Many creative fields use critiques to improve the ideas and implementation of a design. The input from others can bring new perspectives and insight to a rough version of any work. Critiques are collaborative ventures that can help designers formulate or refine their ideas.
Knowing that it is difficult to work in a vacuum, it seems that critiques should be a formal part of learning experience design. Critiques involve calling together a group of people to assess an idea while it is still a sketch, wireframe or prototype. It is not an opportunity to vent or criticize.
If you are unsure of how to start doing critiques in your organization, read the lessons and check the resources in this article.
Lesson 1: Design Critiques: Encourage a Positive Culture to Improve Products by Sarah Gibbons
Gibbons, UX specialist with Neilson Norman Group, provides a good primer on design critiques. She explains what critiques are, their value, how to facilitate them and how to present your design during a critique. Start here to see how critiques benefit designers and their organizations.
Lesson 2: How to Run a Design Critique by Scott Berkun
This comprehensive and lengthy article explains the critique process, how to lead the way, who should participate, the types of questions to ask, and how to keep critiques from getting personal. This lesson will give you what you need to get started with design critiques.
Lesson 3: Four Things Working at Facebook has Taught Me About Design CrItiques by Tanner Christensen
Another article that provides a good foundation in running a design critique. Of particular interest, is the difference between criticism and critique. This point can’t be stressed enough.
Lesson 4: 20 Ways to Make Your Design Critiques More Effective by Neil Turner
Once you get the basics covered, you may wish to improve the the process. This article offers many ways to improve the culture surrounding critiques in the workplace. You’ll find lots of good ideas for making things go smoothly.
Lesson 5: Design Criticism and the Creative Process by Cassie McDaniel
The underlying theme of this article is about adopting the right attitude for the most effective critiques—one of collaboration. With this in mind, McDaniel provides numerous ways to clarify vague feedback in order to improve your design.
Lesson 6: Google Ventures Guide to Design Critiques by Braden Kowitz
The point of this article is to avoid leaving a critique feeling scattered. The author covers guidelines, how to set the stage and how to simulate the flow of the customer experience. In our case, showing the flow of the learner’s experience is an excellent way to examine an assess a design.
Design Critique Resources
- Discussing Design: Improving Communication and Collaboration through Critique by Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry. A practical guide teaching collaborative teams how to give and receive critiques.
- Articulating Design Decisions by
- Art Critiques, A Guide by James Elkins. This book is only partially relevant, as it discusses art critiques as part of studio art classes. Still, you can get a sense of where it all started and there is some valuable information that applies to any type of critique.
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