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335: Giving Better Upward Feedback

February 26, 2020

This week, we discuss strategies for giving better upward feedback to senior designers. We also share our thoughts on how to name your spacing components, list our favorite design podcasts, and as always, share this week's cool things for your eyes and computer.

Golden Ratio Patrons:

Sisu is looking for a thoughtful and data-savvy designer to help build the next generation of analytics software. You can find out more at (You might recognize Sisu from our interview with Michie Cao)

Pathrise is an online mentorship program that you land a great UX job. Previous fellows have been placed at Google, IBM, Atlassian and other exciting companies. You can learn more at

Latest VIP Patrons:

Huge shoutouts to our latest Very Important Pixels!

  • Guarang Alat
  • Dennis Cortes
  • Grovkillen & TD-er
  • Connelly Rader


  • Elias Julian floated a very compelling idea for new merch...
  • Erik Bro brought up a great question about how to name spacing constants in a design system.



Listener Question:

  • kelle-yess asks about giving upward feedback to senior designers, and how to deal with resulting pushback. Good questions abound. A tl;dl of our advice:
    • Consider a matrix of the following
      • The person giving the feedback and receiving the feedback
      • The type of feedback, stage of product, fidelity of feedback, location of feedback
    • The Socratic method is a useful way to approach a conversation with good intent and having the intention to learn along the way.
    • Compromise and pick your battles. Losing in public gives you social capital. Figure out where you rank on the sliding scale of giving a fuck.
    • It's possible that you don't know everything about the situation, or the person you're giving feedback to is shielding you from unnecessary context.
    • Sometimes egos get in the way. But they're worth considering. Giving feedback in private, or in a way that lets your senior save-face, might be a better strategy and strengthen your relationship.
    • Also, sometimes people suck. Peer feedback and manager escalation are valid paths in particularly sticky situations.

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared EnChroma, after seeing a tweet from Kurt Varner. EnChroma are glasses that can help people with certain types of color blindness to see colors – pretty incredible!
  • Marshall shared a macOS tip about how to hide your menu bar – and enumerates all of the tradeoffs for doing so. Proceed at your own risk, but let us know if it sticks!

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