Feedback is a vital part of the design process. It allows a designer to verify that they are on the right track with their interpretation of a client’s brief and hopefully gain constructive input for concept development. But probably every designer has had clients whose comments are weird, vague, contradictory, or just plain horrible.
A website building platform set out to collect such experiences on Twitter, and the results are every designer’s nightmare. From customers who don’t know what they want to those who come up with suggestions from family members, there are plenty of answers that readers are sure to know. Below, we take a look at some of the best (for more experiences within the industry, check out our pick of the best graphic design books).
What’s the *scariest* design comment you’ve ever received? 👻October 20, 2022
With Halloween approaching, Webflow asked its Twitter followers about the scariest design feedback they’ve ever received. The answers were not long in coming, with the designers sharing the worst lines and responses they received from clients. Responses ranged from clients telling designers to ditch their own style guides to student changes of address on the brief.
“This is good. But can we change the general direction to do it from scratch?” was probably a fairly common customer suggestion shared. “Are you sure this is what I ordered?” someone else raised, while “I think we’re getting close” is surely another phrase every designer has come to dread. That’s closely followed by the variation “I think we’re headed in the right direction. Now can you go back to the previous designs?” That’s right there along with “This isn’t the final version, is it?”
Some of the worst reviews found involved customers claiming they could do something on their own more quickly. “I can do that with Weebly in 1 hour and it took you 20 hours,” said a web designer who was once told about a design for the core CMS architecture of the sitemap with 100+ URLs. Meanwhile, web designer Web Bae said that the worst comment he had ever received was “This is not how Apple would do this.”
Other complaints included requests to make buttons, logos, and basically everything “bigger” to “make it stand out.” But one of the biggest complaints was customer uncertainty. “They don’t know what they don’t like, but they keep asking ‘…let us see something different.’ No details, no preferences,” said one designer. Here are some more of the responses.
It was a cold, dark night, with a mist in the air only the dim light of a monitor as the cold hand of a CEO whispers, “My wife thinks it would be better this way.” Mwaaaaahhh hahahaOctober 21, 2022
The scariest feedback is no feedback 🦗 Usually this is a symptom of people not feeling comfortable enough to give it OR they don’t care or don’t know enough about the problem/project to think of any. 💀🥶October 20, 2022
Reduce the size of the terms and conditions link so users don’t notice it.October 21, 2022
Pretty much any subjective comment gives me the creeps. Give me business reasons why something isn’t working or 🤫. Negative comments: “Make it purple.” Good feedback: “The way the web page flows doesn’t do a good job of encouraging the user to commit to a certain action.”October 21, 2022
Unfortunately, unhelpful or just plain scary feedback is likely to remain part of the package for designers, especially freelancers. Asking lots of questions and testing the brief before starting a project can help, but there will inevitably be customers who are unsure of what they want and will have a hard time communicating it. For some tips, check out our classic guide to the worst customers and how to deal with them.