How to Present Design More Effectively
Whether you are a freelancer or working for a company, at some point in your career you have spent hours working on a concept, thinking you have the right solution but when you need to sell it to a stakeholder or client, the outcome is everything but what you though. This generally happens early in your career, however, every now and then you might come across a tough audience that might give you a hard time if you are not strategic when presenting your work. So, how do you overcome this? Here are some recommendations on how to get buy-ing every time when presenting your work:
Tip One: Make users the core of your work.
Most of us know that when you put yourself in the shoes of the user, it’s easier to understand the objective expected. This principle needs to be the foundation to your communication too, it's not enough to show the design outcome, you need to go deeper and talk about the users' experience, the feelings, the emotions, address their pain points and how you are going to solve them. Taking people on a journey is a powerful way to provide insight into your process, it gets them thinking and engaged with your solutions and more importantly brings context to your work.
Tip Two: Talk about the emotional connection of design.
As I mentioned in Tip one, design should evoke feelings. Depending on the objective of the design, the feelings can be different. As a designer, you are creating these emotions and It only makes sense that each part of the design has meaning behind it. Talk about the why and the purpose of the elements you have created, give context to colours, imagery and even fonts. If you’ve captured the intended feeling in your design, it’s much easier to talk about it with others.
Tip Three: Humanise the design.
When you humanise the design, people can more easily identify with it. Think about this: how does your design solve the challenge presented? Is the story clear based on goals and needs? It’s important when presenting to convey the message that the design solves the problem at hand. Giving design a human touch adds context to those viewing the design. Tell the story of how each part of the design communicates certain attributes or characteristics.
Tip Four: Understand the goals of the design in the context of business.
It’s good to be clear in the beginning about the purpose of a design. There are lots of different goals for design and it is your responsibility to ask the right questions at the start of a project. You want to make sure you have a good understanding of the business goals and how can your design solutions meet those goals while providing value to your users. Ask meaningful questions and understand what does success looks like for the client or stakeholder. The technique of asking questions makes you more credible and helps you communicate design in a more effective way. Clarity from the start will give you the ability to measure the quality of the outcome. and provides critical context; something no one can't argue against.
Tip Five: Learn from feedback.
You may feel like your designs are an extension of you. They are in some ways; however, this is a slippery slope. Be prepared for feedback. Be ready to learn from that feedback. Learn from feedback, and incorporate into the next version. Your goal is to capture the message or objective of clients, so start early and involve parties in the different phases. Get buy off on big ideas or wireframes before getting too deep into the design without some validation of your assumptions.
As a designer, you spend a lot of time working on non-verbal communication. But you must speak up. A design doesn’t stand on its own, it needs explanation and context. By implementing these tips into your presentations, you can understand the needs and wants of stakeholders better, and in turn, they can better understand your intent and vision.