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Design Critique

A group conversation where you give feedback on whether a design meets its objectives.
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Design Critique
,  Wednesday, August 17 (note)
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Presenter: 

Project: 

Video Call Link: 

Design Prototype Link: 


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Goal or Problem

Give brief a summary of the project goal or problem you are trying to solve with this design including relevant info on the audience and expected results.



Presentation

Present the design. Optionally, if you have more than one version, you may want to show all versions and explain your analysis of them.



Questions

The group will then discuss the design. Rather than making observations or judgments, try to mostly ask questions, such as:

  • “Did you consider using a visual to explain what’s going on instead of a paragraph of text?” 
  • “How come you decided to go with a segmented control instead of a preview of each section?” 
  • “Why does this pane slide in from the side instead of from the bottom?” 
  • “Have you seen App X? It does something similar and feels better/worse.”



Notes & Unanswered Questions

Note insights about the design here. Remember, you do not need to decide what to do with this information at this meeting. The main purpose is to get new thinking out into the open.




Action Items

  • @name Task by DUE-DATE

How to use this template

Despite its name, the goal of having a design critique is not to judge or criticize a designer’s work. So first, a note on mindset. Recognize that the set of choices in any design problem is enormous. When we can help anticipate the pros and cons of these choices, we make well-considered, better decisions. So in a critique, our role is to help a designer consider additional ways of addressing a problem and then to help them make intentional decisions in weighing various options.

This sample meeting agenda follows a simple pattern. First, the designer will explain what they are trying to solve or accomplish and present their work. If questions or comments come up during this part of the meeting, make a note of them and save them. 

After the presentation, it is time for questions and comments about the design. Try to frame each comment in a way that is going to be helpful. For example, simply saying, “I don’t like the way this looks,” is not helpful at all. You might try something more like, “Visually, I find my eyes struggle with what to look at first. Should the image, title, and logo all be getting relatively equal visual weight?”

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Someone should note important questions and insights, but also know that you don’t have to answer every question right there. The design critique helps to get ideas out into the open, but it can take careful work afterward to fully see them through. Don’t feel like you need to debate each idea. Rather, discuss people’s comments enough that their reasoning is clear, and move on.

At the end of the meeting agenda is an area to note any action items. This usually includes a commitment from the designer to revise the design based on feedback, but you may also want to note other specifics, like new questions that need to be answered.

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