Soon we are going to be expanding our design team, bringing a junior UX Designer who I will be mentoring. This has started me thinking about what would be my number one piece of advice for someone who doesn't have a lot of design experience yet, and after some reflection I think it would be to get early feedback. As early as practically possible.

I think working on our own bubble for longer than we should have is one of the rookie mistakes we all have made (or at least one that I definitely have).

It's very tempting just keep polishing "just a bit more" your work before you show it to anyone, especially if that person is a senior stakeholder. But in my experience I have realised that we are our own worse critics and very often these very experienced product managers or SMEs don't really care that much about being pixel perfect and are really good at seeing the high level picture. Things like if there is any important functionality missing, or if the assumptions that you are making about the content are not realistic. Or maybe you have totally missed the point and the direction that you are taking would be a waste of time.

These type of conversations help tremendously to identify if the work that you are doing is actually going to solve the real problem or at least their understanding of what that problem is. And even more important, they help you save a ton of time as give you confidence that you are approaching the problem in the right way.

An important aspect for this to work is to frame the work that you are going to show before the person actually sees it. For example, if what you are showing is just modelling a user flow or a layout but doesn't consider copy or colour yet, you should make that clear before you show it or otherwise you might get feedback just focused on visual design. The other part of the coin here is that you should explicitly say what type of feedback that you are actually looking for.

I must admit this was something I struggled quite a bit at first until I realised of how important it's this initial framing. After I started applying this approach, the quality of the feedback I started to get was so much more useful!