Your design project is underway and seems to be going in the right direction. For the first time (in a long time), graphic and web designers enjoy their tasks.
You look at the project’s calendar before signing off for the day.
And there it is, staring right back at you. You start sweating, and your heart rate increases. How could you have missed this?
The design review is in a few days. 😰
…what do I do?
…how do I check or know if we’re still on track?
Don’t worry. MarkUp.io’s blog has come to the rescue, as always.
In this post, we’ll share a graphic and web design review checklist that’ll help you easily track the process.
Let’s get right to it!
Table of contents
- What is a design review checklist?
- Graphic and web design review checklist
- Download our free design review checklist
- Easy design review checklist for non-designers
What is a design review checklist?
A design review checklist is a list of elements that should be present in every successful design. It helps you oversee the entire process, so you don’t omit important details that might affect the outcome.
Think of a design review checklist as the shopping list you create before going to the grocery store.
That list, usually tied to a budget, acts as a guide to what you should and shouldn’t focus on.
A design checklist helps ensure the design meets your ultimate commercial objectives.
But isn’t it just design? I just need to be creative, and I’m good to go.
You’re correct. BUT designs go beyond creativity and aesthetics. Ultimately, they should appeal to your target audience.
Let’s check out a few other reasons a review checklist is important.
Why using a design review checklist is a good idea 😉
Aside from being a guide, incorporating a preliminary design review checklist into your workflow helps with
- Organizing your design process: The checklist will help you determine which stage of the process comes first and how to approach it.
- Monitoring progress: You’ll have an easier time tracking what’s been done and what still needs to be done.
- Presenting design stages to clients: With a checklist, you know when to get clients involved in the design process so they can start providing feedback early on.
- Ensuring high quality and consistent design: Using a design checklist is like having a safety net to ensure the essential elements are included in the design.
- Serving as a template for non-designers: Other professionals can use the checklist to create designs without prior design knowledge.
The benefits are undeniable. So, it’s clear: you need to integrate design checklists into your creative workflow. But how do you create one?
Graphic and web design review checklist
Ladies and gentlemen of the creative press, welcome to this town hall meeting. Let’s get down to business.
Here are the steps you should follow when creating your design checklist.
✅ Create first drafts
Every forest begins with a tree – in this case, the tree is the initial design.
It doesn’t have to be perfect yet, but your first draft should be based on detailed research and the client’s requirements, as indicated in the creative brief.
The draft should follow the seven principles of design:
- Balance: Refers to how elements are arranged (radially, symmetrically, or asymmetrically) on the design, creating an equal impression in importance or weight.
- White space: How much space is left on the design? This principle helps organize the design, making it more creative and entertaining.
- Contrast: This principle makes designs pop when viewers see them. To ensure this effect, the background color should be different from the other elements’ colors so that they’re appealing and readable.
- Movement: This involves controlling the viewer’s attention and ensuring important information is communicated by positioning design elements.
- Emphasis: The focal point of your design should be obvious, and it should stand out from other elements.
- Pattern: Incorporating this design principle helps create balance or contrast consistently. It involves repeating visual elements in the design.
- Unity: How all the elements are arranged to create an eye-catching masterpiece.
Just because it’s the first draft doesn’t mean it should be all sketches.
It will be the iteration against which you review the design elements.
✅ Evaluate first drafts based on the design brief
Now that the first draft is done, you can start iterating using the design brief.
The design brief is similar to the creative brief, where clients outline the details of the project, their goals, big ideas, audience, what they expect, and more, from conception to completion.
You want to check the design brief against the first draft to see if you meet the client’s requirements.
If you’re part of a design team, contact your colleagues for a round of internal reviews. Be sure to share the project requirements with them alongside the first draft.
A good way to do that is to use MarkUp.io, a tool that makes sharing and reviewing documents easy.
Just upload the web or graphic design and invite your teammates to collaborate via a shareable link.
But if you’re on your own, we’ve got your back.
We put together some questions by which you can ascertain whether or not the design is in sync with the brief.
Questions to ask internally about graphic design
A good place to start is to ask your teammates if the design style corresponds with the client’s message.
You can take it a step further and ask if it fits the industry your client is in. How does the design look at first glance?
But that’s just to kick things off. Let’s begin by focusing on typography.
Go over the design and ask:
- Do the fonts used match the client’s description?
- Do they match the colors?
- How many fonts were used?
- Would adding more or fewer fonts help?
- Is there sufficient spacing between lines and words?
Speaking of colors, here are some questions to ask:
- Do they allow for easy readability?
- Do the colors set the mood or tone of the design’s message?
- Does the design have an even color contrast?
- Do the colors match the images you used?
If you added photos or images to the design, there are also questions you need to answer.
- Does the quality of the image match the rest of the design?
- Are there too many images?
- Do the images need editing?
- Are they in the right location?
- Do they communicate the design’s message well?
Then, look at the design elements.
- Are the icons appealing and appropriate for the design?
- Is there proper balance and spacing?
- Did you apply gradients?
If you’re a graphic designer, these are questions you can ask your team to ensure every element is present in the design.
But what about us web designers?
Don’t worry. We’ve got some goodies in the bag for you.
Questions to ask internally about web design
There are different aspects to a web design, but let’s start with the main or homepage design.
- Is it easy to use?
- How long will it take users to identify what the website is about?
- Are there clear calls to action (CTA)?
- Is there a central visual graphic, image, slide, or video to capture the user’s focus?
- Does it leave a good first impression on visitors?
- Are there clear links to subpages from the main page?
Next, let’s talk about user experience.
- Can users easily identify buttons?
- Is there seamless navigation between pages?
- Is the contact form unique, conducive, and well-organized?
- How many times do primary actions appear across the web pages? This is applicable if there’s an action you want users to take.
- Is the site compatible with all devices and browsers?
- Are there multiple sign-in options available?
- How many pop-ups will users see while navigating? Less is more in this case.
- Is the design responsive? In other words, can it adapt to other screen sizes while maintaining the same feel and usability?
- Is the overall design appealing and in line with the client’s requirements?
- What’s the loading speed?
- Are plugins and integrations affecting the site’s speed?
- Did you test the scale of the website across different browsers?
Still on track? We can dive into web structure and navigation then.
- Is your road map simple or a lil’ complex?
- Does the logo link to the homepage?
- Are there clear navigational labels?
- How quickly can users identify where they are on the site and find their way?
- Do you have design elements (headers, footers, and logo) in the same position across the web pages?
- Is there a search box?
Now, you also wanna look at visual and textual content. So, here are questions to ask:
- Did you use high-quality pictures? Have the image sizes been optimized?
- How long does it take images to load?
- Where is the brand logo located? Left, center, or right? According to studies, it’s way better on the left.
- Have you removed Flash animations?
- Do videos play automatically, or is it click-to-play? Clicking to play is the preferred choice.
- Are in-text links easy to identify?
- Are you using headers? If yes, how many? You need at least three to help users stay focused and structure text.
- How many fonts have you used so far? Just two is enough.
- Did you implement the hide/show feature for lengthy text?
After evaluating all of these questions against the first draft, the next thing you need to do is…
It’s time to show team members, stakeholders, and clients what you’ve done. It’s only a design review if fresh eyes can look at it and provide different perspectives.
So, how do you present designs?
✅ Present the design
If your gut instinct is to share them by email, there’s a better way.
A better option would be to use a collaboration tool like MarkUp.io.
With our platform, you can upload designs in different formats such as HTML files, live websites’ URLs, JPEG, JPG, PSD, and more onto your Workspace and invite others to collaborate.
Way better than the typical zipping and typing *kindly find attached,* right?
✅ Gather feedback
You can ask the collaborators you’ve invited to review the designs and provide feedback within MarkUp.io’s environment.
The platform allows reviewers to drop contextual, pixel-accurate comments on the design so you know what they’re referring to.
They just have to click on any design element and input their feedback.
With MarkUp.io’s Loom integration, reviewers can record videos to share their thoughts for better context.
✅ Analyze and implement feedback
After feedback has been given, you need to analyze it and prioritize which feedback you need to act on.
Preferably, design team leads, or project managers should be the first recipient of client feedback so they can go over it, get clarity on what’s required, prioritize what’s important, and present their team with consolidated feedback.
The Eisenhower decision matrix, a work prioritization tool, can help you analyze comments and categorize them in order of importance and urgency.
But first, you need to identify which feedback is urgent and important. To know if a comment is important, ask yourself what the entire design will look like if you don’t work on this now.
For urgent tasks, ask, will doing this later prevent others from moving forward?
After figuring out important/urgent feedback, the next step is to split it into four groups in this order:
- Important and Urgent (resolve immediately), e.g., typos, no color contrast, fonts, and colors don’t match.
- Important but not Urgent (schedule), e.g., no central visual focus, slightly different brand colors.
- Not Important but Urgent (reassign), e.g., unidentifiable text links.
- Not Important and not Urgent (delete), e.g., repetitive feedback.
Analyzing feedback this way will let you know which should be implemented in order of importance.
Another option is to leverage the Priority Planning Poker technique if you want the design team to contribute to the prioritization process.
This technique supports prioritization by voting, and here’s how it works:
- Set up a virtual poker room or any system that supports voting.
- The team lead invites everyone and introduces different items of client feedback.
- Everyone on the team votes on each item according to its importance as they’re introduced.
- Display the final results with members’ votes alongside.
- Votes can then be recast if need be.
So, with vague comments out of the way and a clear direction on what’s important, designers can now incorporate stakeholders’ and clients’ feedback into the design.
✅ Review changes
When you’re done implementing the changes recommended by clients, you can resolve their comments within MarkUp.io’s Workspace.
But don’t worry. They haven’t disappeared. You can still access them in the Resolved tab, MarkUp.io’s feedback archive.
After resolving feedback, you’ll need to present the updated design to clients and stakeholders for them to review (again).
And yes, they can still use MarkUp.io to add comments if there are more changes they’d like to make.
✅ Get approval for the revised design
What’s next after implementing the client’s feedback?
You’ll be just one step away from creating the final draft. But before that, you need the client’s approval on the updated design so there are no more back and forths when working on the last iteration.
If they requested changes to the revised design, you’d have to analyze and implement them again.
And if not, be sure to get their approval to proceed.
✅ Create the final version of the design
This is the last phase on the review checklist, where you create a final design ensuring all the client’s requirements have been addressed.
You want to involve clients in this process, too, so you don’t go through another round of review.
This way, you have an appealing, engaging, and audience-oriented graphic or web design.
That was quite the checklist with embedded lists too. Putting everything in a doc can be a chore. To save you some time, we’ve done that for you.
Check out our free checklist template for your design needs below.
You’re welcome! 😉
Download our free design review checklist
A lot goes into creating a design, and a review checklist is an important part.
You can create a design review checklist specific to your team or the industry you’re in.
But if you’d rather spend more time on designs, you can use this checklist template instead.
You can customize it to suit your different needs.
Click here to download our free design review checklist!
Easy design review checklist for non-designers
POV: You’re a non-designer who’s also a stakeholder on a design team, and you’ve been asked to review the design.
After seeing the design:
That doesn’t have to be the case for you, as we’ve put together a checklist that can help you review the design like a pro.
So, here goes:
- Are the design elements in a consistent order? E.g., the logos, register/log-in buttons, headers, footers, etc.
- Are the font sizes consistent?
- Do the colors match the brand’s guidelines?
- Is the design responsive? Does it look good on other devices?
- Is the design consistent with previous designs?
- Are the wordings appropriate?
- Will the web design fit into the performance system?
- Are there too many pop-ups?
- Is there a good use of white space?
- Are the designs compatible with different devices?
Now that you’ve been armed with the proper strategy needed to review designs and keep track of the process with ease, there’s only one thing left to do.
Streamline the design review process with a smart tool
Your review process would be a lot smoother if there were a smart tool you could leverage.
Everything would be in a central location. You can upload designs, invite collaborators (teammates, clients, stakeholders) and request contextual design feedback.
Oh, the bliss.
If that’s something you’d like to experience, we’ve got a free trial waiting for you.
Sign up today and claim your 14-day free trial with MarkUp.io for a streamlined design review process.