When a design is presented to a team of researchers or designers alike, critique arises as a form of validation by reviewing the product design. Such critique has to be taken professionally and not personally. Most people think that the person who critiques the work is out to get them. But in all fairness, this is how a product has to be reviewed and evaluated to find out the loopholes and the future changes that need to be made to make a product or design successful.
A small group of mostly 3–7 people gather together to discuss and review a design’s sketches or prototypes. It could be about the branding elements, the ease of use concepts or even the feasibility factor. A lead is always required to direct the conversation and consider how the questions should be asked. A goal has to be clearly defined to identify the questions that would help the discussion answer the questions raised.
- Get specific feedback instead of general feedback on a particular part of the design approach of the website or product
- Comparison of the individual elements of the design against each other are more efficient than evaluated alone
- Find out the competitors quality of design and the level that you want to achieve realistically
- Complete and discuss user flow screens with the sequence that users have to take in order to complete tasks
- Use feedback from other people and not just designers like developers, QA’s, marketing teams, etc.
These are just some of the techniques that should be followed when critiquing a design of a product or system that will allow the feedback to be productive so that the changes can be made to make the design a success. To include other tips about critiquing, formulate a way that the design team can discuss a particular design item without conflict in that way, the team will be quick in their understanding and slower in their conclusions.
How To Run The Room
The discussion in the room should be within a small group and should be informal and quick. Hierarchy and personal relationships with co-workers in the team should not come in the way of feedback or dilute it by any means. Here are some ideas that might help while conducting a critique session:
- The people in the room should be critical and good design thinkers.
- Both positive and negative feedback should be presented while critiquing from the reviewers.
- Conflicts should be diffused with difficult or tense people before they get out of hand and the meeting should always have the creative agenda.
- Display the designs efficiently on a wall or on a projected screen well labeled so that the discussion has no interruptions or misunderstandings.
- Clarify any questions that the reviewers might have to help them get a better understanding of the designs.
- It is good for the designer to listen to the feedback even if negative before speaking or defending the design.
- Always try to find out sequences or situations where the design might not work or may not have a solution to.
Critiquing a design can be very helpful when faced with multiple design ideas or when a design idea has to be tested before creating the end products. This process is a form of brainstorming about a specific process in the design world. The critique is done to gain different perspectives or opinions on one design to further improve it so that there are no imperfections in the final stage that have to be fixed at the last moment. So be ready to go out there and critique healthy!