4 Most Effective Ways to Iterate and Improve Your Designs

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While iteration may feel like the impossible process of spinning straw into gold, you have to admit that it’s the key to producing a digitized work of art that you’d proudly point at and claim as your own. Besides, it’s sort of an adventure where you challenge yourself in your craft without having to step outside or stray too far away from your computer. To ensure that your iterations are meaningful, use the following four methods to be inspired.

#1: Get a Fresh Pair of Eyes

Iteration doesn’t have to happen in a vacuum; collaborating with other designers or even clients is bound to give you the creative boost you need. Run your design by someone else and ask him or her for feedback. Other professionals, especially those with more experience, are bound to identify aspects that you’ve missed. They may even suggest a few new techniques they’ve used, sparking your creativity and leading you in a different, but better direction.

If you don’t know of anyone, head to a coffee shop and bounce your ideas off someone there. Since designs are created for people, getting their feedback will push your design forward. Demand brutally honest feedback, as it’s easy to grow ‘blind’ when you’ve worked for hours on a certain design. Moreover, take feedback with a grain of salt and avoid taking any criticism personally. Everything you’re told is actually bound to benefit you and even turn your client into your biggest promoter.

#2: Experiment, Experiment, EXPERIMENT!

At times, design ideas come easy to you. This is especially true if you’re passionate about the project or client’s niche. However, there are times when your muse may be sound asleep and you can’t come up with design ideas quickly or easily. If this is news to you, please share the secret of your endless inspiration! As for the rest, there’s a way to battle the frustration and self-doubt that comes naturally with this issue: Experiment.

Try different things to see whether or not they’ll work. And don’t just stick to the conventional; experiment with the craziest elements as even they have the power to make your work solid, stunning and unconventionally unique. Now this process can take a lot of your time; so, consider experimenting using Photoshop rather than your browser. Once you form a foundation using Adobe’s photo editing tools, you can finalize your design in the browser.

To guide you a little further on this iterative design technique, here are three tips you can use.

  • Start by Experimenting with Colors – Start with your design’s colors to get your creative juices flowing. One of the best tools for color inspiration is Adobe Color CC as it helps you explore popular color schemes in different combinations.
  • Seek Inspiration from Design Galleries – There’s nothing wrong with looking at design galleries for inspiration as long as you don’t end up copying others’ work. The best approach in this case is to think of ways to improve the current design and question how you would have done things differently.
  • Experiment via Personal Projects – Personal projects are an amazing way to experiment if you have enough time until your deadline. Create something you like to wake up your muse and get her to work on your current project. If you want to make this process more fun and lucrative, create a site for yourself and sell your designs to the highest bidders.

#3: Let Your Goals Guide Your Designs

Another way to iterate your design is by checking with the goals you and your client agreed on initially. Since you’re too busy with design aspects, it’s easy for you to forget what your goals are at times and go astray. Therefore, come up for air and check your work against the project’s aims at regular intervals. At times, this could mean redoing a large chunk of your work. However, how much you redo depends on how frequently you assess your work. If you complete your project only to discover that it doesn’t follow goals, you’ll be wasting your time and risking client satisfaction. Worst-case scenario, you might lose your client altogether.

#4: Take User Behavior into Consideration

Let users have a say in your design since they’ll be looking at it more often than you or your client. You can take their opinions during the design process itself or when it’s ready and in the hands of users.

  • Before the Feature Has Been Launched – You can test the design on real people before launching it. Simply upload the basic prototype and run it for potential customers to interact with. You can add a feedback box to the side and get honest feedback. Later, you can redesign certain elements. If you don’t integrate your clients’ feedback and miss their critical needs, your launch is bound to end in failure.
  • After the Launch – You can iterate when your work is live as well. In fact, you should always consider iterating when your design is in cyberspace to keep visitors on their toes and ensure that they visit often. Besides, iterating after releasing is the best time to know what people want and how they’re going to use the site. With the help of analytics, you can determine which pages receive the most visits and draw visitors to spend most of their time there. That way, you can change other pages accordingly and improve the overall design.

Use these four methods on a regular basis to ensure that design iteration becomes a part of your on-going efforts to improve the impact of your work and its efficiency. Even if you’re not really a perfectionist, remind yourself constantly that this is one of the best ways to ensure your customers’ satisfaction and ultimately loyalty. You won’t need to hunt for clients on your own, as they’ll come to you with more projects and the friends of those who liked what you’ve delivered in the past. 

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