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  • Camila Silva

What is "Visual Feedback"?

Updated: May 10

If you're here, you probably aren't familiar with the term...

but I'm willing to bet you already use visual feedback on a daily basis.


Since the term, "visual feedback", has different meanings and applications depending on what activity or industry it is being used for, I want to specify that, in this article, I am particularly referring to "visual feedback" as it relates to online collaboration.


This article will cover:


 

What is "Visual Feedback" in online collaboration?

Simply put, visual feedback is feedback that has a visual element as a stand-alone message or sent together with a written and/or verbal element. Examples of visual elements are images, graphics, and videos.


"Visual feedback is feedback that has a visual element as a stand-alone message or sent together with a written and/or verbal element."

Product Designer designing UX for a website

The Importance of Feedback

Feedback is vital to improvement.


It helps correct errors, reinforce positive actions/traits, and ensures the competence of an individual or business in any specific regard.


Ideally, good feedback has 3 key characteristics:

  • timely (given with minimal delay to enable immediate corrections)

  • clear (easily understood and identifiable)

  • actionable (corrections can be made and tracked until they are resolved)


Increasing trend in Visual Feedback

During the pre-internet era, we had to collaborate with coworkers and do business with clients in-person or, at the very least, synchronously (e.g., via telephone).


Fortunately, technological advancements since then have enabled us to transmit messages regardless of place and time. This has enabled the possibility of remote work and empowered the internationalization of companies.


For the most part, we collaborate using verbal or written communication (such as when sending a text message or an email).


However, oftentimes, verbal or written communication falls short as:

  • it can often be misunderstood and requires further back-and-forth to clarify

  • it requires more time & words to clearly express something highly specific


Here's an example.


Let's say a client is working with a web development agency, and wants to point out a specific button that doesn't work. They then send an email saying, "The button on our home page (on the second section, below the text, "Elevated and easy-to-craft desserts for your next gathering") doesn't work... Please fix it to link to our products page."


Email without visual feedback is unclear & takes more time to send
Email with a massive block of text just for one piece of feedback

Now, this may be clearly written and understood by most. But it still possesses the same 2 problems mentioned earlier:

  1. The web development agency will fix the issue, but likely take more time having to find that specific button & then respond confirming if the right button was fixed.

  2. Imagine if there were 20-30 things that the client required fixed or changed on the website, writing highly specific instructions for each would take hours. Not to mention the further time spent in follow-up communication and any necessary iterations.


The client has much more to do than simply requesting & reviewing changes. Therefore, this method isn't sustainable - and that's where visual feedback comes in.


Why use Visual Feedback?

Two reasons, above all: message clarity & ease of communication


Using our previous example, if instead of the massive block of text, the client just sent the email below, the feedback is both much easier to understand and easier to send.


Sending visual feedback on an email
Client now using visual feedback in their email

In other words, just by incorporating visual feedback, clear messages can be sent more effortlessly. And this helps get the job done faster & easier.


This compounds into even greater benefits such as:

  • faster project/task turnaround times

  • less expenses (e.g., when a hired agency or freelancer gets to correct all their assigned tasks sooner, the less hours need to be paid for their work)

  • more revenue (e.g., more time can be allocated to more revenue-focused activities instead of being stuck engaged in feedback loops, or agencies/freelancers can now take on more clients with their faster project turnaround times)


Overall, something as simple as visual feedback can increase the profitability of those who master its implementation.


How to implement Visual Feedback in online collaboration

Ready to start implementing more visual feedback into your collaborative workflow? Here are some popularly used methods you can try today.


1. Screenshot method

You can get started simply by using more screenshots in your messages. Almost all computers have a key that allows a screenshot to be taken or a portion of the screen to be copied and shared.


You can further enhance the clarity of your message by drawing on the screenshot (e.g., inserting arrows, or circling around a specific element you want to point out).


2. Screen recording method

This method works best if you want to quickly explain processes or steps. Where most mobile phones have an in-built screen recorder, most computers will require you install an additional software that records your screen as you perform the necessary actions.


Depending on your needs, you can also find tools that record your speech as well as those that enable you to add your face to the videos being recorded.


Popular examples of screen recording & sharing tools are Loom, OBS Studio and ShareX.


3. "Just Beep It!"

Combining the power of the previous 2 methods into an even easier-to-use package, Beep is a browser extension that allows you to drop comments on any website, anywhere on the screen.


Beep used to point out errors on a website
Beep used to point out the button with the broken link

Plus, each comment you create:

  • comes with an auto-screenshot so you don't have to even take it yourself! And these screenshots already mark where exactly on the page you created the comment - so no need to draw arrows or circles! See the live sample here 👇https://share.justbeepit.com/screenshot/6626cb5f3cca300015d7fe4b

  • takes 2 clicks minimum & 5 seconds on average to send (every second counts!)

  • allows for files to be attached (helpful for when you already have an example of what you want)

  • allows you to take screen recordings

  • can be replied to and collaborated on further in real-time (this helps you avoid the confusion & disorganization of receiving feedback on multiple tasks)

  • can be grouped into a list on one shareable webpage (this is helps you save time by sending numerous feedback in one go, instead of doing so one at a time) Here is one such example 👇 https://share.justbeepit.com/screenshot/647f77b9b37c520014258391?hashtag=siftree

  • can be assign a status and tracked to completion on a kanban board (this makes feedback instantly actionable and manageable)

  • can be sent to anyone via link or email (and they can see & reply to your feedback without having to sign up!)


The best part? It's easy to setup & free to use, with premium plans that unlock more robust functionality.


If you're interested to give Beep a try, simply click on this link to add the extension to your browser, and follow the steps to complete setting it up.


Most of our users were amazed that it only took them a minute to get started!

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