One of the things Ive noticed about receiving design feedback from clients is that they frequently offer solutions (make the text blue) instead of explaining what their problems, or concerns, are with the design (Im having a hard time reading the text).
If you surveyed 100 designers and asked them to name one thing they would like their clients to understand it would likely be: designers love to help clients solve their problems. This may be hard to believe, especially if a client recently had a bad experience with some prima donna designer who believes their work should be accepted without question.
Simply telling the designer make the text blue doesnt allow them to solve a problem. However, if the client says, the text is hard to read or the site colors seem too dark the designer can work with the client to come up with a solution. This is far more productive than simply providing a bulleted list of solutions and having the designer scratch their heads trying to figure out what the clients intentions were.
At Newfangled, we provide the client with a Website Profile questionnaire at the beginning of the project to help them think through some of the aspects of their website that would not be necessarily be obvious to them. Then, when the first round of design is presented, well provide some rationale (why we think this design is appropriate and the thought process behind it) and some prompting questions to help the client review the design and provide useful feedback.
Things we ask clients to keep in mind as they review our website designs:
Overall Look & Feel – which design best reflects your organization?
Color Pallete – does the use of color accurately represent your organization? (is it too warm, too cool, too neutral?)
Content – does the design have a good balance of content and white space?
Navigation – does the navigation seem intuitive and well placed?
Images – are the images appropriate for your market area? Do they strike the right tone?
If the designer can initiate an informative discussion between themselves and the client it will go a long way in helping the client be better engaged in the design process and help the designer come up with good solutions for the clients problems.