Team Up: How to Give Feedback

The word “feedback” may fill some with dread, but at littleBits it fills us with joy. We’re feedback addicts, always wanting to build with each other or see a project from another point of view. This week we’ll be helping each other here on the forums and in the community call.

How to Give + Get Feedback

Good feedback starts with reflecting on how far you’ve come in a project (eduwonks call this “self-assessment”) and then asking others into the project with you.

Your Mission:

  1. In your track on Discourse, start a new topic and post a project that is in process. It can be an idea, a sketch or a project you are troubleshooting.
  2. Choose 2-3 other people’s projects and give feedback to them using one of the systems below.
  3. Attend the Weekly Community Call for a design critique with your fellow bitsters.

How to Ask for Help

When you post a project for help, be sure to:

  1. Say what you are trying to achieve: “My Arduino won’t light up in this script.”
  2. What you’ve tried to get it to work (troubleshooting, tutorials, etc). This is what will help others find you new options!
  3. Share where you are at in the creative process. Are you still sketching the idea? Or is the project 75% done? That will help folks calibrate how much feedback to give.

How to Give Feedback to Others

Here are a few good ways we like to give feedback in the littleBits community:

1. The “I like, I wish, What If.” Way

Designers rely on personal communication and, particularly, feedback, during design work. You request feedback from users about your solution concepts, and you seek feedback from colleagues about design frameworks you are developing. Outside the project itself, fellow designers need to communicate how they are working together as a team. Feedback is best given with I-statements. For example, “I sometimes feel you don’t listen to me” instead of “You don’t listen to a word I say.” Specifically, “I like, I wish, What if” (IL/IW/WI) is a simple tool to encourage open feedback.

Download the full PDF resource at Stanford Design School:

2. The Critical Response Process

Watch Liz Lerman’s approach in process with artists giving feedback about chocolate cupcakes:

The Critical Response Process takes place after a presentation of artistic work. Work can be short or long, large or small, and at any stage in its development.

The facilitator then leads the artist and responders through four steps:

  • Statements of Meaning: Responders state what was meaningful, evocative, interesting, exciting, striking in the work they have just witnessed.
    Artist as Questioner: The artist asks questions about the work. After each question, the responders answer.
  • Responders may express opinions if they are in direct response to the question asked and do not contain suggestions for changes.
  • Neutral Questions: Responders ask neutral questions about the work. The artist responds. Questions are neutral when they do not have an opinion couched in them. For example, if you are discussing the lighting of a scene, “Why was it so dark?” is not a neutral question. “What ideas guided your choices about lighting?” is.
  • Opinion Time: Responders state opinions, subject to permission from the artist. The usual form is “I have an opinion about ______, would you like to hear it?” The artist has the option to decline opinions for any reason.

Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process:

3. The Red / Yellow / Green (and Blue) Game

This a playful and easy way to give each other feedback using color analogies:

  • Greens: things we like, we notice are done well, bits we admire or are surprised by. Good things.
  • Yellows: Questions or concerns. Things we don’t understand.
  • Reds: things that aren’t working, typos, incorrect statements.
  • And sometimes Blues: what are some suggestions you have for a piece?

Examples of amazing feedback on littleBits Projects

Great ask for Help:

Great Help / Critique

Great “Green” Feedback

“This is very cool! The sound is surprisingly musical and full considering the source, and I love how you managed to create harmony using delay. It’s great how LittleBits exposes the inner workings of synthesis in a way that’s so fun. Very well done :)”