Recording Your Design Reviews

March 7, 2022

When new ideas are coming to life, designing a Web site, application, or product can be blissful. You are making something more engaging and customer friendly. But there is one thing about the design process that can be painful: the long-dreaded design-review process.

When we all are working remotely, it becomes even more difficult to coordinate tasks and share ideas. It is especially difficult to facilitate an effective, targeted, goal-driven design-review process. So, in this article, I’ll share some insights I’ve gained from discussions I’ve had with a few of my designer colleagues and discuss what these designers have done to ease the design-review process. Within the context of this article, I am using the term design to describe creating or changing any user-interface (UI) element or user experience.

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Our Original Process: Long Zoom Calls for Design Reviews

Before I start discussing our new design-review process, I’ll describe what our original design-review process looked like. After we created our designs, using tools such as Figma, Sketch, or InVision, whoever was reviewing the designs could add only brief comments to specify the necessary changes.

A brief comment could be helpful if it involved approving, disapproving, or otherwise resolving a simple issue or answering a question that required just a Yes or No answer—for example, a color change, logo change, or another simple change to an element on a page. Maybe you can explain the Whys behind your thought processes in one line, but most of us would struggle in trying to do that. It is very challenging to try to define a screen transition you want to create and explain why the current one is less than optimal in just a few words.

When we need to discuss bigger changes such as an update to a signup flow, a onboarding flow revamp, or a dashboard overhaul, our discussions are highly likely to become long textual threads similar to that shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1—Discussing design changes in our collaboration tool
Discussing design changes in our collaboration tool

You might need to show some other app that is doing it the same way or maybe share some insights from Mixpanel or Google Analytics to back up your point.

In such cases, you might think getting on a call would be the best approach. But let’s consider some ways in which such calls could create a bottleneck or become a problem during your design-review discussions—at least in remote scenarios.

  • You have to find a date and time in your calendar when everyone is available, then arrange for and schedule the call.
  • Design-discussion calls tend to get way longer than the one-hour slot you would probably schedule because, obviously, everyone present in the meeting has to share their opinion.
  • When there is a lot of feedback, it becomes difficult to capture everyone’s thoughts and ideas—and even more difficult to prioritize them and decide which ones to implement.
  • In the middle of the discussion, if someone wants to back up their point with some data, they might need to share their screen and walk the other team members through the data, which can slow down the discussion.
  • Plus, there is a chance that a few good ideas might go unnoticed. Only certain team members might voice their opinions strongly enough to get heard. This can risk the viability of the entire design solution.
  • And, sometimes, your discussions might get postponed to a later date—thus, further delaying the completion of your design-review process.

As the saying goes, “Too many cooks can spoil the broth,” so your design-review meeting might end up making the design team even more confused.

Our New, Improved Process

To share our thoughts on the design changes that are necessary to improve a design solution, we now use a screen video recorder to capture our design ideas and explain our feedback. Using a design tool that has an embedded video recorder, you can even more quickly record and share your design feedback. Here’s the process we follow.

Step 1: Write down the first requirement.

My design team creates a message board in Basecamp—the collaboration tool that we use—stating our detailed design requirements or necessary changes.

Step 2: If necessary, get on a call.

We usually get on a quick call so everyone on our multidisciplinary team—comprising members of the design, marketing, and product teams—can get on the same page.

Step 3: Create a design solution.

So far, this is the normal process that everyone follows.

Step 4: Provide your feedback asynchronously.

This is the core change to the design-review process that I mentioned earlier. To provide their feedback, everyone records a short screen video, explaining what needs to change or get added and why, as depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2—Using a screen video recorder to explain design decisions
Using a screen video recorder to explain design decisions

Step 5: Make the necessary design changes.

Look at the design-review videos and change the design, as necessary. There’s no need to waste time booking meetings or go back and forth, reading and responding to comments. Collate any design conflicts and put the options to your team members for a Yes or No decision.

Repeat steps 4 and 5, if necessary.

Step 6: Have a final call.

To check whether the design solution satisfies all of the requirements that your team had discussed during the last call, get on a final call. Discuss whether any other changes or additions are necessary and finalize your design.

That’s it! Our design-review process has become much simpler and faster.

How Our Video Design Reviews Have Helped Us Create Better Designs More Quickly

The improvements we’ve made to our design-review process include the following:

  • All of our thoughts and ideas get captured in one place, where we can easily share them with other members of our team.
  • Everyone has a say, so the design-review process does not become biased or align only to the thoughts of a particular person or group.
  • We can chuck the Zoom call, and stop wondering when the whole team will be free.

Video design reviews are the perfect replacement for having to wade through boring comments or hold never-ending video calls. If you want to speed up your design-review process, give our new approach a try. I bet you’ll love it, too. 

Digital Marketing Manager at Nvizion Solutions

Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Reshmi MenonAfter working as a software engineer for three years, Reshmi made the shift to marketing. She has been working as a marketer for the last four years and was previously Content Marketing Manager at StoryXpress. Reshmi loves writing about marketing, business strategies, and product-design nuances. She earned her Bachelor of Technology from the University of Calicut and an MBA, Marketing, from the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship  Read More

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