A guide to design critique

Credit: Icon from Flaticons

There are different ways a problem can be solved and as a designer we often find ourself blocked or are unsure of the design direction we should take. This is where the design critique comes in. Design critiques should be part of every design team. The work of critique or any feedback is to help unblock the person to move them forward so that the individuals can deliver quality results. It is not about a bunch of people’s opinions on the work of the person presenting but rather collectively supporting the person to be able to get to the end result. Critique should be constructive, effective, professional, useful, and respectful.

Different critique methods (Credit Figma)

We will be looking at a standard Critique below.

Roles in critique

Time slots

How to do it

1. What is the context:

  • Goals about the project and how are you going to measure the success?
  • Who is going to use this? Where? How will be they discover it?
  • How far are you in the progress (early ideation, sketching, brainstorming)

2. Soliciting a Critique (what are you looking for):

Don’t

  • Do you like it?
  • What do you think?
  • The design is completed.
  • Which one do you prefer?
  • Tell me anything that I am missing?
  • Do you have anything valuable to add to this?
  • This is where I am (don’t show and tell i.e. don’t show the progress).
  • What I am missing (this is your job, you need to figure out this yourself, the critique is not for that, you can do that in a brainstorming session)

Do’s

  • I am struggling with this pattern
  • I am pursuing this problem, I am trying to figure out the choice between direction A or direction B
  • What I am trying to figure out is…
  • The design problem I’m trying to solve is…
  • What I’m struggling with is…
  • What I’d specifically like to gain from this session is…

3. Clarifying questions

4. Receiving feedback

  • If you need further clarification, just say, “Can you help me understand and add more to what you said”? “Can you expand on the thing you said about…?” “You said you didn’t like this part — can you help me understand why?”
  • If you find that the feedback you are given is not relevant to what you were looking for. You can say, “That sounds interesting however the feedback is out of the scope of what I am looking for here but let’s sync afterward”
  • If you agree with the person just say, “Sounds like good feedback, I will look into this direction and explore further”

5. Concluding the critique

What to do with the feedback you received:

Sample example videos of critiques

Credits and further read / listen:

Product Designer

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