A short and simple set of guidelines to encourage better UX discussions. This (or a variation) could be posted near your code of conduct in your repos. It’s not a silver bullet, but allows teams to level up how they discuss UX. (It helps in discussing other things too!)
1. Focus on the target audience first
You’re not designing just for yourself! Describing something ‘because you don’t like it’ doesn’t frame the problem well (and is usually wrong). Focus on the target audience, e.g. if your product is a CAD package, have a ‘hobbyist’ and an ‘entry level professional’ target.
2. Focus on their pain point second
Focus on the target user’s pain points. Focusing on the pain point keeps you from jumping to the technically easy solution, encouraging alternative ideas: there are always multiple solutions. So avoid talking about the specific UI and instead focus on what the target user needs to overcome.
3. Be clear about what type of feedback you’d like
When you send out a UX idea or concept, be clear what you want back. Do you want more ideas? Or to decide on which one to prioritize? Do you want pixel-level detail, or feedback on the overall concept? Tell people what type of input would be most helpful for the decision you need to make.
4. Acknowledge, Ask, Answer
Follow the basic reply template: Acknowledge, Ask, then Answer. Acknowledge their point before replying, everyone needs to know they’ve been heard. Ask for more information to make sure you understand the question (optional), and then, finally answer.
4a. Improve ideas by combining alternatives
When first discussing an idea, don’t shut it down if you don’t agree immediately. Ask a few open ended questions “Why did you…” or “Can you tell me more about…” to make sure you fully understand what it’s trying to do. Use what their ideas teach you, since the best solutions are often the combination of two competing ideas.
5. Avoid long paragraphs
A long paragraph is hard to follow. Simplify your proposal (or reply) by using a diagram (visual) or a bulleted list (verbal). Distill your key points into a compact form. This is not only easier to digest but this act of summarizing will likely expose a few weaknesses in your thinking.
6. Lock down decisions
So rarely done and so important! When a key decision is made, write it down and share with the team. If people disagree, you never had agreement in the first place and you’re doomed to revisit this issue over and over. Better to document and test your agreement early.
7. Never use personal attacks
That never wins any argument and it’s not the culture we want here. Please see our Code of Conduct for more information (I assume a project already has a Code of Conduct)