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WWW… Wednesday! Pastel: Client Feedback Made Easy

by Taylor Slattery | October 20, 2020

One of the biggest hurdles in any sort of work done for clients is feedback. There’s often a barrier between designer, engineer, and client. The challenges of communicating and working with those of different disciplines are often heightened by distance. Not being in the same room as one another adds another layer of complexity to an already complicated juggling act.

Whether on sticky notes, in Zoom meetings, or never-ending email chains, it can be difficult to keep tabs on the many forms in which feedback presents itself. Google Docs and GitHub are a step up from email, though they have challenges of their own, and clients unfamiliar with how to use them may require instruction.

Pastel is a tool that was created to address the problems of managing and tracking feedback. It helps to clear clutter and minimize the time spent on non-design tasks. Pastel serves as a centralized location for feedback, both from clients and team members alike, bypassing the hassles of scheduling meetings and managing emails to keep everyone on the same page.

Pastel’s interface is simple and easy to use so that clients feel comfortable right from the start. Simply choose a URL and you’ll receive a link to be shared with everyone on the team. Pastel creates a canvas from the selected URL and allows users to comment on individual UI elements on the page. The element is then marked with an annotation which allows others to view the feedback. Comments also store additional data like the specific resolution and browser that was used upon their creation. This makes troubleshooting potential bugs much faster for the development team.

You can also use multiple canvases to store feedback from clients and the design team separately. This way they can watch the process from start to finish, while still maintaining a more team-specific channel for communication. Pastel works with live websites, as well as prototypes. Wireframes, mockups, or even just still images of assets can be uploaded and subjected to the same feedback process. The applications are endless. Pastel could even be adopted into the workflow of other types of visual work as well, like illustration or photography.

It’s all browser-based so clients don’t need any specialized software to participate, and there’s no limit to the number of people who can be invited. Anyone with the link is welcome to offer feedback. This may lead to a scenario in which there are too many cooks in the kitchen, but the landscape is changing and products can benefit from a greater degree of transparency in the creation process. Team members can also be mentioned by name, which opens the door to a simplified means of delegating tasks and keeping everyone accountable. Once a comment has been addressed, it can be marked as resolved to keep a clear picture of work that is yet to be completed.

Feedback can also be exported into other tools in the form of tasks. One such tool is Trello, which I’ve written about in the past. Because the number of guests is unlimited, the sheer amount of feedback received may be tough to manage. Pastel allows for comments to be tagged, which makes them searchable and offers a means of organization. If things get too out of hand though, feedback as a whole can be paused until the current issues have been resolved.

There are a number of different pricing options, with some of the more premium features like file attachments and the exporting of tasks only accessible in the paid versions. There is a free plan for those just looking to try it out, though. You can learn more about Pastel and try it out for yourself here.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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