Hands-on (The app critique) — DAY 74

One of the main problems that designers face when at the beginning is to get hands-on experience. There are many ways to enhance your skills, but one that I particularly learned not a many time ago and think that is very interesting is the app critique. This kind of exercise is also often used by recruiters and managers during interviews to analyze how good are the candidate thinking skills.

It’s pretty simple. I will describe the questions as examples for practicing, but, if you get very used to it you will definitely have less one barrier separating you and your next UX job.

Objective

When adopting the app critique approach as a practicing tool you will be focusing on enhancing your ability to understand and analyze a product from a design perspective.

How does it work?

First of all

First of all, you will choose an app or a website that you really know to be analyzed. If you don’t know it very well, use it, research about it, about its brand, and figure it out.

Second step

As long as you feel comfortable with the website or app that you chose, go ahead and start answering the following questions:

  • Who do you think this app/website was made for? (audience)
  • What kind of problems it aims to solve?
  • How does this app/website solve the problem?
  • Define what are the best features of the app/website, and describe why.
  • Define what are the worst features of the app/website, and describe why.
  • Observe alternatives and try to identify tradeoffs. Describe it.
  • Explain why do you thing the designer chose for the current alternative instead of the others.
  • Explain how each of the best features adds value to the product.
  • Explain what you would do to improve the app/website.
  • List the app/website’s main competitors.
  • Explain why and how this app/website is better than its competitors.

Piece of advice

When you analyze third party apps/websites start by doing it on a higher level. Don’t loose your time analyzing aesthetic choices, but try to understand how the designers added value to their solution, and how the solution adds value to its user’s lives. Understand how good the app/website is on what it intends to do and how all the system, features, and choices contribute to the overall value.

Conclusion

Even though we use some fancy words to describe this process, it is a really easy one to be done. Sometimes it can take some time, as you need to think a lot and understand other people’s choices, but the final result can really be a paper sheet explaining the app and answering each question.

This is a very useful tool for beginners and as long as you pro it you are closer to also do a consistent job interview and get your dream job.

#100DaysAboutUsers

Roberto Pesce — aboutusers.com

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