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Deflecting Bullshit: How to Defend Your Work Against Terrible Feedback

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We’ve all been there: trying to anticipate design feedback before it happens, drafting responses in our heads, dreading the possibility that our work could be destroyed in a mere 30 minutes. Defending work and ensuring that a design remains intact through a design review can be a challenging endeavor, and in many ways, it requires a specific and thought-out approach. In this talk, we’ll discuss the best ways for designers to silence their stakeholders, defend their designs during reviews, and ultimately get exactly what they want. It’s time that designers start enforcing their expertise, standing up for their work, and ensuring that it sees the light of day. Right?

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Deflecting Bullshit: How to Defend Your Work Against Terrible Feedback

  1. 1. Austin Knight Senior UX Designer at HubSpot How to defend your work against terrible feedback Deflecting bullshit
  2. 2. HUNGARY BUDAPEST uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  3. 3. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight “How can I stay humble and open-minded when I need to defend my work?”
  4. 4. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight CREATIVE DIRECTOR THE WORST I’VE EVER WORKED WITH The wonderful story of
  5. 5. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight JOSHUA GARRETT 1638 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108 (271) 535-1075 jgarrettdawg@gmail.com
  6. 6. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Ignore feedback Belittle junior designers Speak in riddles Trash work that wasn’t his Reference his Cannes Lions award
  7. 7. POWER LAZY TACTICS FOR GAINING uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  8. 8. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  9. 9. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  10. 10. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight How to defend your work against terrible feedback Deflecting bullsiht That is a bullshit title
  11. 11. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight BULLSHIT ATTITUDE THIS IS A
  12. 12. Don’t defend your work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  13. 13. Fear criticism Prepare canned responses Anticipate feedback Defend work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  14. 14. Fear criticism Prepare canned responses Anticipate feedback Defend work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  15. 15. Listen Prepare canned responses Anticipate feedback Defend work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  16. 16. Listen Prepare canned responses Reflect Defend work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  17. 17. Listen Inquire Reflect Defend work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  18. 18. Listen Inquire Reflect Stop defending uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  19. 19. I started to take my own advice and actually try to understand my audience. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight In user-centered design, that includes your stakeholders.
  20. 20. Rather than defend their work, uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  21. 21. Rather than defend their work, uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight DESIGNERS SHOULD LISTEN, REFLECT, & ASK QUESTIONS
  22. 22. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight DON’T GET DEFENSIVE; GET CURIOUS
  23. 23. 1 DEFENDING WORK The inherent problems with uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  24. 24. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  25. 25. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  26. 26. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Legitimacy
  27. 27. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Make a judgement on the feedback and start defending based on it. Legitimacy
  28. 28. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Make a judgement on the feedback and start defending based on it. Legitimacy Understanding
  29. 29. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Make a judgement on the feedback and start defending based on it. Legitimacy Understanding Stop digging deeper and jeopardize team trust and empathy in the process.
  30. 30. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Make a judgement on the feedback and start defending based on it. Legitimacy Understanding Stop digging deeper and jeopardize team trust and empathy in the process. Collaboration
  31. 31. It’s tough to run a productive and healthy design review from the defensive. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Make a judgement on the feedback and start defending based on it. Legitimacy Understanding Stop digging deeper and jeopardize team trust and empathy in the process. Collaboration Defend a point of view, rather than work together with stakeholders.
  32. 32. The ability to listen to stakeholders and acknowledge their feedback is not just the quality of a good designer; it’s the quality of a good leader. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  33. 33. Despite being celebrated in design, uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  34. 34. Despite being celebrated in design, uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight IT IS WHOLLY UNPRODUCTIVE TO RESPOND DEFENSIVELY TO CRITICISM
  35. 35. 2 USER-CENTERED Design reviews that are uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  36. 36. Designer uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Stakeholder
  37. 37. Designer uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Stakeholder
  38. 38. Designer uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Stakeholder
  39. 39. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Collaboration Listening Inquiry
  40. 40. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Collaboration When a stakeholder criticizes a design, the designer should work with them to arrive at a solution together.
  41. 41. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Collaboration When a stakeholder offers critique, they should expect to follow-up on their criticism and work with the designer to produce a better solution.
  42. 42. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Collaboration Stakeholders need to maintain an open mind, properly qualify their feedback with data or sound reasoning, and build empathy and trust with the designer. KEY DEPENDENCY
  43. 43. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Collaboration It’s tough to collaborate with a stakeholder that doesn’t understand or respect design. KEY DEPENDENCY
  44. 44. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight In the same way that user tests are recorded with considerable detail, stakeholder feedback should also be documented and used to steer design decisions. Listening (especially when supported by quantifiable data or business goals)
  45. 45. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight By listening to and recording feedback, the designer can build empathy and trust with the teams that they’re working with. Listening
  46. 46. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight The designer must be empowered to make the final call on design decisions. Listening KEY DEPENDENCY
  47. 47. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight They’re best positioned to determine how feedback and data should be applied. Listening KEY DEPENDENCY
  48. 48. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Rather than deflect criticism, the designer should ask questions that will either help them to fully understand the feedback offered or bring the stakeholder around to their viewpoint. Inquiry
  49. 49. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight The goal is to really challenge the feedback, so as to understand what the stakeholder specifically wants, and to confirm that the feedback is well-founded. Inquiry
  50. 50. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Stakeholders should expect to answer in-depth questions about their feedback and logic without getting upset. Inquiry KEY DEPENDENCY
  51. 51. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight This can’t be seen as an indictment of one’s feedback or a personal attack, but rather as a fundamental part of the design review process. Inquiry KEY DEPENDENCY
  52. 52. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Collaboration Listening Inquiry
  53. 53. 3 OUTCOMES Newly expected uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  54. 54. This should empower the designer to not only understand what is being critiqued, but why it is being critiqued. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight
  55. 55. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Legitimate feedback Illegitimate feedback
  56. 56. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Legitimate feedback Illegitimate feedback By asking questions: • Show genuine care and desire to collaborate • Work toward improved solution • Bring the stakeholder around to their point of view By not asking questions: • Miss valuable feedback and opportunity to improve By asking questions: • Poor feedback will be exposed through inquiry • Pivot to relevant feedback without ever attacking or defending any work By not asking questions: • Risk accepting misguided feedback or appearing under prepared in reviews
  57. 57. The best way to defend work uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight IS TO NOT DEFEND IT AT ALL
  58. 58. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight The design will either naturally defend itself or welcome the opportunity for improvement.
  59. 59. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight Legitimacy Understanding Collaboration
  60. 60. uxd.to/guide @ustinKnight DON’T GET DEFENSIVE; GET CURIOUS
  61. 61. @ustinKnight AustinKnight.com uxd.to/guide @HubSpot HubSpot.com

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