creative juice

design critiques: tips for success

If you work in the design industry, chances are you’ve had to take some pretty tough critiques on your work. How did you handle it?

According to an article Catchapp, “Critiquing, both giving and receiving, is a skill that can be developed and improved for better results. There are certain strategies, restrictions, and considerations that, when implemented, lead to a better end product…not to mention make the process less painful for the designer.”

Consequently, they’ve listed six tips that will help you use critiques to make your product better, without injuring any of the parties involved.

  1. Data trumps opinions: Whenever possible, reference usability research, user data, site analytics, or scientific design principles. Not only will this eliminate doubt, it will also bring wasteful, opinion-driven debates to a swift end.
  2. Phrase Feedback as a Problem, Not as a Solution: For example, “the surrounding elements make the search bar difficult to find” is far more helpful than, “the search bar should go there instead.” Being specific eliminates ambiguity.
  3. Discuss, don’t command: Don’t think of feedback as an order. Instead, feedback should be the starting point for discussion. This allows the designer to defend or explain their choices.
  4. Probe with follow-up questions: Sometimes feedback requires some probing in order to fully flesh it out. Ask follow-up questions and challenge the critique. “Why do you feel that way?” “What about it would you change?” “How would you feel if we did this instead?”
  5. Set aside expectations: Having tunnel vision of what’s acceptable and closing off your mind to other possibilities is the fuel of design nightmares. Trust between the designer and stakeholder is key.
  6. Respect: It’s all everyone really wants, but when giving and receiving feedback, it’s what everyone needs.

The most important thing to remember when giving or receiving design feedback, is that everyone is on the same team—and the goal is to make the product better.

Read the full article for more in-depth information: Catchapp

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