What is a Design Critique?
- GV Guide to Design CritiqueDesign critiques are an important part of creating great designs. However, critiques often go wrong when people give unhelpful or vague feedback. Braden provides guidelines for running effective critiques, including setting clear goals, giving specific and constructive feedback tied to business and customer goals, focusing on problems before solutions, and simulating the customer experience when reviewing designs. When followed, these guidelines can help build a culture where design feedback is candid, creative, and focused on improving the product for customers. Effective critiques require effort but result in better designs that benefit from diverse perspectives across a team.
Benefits of Design Critiques
- Using Inclusive Design Critiques to Build Better Products and Stronger Company CultureDesign critiques are an important part of the Design Process where designers share their work with peers to get diverse feedback and improve their solutions. Inviting experts from different disciplines to critiques brings different perspectives that help catalyze progress. Even just observing critiques feeds inspiration and helps align work. Critiques build an inclusive Company Culture by making products more human-centered through collaboration. The value lies in impacting the Design Process and avoiding taking solutions for granted.
How to Run a Design Critique
- Four Things Working at Facebook Has Taught Me About Design CritiqueTanner shares four things he has learned about effective design critique from working at Facebook. 1. First, establish clear roles for presenters, audience and facilitators. 2. Second, ensure everyone understands the problem being solved. 3. Third, focus feedback on questions rather than criticism. 4. Finally, laptops and phones should be closed during critique to foster listening and questioning. Effective critique helps teams make better design decisions through open discussion.
- Running productive design critiquesTo run productive critiques, first define your goal and the type of feedback you need. Explain the problem you are trying to solve to ensure everyone is on the same page. Present your proposed solutions and be honest about their strengths and weaknesses. Have an open discussion where people can build on your ideas and argue for alternative options. After the critique, write up next steps and share them to keep others informed and allow further feedback.
- Tactical Design CritiqueTactical Design Critique is a meeting format used by Medium's design team to quickly identify issues and opportunities for improving their designs. The team gathers around a design and each person takes a turn sharing one tension or problem they have with the design. They focus only on what could be improved, not what is good. After the meeting, they discuss next steps to address the tensions raised and the process helps build teamwork and a shared understanding of their design landscape. The highlight menu, a contextual menu tied to text selections, was reviewed in one TDC meeting. The team identified many tensions like the icons needing updates, inconsistencies in spacing and Alignment, and options that could be combined or removed.
Design Critique Examples
- Peek Inside a Facebook Design CritiqueTanner describes a design critique session held by Facebook designers for a student's workspace discovery app concept. The critique focused more on the problem the design aimed to solve rather than the visual design as the student had hoped. The discussion highlighted the importance of understanding the core user needs and problem before moving to solutions. The critique helped the student realize he needed to go back to his original problem statement and research to refine his design hierarchy and information priorities. The Facebook designers noted that Asking Questions, rather than giving prescriptive feedback, drove the most constructive critique.