So all of those things need to be clarified. We need toe define the roles of the designer and the client at the start of the project. And so I think we need to Crais, a couple of slides around that the first slide really focuses on responsibilities and in particular, what the clients responsibility is, how we want them to be involved in the project. So typically, I define this in a couple of ways. I make them responsible for the business objectives. What is it that the business needs from this piece of design, so they represent that I also make them responsible for the users needs. And the reason that I do that is because they are the ones that know the use of better than we do. Even though we might done some usability testing some user research, they will have worked with that audience for years and know them quite well. But there's actually another reason for focusing them on business objectives and user needs , and that's to stop them thinking about their own personal opinions, whether they like the design or no. Instead, we want them to be thinking, Will our users like the design? So by making them responsible for user needs and business objectives, were shifting their focus onto something that's worth while and is important? Okay, so first we define the relationship or sorry, the clients role. Next, we're now going to define the relationship between you on the client. So what's your role as a designer on How does that relate to the clients role? So basically, the way that I choose to communicate this to keep it clear and simple as possible so that the client remembers it is to say the client's job is to identify problems on the designer's job is to find solutions. So I often give them an example of good and bad feedback based on those two different roles . So a common piece of feedback you might hear from a client would be something like, Could you change the blue to pink? Now? If you think about it, that's a solution, right to change the color. But what's the underlying problem if you don't know what the underlying problem is? Is a designer You can't come up with a better solution. So the clients job is t tell you what the underlying problem is so that you can then come up with solutions for a better way of them. Wording that would have been, I'm worried that the corporate blue might put off our preteen girl audience. Right? That's a problem. So if you is the designer, no, the problem. Then you could suggest that a solutions now that's not to say the client can't suggest solutions as well. They're more than welcome to, but you need to the underlying problem because only then might you be able to come up with a better idea than then, right, You might know. You might conclude that actually changing from blue to pink is the best thing to do. Or you might decide to add, I don't know more unicorns and ponies of whatever is preteen girls like get what I'm getting at there that it's really important that you clearly articulate to the client that they should be focusing on identifying problems on that. You will then come up with solutions to those problems. Um, but also they need to do something a little bit more right. It's no enough for them to just express it is a problem because they might turn around and say, I've got a problem with the blue, right? Still not a lot of good. So what we need them to do is express those problems in terms off the business needs on the user needs that we told them about earlier that so they have to express problems relating to business objectives or user needs. Now I actually, after I've shown them those couple of slides, I will actually ask them if they're happy with that. If that makes sense to them on almost always, clients are more than happy to accept that in the abstract, right? So in other words, while it's all hypothetical, they are more than happy to agree to it. Halemba in the middle of a project they're gonna forget Either they're gonna forget or they're just going to choose to ignore it and tell you that to change the blue to pink. But if you've got their agreement up front, then you can very gently remind them of what was agreed on. People like to remain consistent with what they've previously said. So that's basically it. That's all you need to do. Those simple couple of slides will transform your working relationship with clients. So now we've laid the groundwork. We can actually move onto that definition phase I talked about in the last lesson. So in the next lesson, we're gonna look at defining those brand keywords with the client, and I'll explain why that is so critical. However, until then, thanks for watching 4. Define Keywords to Engage the Client: Have you ever had a client say to you that the design just doesn't wow them or that it needs to pop? This is the hardest kind of feedback to deal with because it's just so vague. So how do you avoid that from happening? Well, the answer is to avoid the client becoming the arbiter of whether or no designed pops. Instead, that responsibility should fall to the user. It's whether the user thinks the design is right in whether it wows and whether it creates the right emotions in them, know what the client thinks. So how do we get to that place? Well, we need to focus on defining the feelings and the emotions that we would like the uses to feel when they see the design and then later on, if we clearly define what those feelings are, we contest them. We contest the designed to see whether the keywords that we want to create in a user are actually the ones we get. So how do we define those keywords? Those brand keywords? Well, one of my favor exercises to do with the client is something called the reception room exercise and essentially what I do is I sit down with my client and I said, OK, forget the website for a minute. We're going to design a reception room for your office together, and I'm gonna ask some whole load of questions. I'm gonna ask him about the size of the room. Is it gonna be huge and, you know, impressive? Or is it going to be small and cozy? What's going to be on the walls? You know, out. You're gonna paint the walls. Are they gonna be wallpapered? Are there's going to be pictures on the walls? What color with the walls be? What would the pictures be off with? A B illustrations or photos? Etcetera. I asked him about Sign Ege whether they want to include Sign Ege and what furniture will be in the room, even down to light. What sounds there are. Do you have background music playing? If so, what kind of background music will talk about things like the coffee table? Are there magazines laid out on the table? Who would be there? Would you have a reception person or would it be a kiosk where you check yourself in? So by going through that exercise with them and getting them to brainstorm against all of these questions. You end up with loads of stuff that you can draw upon as you create the design without getting into them, actually defining the design itself. So as they talk about reception area, they're gonna be mentioning colors. They're gonna be mentioned imagery and styles and all kinds of things. But the most important thing to pay attention to is the adjectives people use so that they describe the various things in the reception room that will use words like minimal or personal or friendly professional those kinds of words every time they mention an adjective , write it down, right, Write it on a flip chart or somewhere where both of you can see it, Um, on those, then could be the basis for defining your brand keywords. Those are the kinds of words we want the design to represent. So by the end of that exercise, you need to agree with your client and any other stakeholders. That list of words and the reception room exercise is one way of getting there. Now there are alternatives. Another exercise I favor sometimes is a famous person exercise. So I said. If your brand was a famous person, who would it be? Or more specifically, who would you aspire to be on again? Then I get them. Once they picked someone, I get them toe to talk about the characteristics off that person that they want to emulate on so out of it again, you end up with the same list of adjectives, really, the become your brand keywords. Now, after we've defined and agreed those brand keywords together, sometimes I take it a step further, and I will actually sit down with the client or any other stakeholders and start mood boarding different ones of those individual words. So let's say they had professional and minimal. Okay, so that's fine. Then we'll move board those two separately, okay? And to do that, I tend toe, leave them to their own devices. I let them get on with it, if I possibly can, to give them as much a sense of control as possible. So I point them at Adobe Color website so they could go through and try and pick colors that they feel represent. Those different words are point them at Google fonts as a way of them finding different fonts that represent those words. They could do a search on Google images to find imagery that represents it on. I'll even point them a website showcase kind of site where they can get inspiration to. So what? That the reason that I do that exercise is two fold, right? First of all, it shows the client that there is no one correct approach, that there are many ways of approaching this on that sometimes those might be contradictory . So you might find that if you go with a very minimal do the design, it's very hard to make it cozy as well. Is one hold the other kind of thing? So So it kind of teaches them a little bit about the process, but it also makes them feel involved. It makes them feel like they're creating the design with you right on. That is crucial. We want them to feel like they're creating the design. Do you know why? Because people don't reject their own ideas, right? If they can see in the final design all of this work that we've been doing together with the client, they will feel a sense of ownership over the design on. They're not gonna reject their own idea, Andi. They will probably even defend it to other people in the organization who aren't so sure. So definitely involved them as much as you can in things like move boarding on the great way of movable thing about move. Boarding around these different keyword phrases is you're not getting tied down to any specific movable. We've got different ones that you can pick and choose between. So it doesn't restrict you too much as a designer on its a great useful reference point for later. Because what you could do is when you've produced the design and you show it back to the client, you can point out how you've taken bits from the different mood boards to really drive home . That part of that idea that they were involved in its creation, so is useful ammunition for later. Basically, of course, a design isn't just about how it makes to use a feel. Good design is also usable and guides the user in the direction that you want them to go. So in our next lesson, we're gonna look at that idea of visual hierarchy and how we can include the client in that process as well. However, until then, thanks for watching 5. Working on a Visual Hierarchy With Your Client: So in the last lesson, we explored how to engage clients where her, while trying to establish the aesthetics for your website, I explained how the mawr we involved the client, the mawr of a sense of ownership that they're gonna have over the design, and so the less likely they are to reject it. So in this lesson, we're going to repeat the principle of involving the client. But this time we're gonna focus on visual hierarchy rather than aesthetics. This will not only allow us to get buy in from the client, but it will also help overcome two big problems that you will no doubt have encountered yourself when dealing with a client. The first is there overwhelming and somewhat irrational desire to fill every inch of white space in a design. Andi, Their lack of focus over priorities are unwillingness to prioritize on. In my experience, these things are particularly bad when you're dealing with the home page, which is often the first page we designed to his one top tip. Don't start with the home page, but when you do come to do the home page, this is the kind of approach that you want to adopt. I'll also say that things tend to get a lot more complicated. The more stakeholders are involved. So if you do have a lot of stakeholders, I think this will be particularly useful to you. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna run an exercise called the User Attention point exercise. Okay, let me take you through it. Step by step. Step one. Is you gonna let the entire group of stakeholders brainstorm as many elements as possible? That could go on the home page. And if you've got enough stakeholders, is worth splitting them down into smaller groups. Either pairs threes or fours on get them toe to brainstorm as many items as they can think of that need to go on the home page. And I normally make it bit fun by turning into a competition who can come up with the most elements. And so I encourage them. Don't just write, header, break it down into search box and logo and things like that. So the reason I do this exercise is because every stakeholder in that room will have their own agenda of what they want on the home page. What they want to see. I don't want a flush all of that stuff out right at the beginning where we could deal with it rather than it turning into a problem later on. So let them get it all out of their system. Then they're feel like they've been engaged. That they've been listened to on their opinion has been taken on board. So once they've done that, I then say, Well, we've got a bit of a problem here on. The problem that we've got is that users have limited attention. According to an article on Time magazine, most users will make a decision about whether to stay on the website in about eight seconds . Rights. We've got eight seconds to communicate all the things we need to on the home page. So that's what I do a step too. Step three is I Then go on to explain that what we're going to do in this exercises Turn that attention, Inter points. Okay, so we're gonna come to an agreement. How many? How many items on a page do we think a user can process every second? We don't really know. But if you throw a number out there, say two or possibly three. Everybody will just milled along in agreement. So well, let's say three. Let's say that people can look at three elements in any one second. Okay, so that gives us 24 points off user attention. Okay, so step four is you as a group of stakeholders. Now go back into your groups and start toe refine that big old lists that you created of all those different elements. Okay, every element that you want on the page is gonna have to take at least one point of users attention. They have to look at it for at least some time if it's going to be on the page, okay, because they'll see it. So every element has to be one point. But if you want users to be paying mawr attention to some elements and others, then you're gonna have to give it more points. So, for example, you'll probably want people toe Teoh, read your strap line or see your call to action a lot more than you want them to spot that privacy policy link at the bottom. So, as a result, we have to give mawr points to our call to action or are you strap line than we will to the privacy policy, So I then encourage them to go on, review their less to make some hard decisions, And sure enough, they will. They'll go through and they'll start crossing off some items and go where we don't need that. We don't need this except for etcetera, and they'll go through that process in their groups. But we'll get them back together and you'll find that they haven't really gone far enough. What they've done is they may have crossed out a few things, but they spread their remaining points very, very thinly. So you've got one point here. One point there for something is really important. They might give it to points, but that's basically it. So what I do in Step five is I now show them the Google home page on the Yahoo home page, side by side. Ah, now I say to them, which is better of the two? And without any hesitation, people almost always say Google. And then I say, Well, why why is Google better? Oh, it's so clean and so simple and so easy to use and I say, well, what you've just done by spreading all your points is you've created the Are Who home page . By contrast, Google have spent almost all of their points on their search box. And I promise you that this is like a light bulb moment for most clients. Suddenly they get it. Suddenly, they understand. So in step six, we literally just get them to repeat the exercise again, to go through and make those tough decisions on to spend their points more wisely. And they do. And it is a great exercise, because by the end of the exercise, you're gonna have educated the clients about cognitive load. Basically, that people get overwhelmed with too much content. You're gonna allow them to make all the tough decisions about prioritizing without getting caught in the middle. And you framed everything around the user's perspective while avoiding any internal politics. And the great thing is, you've resolved all of those arguments internally about priorities up front rather than after you've gone and created the design, and it's gonna prevent those issues from coming up later. So that is one exercise that you could do. But I do have one other exercise. It's no requirement, but you might find it useful, and it's called the six up Exercise. Essentially, you take a large sheet of flip chart paper. Normally on, do you fold it in half and then folded in thirds. You end up with six blocks, six areas on. You get the client or any stakeholders who happen to be in this workshop to sketch one version of the home page in each block, right so they can just draw one version in each of the blocks. Doesn't need to be very complicated. Can just be boxes. Nothing very clever. Then what you'll find is so droll one straight away, without any problems, because they've got in their heads a mental image of what the page is going to look like. Then they're gonna do a 2nd 1 and normally with the 2nd 1 they just flipped their 1st 1 If I'm honest, then after that they're going to start to struggle. They're going to really struggle to come up with different ideas. So to help them make suggestions like, Well, what if you focused on a particular audience? Or what if you prioritized a certain product? What if we made it more like a Blawg, okay? And so let them sketch out these different ideas. Now, the benefits of this exercise are twofold. First of all, it shows the client that there are multiple ways of solving this problem. The trouble is, his clients getting the image in their heads of what the design should look like. They can't articulate that very well, but they've got very guy dear. So we need to break them of that idea. Otherwise, whatever we show them is going to disappoint them by getting them to explore lots of ideas . Then they realize that there are many, many different approaches, but also the other advantage of doing this exercises. You can pick and choose between the different wire frames on let that inform your design and then reference it back to them later which, as we know, gives them a sense of investment in the design. So that's it. You now engaged your client in both the aesthetics on the visual hierarchy. You've provided them with ample opportunity to feel involved. So now is the time for you to go away and design your initial concept. However, as we all know, things can go terribly were wrong when you present backed to the client Your design concept . So in the next lesson, we're gonna look at how to present your design to the client in the best way possible. But until then, thanks for watching. 6. Five Tips for Presenting a Design Concept: So with your initial design concept complete, it's time to show it to the client. Never the most pleasant part of the journey. Is it really? However, it's all too often where things start going horribly wrong, isn't it? But this time is going to be different, I promise you, at least in part because of the groundwork that we've already laid, but also because we're going to approach things slightly differently. And in this lesson, I'm going to share with you following tits. Five pieces of advice I have for you about how to go about showing your design concept to the client. On the first piece of advice, I would give you seem somewhat counterintuitive. The first piece of advice is to show them the work before it's finished down. I know that sounds weird. I know everything in you. Screams don't do it because you wanna work in secret and then do a big reveal. But you cannot do ah worse thing than a big reveal. And the reason is the people don't respond well to surprises. Okay, we're kind of biologically programmed toe react. You know, when something is Noah's, we expect it now. Our clients are gonna have a image in their heads of what this design may look like. And whatever that is, it's not gonna be the same as what you show them. So anything you show them is going to be a surprise. As a result, we want to reduce that. We want to acclimatize the client to the design gradually, so I tend to show them, you know, grits, Andi typography and you know, stylistic elements. As I go, I drip feed them that information so that when they see the final design, it doesn't come as a surprise. Now I'm not asking for feedback at any stage. When I'm sending them these bits and bobs, it's just to keep them in the loop kind of attitude. Also, there was another advantage to doing this as well, which is that it shows them that progress is happening. One of the big things that happens is we take a brief when we go away and we do a load of design, Um, and from the client's perspective, nothing's happening. There's just radio silence, and they have no idea whether things are going well or badly, and so they start to imagine the worst. But if we show them what we're doing as we do it, it makes it clear that you're making progress, that things are going well. You keep reassuring them throughout that process on. Of course, The great thing is, you're gonna manage their expectations about the final result. So show little bits of your work as you do it. Talk to them, keep them in the loop. Tip number two don't produce multiple design concepts. Your clients might ask you for multiple designs to choose between, but don't do it. You need to understand why they're asking for it. Right there are asking for it because they want a choice. They want to be engaged with the process. Okay, well, we've provided a lot off other ways. Toe engagement way. We've given them lots of opportunities before this to collaborate. So if you let if people do ask you for multiple concepts before you kick off the project, I recommend taking the time to talk them through the process on how they get a lot of involvement. And a lot of say as you go along on, then follow up by saying that really producing multiple concepts is enormous waste of money because we're ending up producing three say different designs, of which only one is going to be used. So that means, you know, 2/3 of your design work is gonna be wasted. And the client is aware of this, at least on a subconscious level, because when you inevitably do show them the design, they're going to start picking and choosing between different design concepts on. We all know that that just ends up with Frankenstein. Design doesn't a looks horrendous. So focus on the collaboration that you're going to do focus on the testing that's gonna happen and the iterating in say, Although I'm only producing one design, we're gonna be doing that very collaboratively. Together with that, I'm going to test that an iterated and improve on it. Okay, Tip number three heavily reference any work you've already done with the client. We've done loads of stuff ready with the client at this point. And as you show the design and that you talk through the design, make sure you reference all of that previous work. Talk about how you've represented the brand keywords in your choice of color and typography . Talk about the reception room exercise and how you've mirrored some of the things in there . Talk about which elements from the various mood boards you picked and included in the design and, of course, reference the user attention list in the six up exercise. So basically, what you're trying to do there is point out, anyway that the client has influenced the design. If the client has shaped that design in even the smallest way, really, pile on with that because that goes back to what I was saying about people don't reject their own ideas. Tip number four. Deliver your design concept as a video. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't present your design. Absolutely. You should on if you can do it in person, right on go meet with the client. Bit difficult sometimes, but if that's possible, do that. If it's no, don't just send them a J peg right. Or don't just point them at a website. Instead, record a screen cast video of you talking over the top of the design. Okay, now the reason that we want to do that is because the first thing most clients do when they see a design it's start showing it to other people. They start to ask other people, What do you think? OK, and there's a problem there. People don't see the context. They don't understand the background. They haven't gone through those previous exercises. They haven't. They don't understand the design. All they can do is respond with what they personally think on what they think actually doesn't matter by recording a video and giving the client a video. That's the only way they could dance. Show it to other people. So the other people have to hear your presentation. They have to hear about the background and the previous choices made and all of the other kind of stuff. They can't just look at the design and go. I don't like it. So a video is a very useful way of controlling how your design is disseminated through the rest of the organization. The very last piece of advice I would provide is don't directly ask for approval. All right, remember, we don't actually care what they think and which certainly will never ask them what they think, right? Because their personal opinion isn't what matters. Don't even ask them if it's okay, right? Instead, downplay the whole thing, right? Don't make this a sign off process. You just reporting in on where we're currently at. Okay? You're showing it to them for reference before we move on to testing. Of course, the danger of no asking them for approval. It's the client may feel that they're being shut down or pushed out of the process. So to avoid that problem, we are goingto get give them the opportunity to provide us with feedback, OK, but in a very specific way, as we will cover in the next lesson. However, until then, thanks for watching. 7. Dealing With Client Feedback: in the last lesson, I suggested that you shouldn't ask for design approval. However, that doesn't mean that we should completely exclude the client and not asked them for any feedback whatsoever. So in this lesson, I want to suggest some specific questions you should ask is part of the feedback process. Andi. Some advice on how best to gather that feedback. However, Before I do that, I want to clarify why we're only asking for feedback and no, actually design approval, because is not simply the fact that the client isn't best placed to approve the design. And I should also add that neither you even as a designer, it's not your place to know whether the design is exactly right or no. The only way we can truly know is to test with users. But the other reason that we're not asking the client for their design approval is because as soon as you asked the client to approve the design, it becomes this big thing in their minds, and we make it like that's well, we say things like you only get three revisions and you know that one sisters signed off. We're gonna go into building there won't be only changing then. And so you're building it up in their mind to be a bigger and bigger decision on DSO. Eventually, they feel like they have to make the design perfect before they sign it off, and so they start picking over it on. Of course, in truth, the design is never going to be perfect. So that kind of design approval with the you know where you're getting people to sign on the dotted line and say they're happy makes a lot of sense if you're going to print, because if you go into print than the cost of changing your mind later is huge. However, in digital, it doesn't make sense because change is relatively easy. Yes, there is some overhead in changing things later, but actually you're find that it's a lot less overhead than it is getting the client to sign on the dotted line for a digital design. So if we on asking for approval, then all we asking for Well, we don't want their opinion, Really. We don't want them just saying or will I think. Doc. Doc, Doc. All right, on. We should never ask them that we should never ask. What do you think? It's possibly the worst question you can ask because you're basically prompting them to fall back on their personal opinion. And, of course, design is subjective. If they had a anti when they were a kid, that who was horrible to them in a ways where War Blue, then you'll find the client doesn't like blue. That's no good. So instead what we need to ask you, some structured questions that guides the client into providing the right kind of feedback . So here are the questions I recommend you. Troy is the design in line with the agreed business objectives? Will users feel it reflects the brand keywords we agreed? Does he adequately meet the needs of users? And does it clearly communicate the value proposition? Are the calls to action obvious on? Does the design reflect the mood boards and wife rings we produced now by asking these kinds of questions were focusing the client on what matters the most right? The things that really are of importance. Also, by asking these kinds of very direct, very focused questions, we're going to get the kind of feedback that we want. We don't want feedback that said, Well, I don't think it pops. What we want is feedback about how it doesn't meet a business objective or we've for gotten an audience or something like that. Also, the other thing is that if we ask those kinds of structure questions and they go through them going well, yeah, yeah, then they can't reject the design at the end, can they? Even if they personally don't like it? If you're answering yes to all of those questions, then what do they do? They have to approve the design. Not that we actually want them to approve. Approve it if you know what I mean. Of course, the chances are occasionally they might answer. No. But if that's the case, we need to follow up and ask for a specific reason. Why. So, for example, let's say they claim it doesn't reflect the brand keywords that was agreed, right? You asked why? Well, I feel that the the color doesn't reflect the key words. We agreed. All right, So you then follow up again. Why do you feel that the user will think that focusing them back on the user, keep pushing them. Keep asking why so that you get them to the point of expressing a specific problem on this might also be the time when you have to remind them to talk in terms of problems on not solutions. Before we wrap up, I want to leave you with one final tip. One common mistake often see is that as designers, you ask for a single point of contact, a single voice from the client side with all of the feedback. All right, So if there are multiple stakeholders involved, you ask for just one list of feedback. And actually, I would advise the complete opposite. I would encourage the client to put stakeholders feedback directly to you. So encourage a Wolfie back to come directly through you rather than it being discussed internally. Don't let the client call a meeting where everybody sits down and talks about it. Because if you do, you're gonna get designed by committee. Okay, What we want them to want them to do is fire all of that information directly to you, so you can then pick and choose which parts you listen to. You can quietly ignore something's saying that the majority of people said something else So it's really important that you're the nexus for a while feedback, because that puts you in the position of power. And it stopped designed by committee with the inevitable compromises where one stakeholder says, Will, I don't like green and the other one says, Well, I don't like blue and you end up with the gray website you're in control. So if the client doesn't like the design, don't panic, don't become defensive. Instead, acknowledge their point of view on, say that we can confirm their concerns in testing. Testing is the ultimate get out of jail card if you get stuck if the client is being difficult or problematic, and testing is the topic of our next two lessons. But until then, thanks for watching. 8. Proving Your Page Layout Works: So maybe your client has expressed some concern about the design. Maybe they're worried that it's Noah's usable as it should be, or worried about whether people will spot some particular screen element. What you gonna do about it? Well, fortunately, there is an easy answer in testing, and actually, we can do that in a very fast, inexpensive way that isn't gonna mess with your profitability or your timelines at all. Now you could do your own usability testing, okay, but it's challenging. It takes time to set up, and it can be difficult to recruit the right kind of people. So instead, we're going to use a tool called usability hub. As always, you keep those tests under a couple of minutes, which we will be is absolutely free to use. The only thing that you will pay for is if you want to get them to recruit people for you on. In that case, you're only paying about a dollar to $2 a person. Now, bearing in mind the amount of time you're likely toe waste arguing with the client on the phone or in a meeting, you're probably better off doing. Testing instead is quicker it's easier, and it's pretty inexpensive. So there are two tests that we can use for things like visual hierarchy and usability. The first test is called a five second test, and as the name applies, you showed the user the design for five seconds, at which point it's taken away. Now the reason we're only showing it to five seconds is as we talked about before. People make up their minds about websites very quickly, and so we want to know, Did they spot that critical screen element or that call to action or whatever it else it is that the client is worried about? So we show them the design just for a few seconds, and then what we do is we take it away and ask them to recall the elements that they saw on the page. We also make a note of the order that they recall things, so if they don't mention your call to action at all, then you know you've got a problem. If they take a long time to mention it, then equally you might have an issue. However, if someone immediately comes back within the 1st 3 or four items that they list with whatever that critical at screen element is, then that should be enough to reassure the client or at least shut them up. So is great for identifying whether or not people spot the priorities that were agreed in the user attention point exercise. So remember, in that excites you ended up with a prioritized list of different elements that we want people to pay attention to. This test will check that now. The second test that we could do on usability Hub is called a first click test. Now, first click test basically shows an image off your design on. Users are asked where they would click to complete a certain task. Okay, so let's say the client is worried that they're not going to be able to find something you know, particular section of the site or whatever. So what you do is you ask them at where would you click to find that section? Or that I'm from the information found in that section and they click on the screen and we see whether or no they click in the right place. Now, the reason that this is an effective method is because one of the most influential studies into usability, found that if someone gets that first clip right, even if what they're after is buried quite deep in the site, if they get the first click, correct, they've got an 87% chance of completing the whole action correctly. Another was finding that piece of information they want, as opposed to just 46% if the first click is wrong. So this is a great tool for testing, usability and information architecture and reassuring the client that actually people going to be able to find the information that they need to find. So what's so good about this kind of testing? No, only is it quick and easy to do, but it will end any disagreement about usability or visual hierarchy in your design or any of that kind of stuff. Now you should still be doing other testing at the build stage, but in terms of getting a concept of design concept agreed so that you can move forward into the build. This is a perfect tool because it really helps to put the client's mind at ease and makes your case for you. But what about aesthetics? What the client feels the design doesn't reflect the brand keywords or just doesn't impress . Why, in the next lesson, I'm going to introduce you to some testing that will end all of those kind of silly comments once and for all. But until then, thanks for watching. 9. Ending the Arguments Over Aesthetics: So in the last lesson, we looked at testing usability and visual hierarchy with our design cops. In this lesson, we're gonna deal with those annoying comments about the design, not wowing the client or just know popping. Fortunately, we did a lot of the hard work at the beginning when we defined a set of brand keywords. These air effectively what defines whether or not the design pops? Does the design elicit the right keywords in the user's mind? Because if it does, then we know the designs working. So how do we establish whether or no the design makes the target audience feel that it's professional law? Whatever those words were, well, we could do something cooled a semantic differential survey, which is a very fancy name for just a survey, really. But it's quite good to use the fancy name because it always impresses the climb. So to do a semantic differential survey, you're gonna need about 30 respondents. You need about 30 people who are going to complete this survey, and the reason that you need at least 30 is because you may well get some outliers. Some people that respond bizarrely for whatever reason, so to avoid those skewing the results. We need a certain number of people. We also need the right kind of people. So we need Teoh have our actual target audience in this case when we're judging aesthetics . If that proves problematic, if you're gonna struggle to recruit those people, no problem. We can go back to usability hubba gain and they can do the recruitment for us and we can run the survey on their site. Otherwise, we can really use any survey out that we want. It's no a very complicated survey. The survey basically is asking a series of questions. All right, about each of your brand keywords on. Each question is pretty much identical. How strongly do you agree with the statement? This design appears dot, dot, dot so friendly, for example, professional or whatever your keywords are, and you just repeat that question for each of your keywords. Now you could even do something like, How strongly do you agree with statement? This design looks impressive if you're really having problems with the client, saying it doesn't pop or doesn't wow them. But I would avoid that if it'll possible and keep focused on those brand keywords. But how do you know whether the rank you get so so let's say it's a 1 to 5 range of agreement. How do you know if a four is enough? Or if for three is enough, what's good enough? And so sometimes you could get into these kinds of arguments with your client. Most of the time, if you get a four or five year in a really good place free, it's all right. But you could do better kind of thing. However, if it becomes difficult if the client just wants fives the whole time, which is a little un unrealistic, you could do a variation of the semantic Differential survey were. Basically, you compare your website to the competitions. So what you do instead of same rate on a scale of 1 to 5 how friendly the design is? You ask people to pick which of these designs appears most friendly, and if your site ranks better than the competitors, then your design, it's fine. All of this will make an enormous difference on give the client confidence that the design is heading in the right direction and move the conversation away from their personal opinions. onto what the user thinks. So testing design really does make the whole design process so much easier and less subjective that on it's totally worth that little bit of extra work to make it happen. Best of all, by posting these tests online and getting usability hub to do the recruitment for you, you can often get results in a little as an hour. So it really doesn't interrupt the flow of your project in any way, And if you don't believe me, then try on one project and see how you get on. 10. Where To Go From Here: So here we are at the end of your course on getting designed. Sign off. If you haven't already, I would strongly recommend building a slide deck to help you integrate all of this into your workflow I've attached to sample that can get you started once you produced your side . That be sure to share it here as a will is inspire other people, and I'm sure that you can come up with something more attractive than Maia's. I don't get to do much hands on design these days, as I mainly focused on coaching. Ultimately getting designed sign off is about focusing the client on the user's needs and the business needs. It's about involving them in the process, as much as possible on testing, when there is disagreement about the right approach. If you do that, you are going to be in a good position. Look, I'm not gonna promise that you'll never have problems getting sign off ever again. If you use the advice on this course, there is always difficult clients who will derail anybody's best efforts. However, if you find that you regularly are having problems getting design approval, you have to ask yourself whether you just had a whole load of bad clients or whether there is something in your process that needs adapting. If you've enjoyed this course, I would encourage you to visit Boac world dot com On that site, you'll find 15 years of my advice on all aspects of user experience design as well as longer master classes on various subjects like conversion rate optimization on finding clients. If you're an agency or freelancer, however, for now, best of luck on, I'll speak to you on the next course.