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Why I’m travelling 4,500 miles to talk about feedback

3 October 2022

This month, Opencast content design practice lead Milly Shaw heads to Seattle on the US west coast for the prestigious annual Button conference. She’ll be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Google and Facebook to share the Opencast perspective on user-centred thinking.

I’m going to the Button conference in Seattle to talk about feedback.

Button is a big deal in the world of content design – hotshot content designers from massive companies like Google, Slack and Facebook are on the line up, sharing huge, life-changing ideas about content design.

So why did the conference organisers also want a talk on a topic as apparently pedestrian as feedback in content design?

Seattle's Button conference is a big deal in the world of content design

Why talk about feedback?

Feedback is one of those ordinary, everyday things that everyone understands in theory, but very few people really do well. Asking for feedback on your work can feel scary and make you feel vulnerable.

Nobody wants to hear that they’ve done a bad job and that all their hard work has been wasted, and so it’s often easier to not ask for feedback at all, or ask for it so late in the day that it’s too late to make changes. That might be an easier way to work, but it’s not the right thing to do.

As content designers we need feedback. It’s non-negotiable. We need users to tell us if what we’ve built isn’t right for them, and we need other content designers to help us improve our work. We need experts to tell us if something’s inaccurate, and we need stakeholders to give their thoughts on our design decisions.

Getting feedback is an essential part of the job of content design, so we might as well learn to do it well. This talk will give some practical tips and ideas for how to take control of the feedback cycle, to help us go from dreading feedback to welcoming it. So while it may not be the most obviously glamourous of subjects, getting better at feedback can make your life easier, less stressful and more productive.

"We’re proud to be the kind of consultancy where we actively encourage our people to work in the right way – even if that sometimes feels uncomfortable"

How we work at Opencast

The approach I’m talking about at Button is how we work at Opencast. We’re proud to be the kind of consultancy where we actively encourage our people to work in the right way – even if that sometimes feels uncomfortable.

We empower our people to feel confident in their abilities, and know when and how to challenge stakeholders. Part of doing the right thing also means being humble and willing to learn and improve in our craft – the best consultants know there is always more to learn.

If that all sounds interesting, come and talk to us! We’re expanding rapidly and always looking for good people to join us. Our vacancies page has all information about our current job opportunities.

Milly Shaw’s Button talk is Feedback: how to get what you need, and love what you get. It’s at 11:20 PDT on Monday 10 October 2022.

As content designers we need feedback. It’s non-negotiable. We need users to tell us if what we’ve built isn’t right for them, and we need other content designers to help us improve our work.

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