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Hi! A woman commenting here!
Two points here.
I agree that the balance of content on Helen's site is maybe confusing. Her work is definitely buried. As a hiring manager, I would most likely pass over her for that fact alone. In my opinion, culture fit is important... but the work comes first. BUT, maybe that's not the goal of Helen's site? We don't know. Maybe it's meant to be a more personal site versus a portfolio site.
Using words like "model," "beautiful," "dating profile," "vain," or "ego" isn't a helpful critique. Keep it about the work and content balance. Easy as that! What Helen's doing with her site isn't anything new so it shouldn't turn into a s**t storm talking about it.
I'm struggling to understand why those words are unhelpful. I think most designers learn pretty early on that people's impressions of a design might end up mattering more than the intent or the content. Hell, gut reactions to how a design "feels" can often be the most useful feedback, even when its hard to voice the reason behind that feeling.
If I design a new innovative package for some salad dressing, but other people's gut reactions place it closer to being a laundry detergent, I'd hope to hear words like "soap" or "cleaning" in the critique.
I think that's kind of what happened here: Some felt that the site ranged too close to a fashion or modeling site, and that made it less successful as a design portfolio. Isn't that worthwhile feedback to discuss, whether one agrees with it or not?
Help me understand where I'm wrong or let me know your thoughts :)
I think this all comes back to how impersonally people can treat each other on the internet, especially large community sites like DN. The 3rd comment here is:
The website welcomes you with a full-screen background video of Helen, followed closely by a portrait of Helen, scroll down a bit further to reveal 3 more photos of Helen... I really want to like Helen, however now I sort of think she's a bit vain. Maybe dial down the Helen-ness at the top a notch and move some of it to an "About me" section. Otherwise the top feels like a really well-designed dating profile.
This is someone's personal site, people put a lot of themselves into these things. All critiques deserve respect, but I think personal sites warrant a little extra. So is it respectful to call someone's portfolio "vain"? I can't help but think that word would sting a little being on the receiving end. The comment is written with authority and lacks empathy for how Helen would feel reading it.
Agree with Weston here. Giving feedback is also stair-step process. You start with high-level/high-empathy. And if the person asks for a further explanation or to dig deeper into your comments...then eventually you may stair-step to some of these adjectives we're addressing. But most creatives are intuitive, and when you merely keep your feedback to high-level - they get it.
And this is from my experience of working with creatives (in person) and knowing that creativity is delicate. Harsh unwarranted critiques can make you inner creativity retreat. Is it really worth that? Keep it high level and if they want more detailed feedback – they'll let you know (meaning they're asking for it and can handle the outcome). Definitely not saying to take "feeling" out of your feedback. Additionally, think about how you would give feedback to your partner or your child. Helen's a person...not merely a screen name on DN.
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