UIEtips: Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques – Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

Jared Spool

October 9th, 2013

Doing critiques well and constructively is no easy task. Often designers feel picked on or that the feedback doesn’t give enough direction. According to Adam Connor, a key concept to remember is that “critique is a form of analysis”. It’s a discussion on what is working well and what areas need improvement. To do this right you need goals. You need to ask if what you’re critiquing is reaching the objectives of the goals you and your team created. In today’s article by Adam Connor, Adam discusses how to set the foundation of a meaningful critique by using goals, principles, personas, and scenarios.

In less than two weeks, Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry will lead a full-day workshop at the User Interface 18 Conference in Boston. Their workshop, Building Consensus in Critiques and Designs Studios will show you how to execute a productive design studio. You’ll follow a proven framework that goes from ideation to consensus-building. Learn more about their workshop.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In a recent post, Aaron talked about the importance of intent in the success of critique. Without the right intent on both sides critiques can go nowhere. Or worse, they can hurt the design, the designer and the relationship between the designer and the critics. But now lets say that the intent is right. The critics are looking to help the designer understand the impact of the decisions he or she has made. The designer has every intention of listening, of critiquing right along with the critics, and using what they learn to iterate and improve upon their design. There is still a chance that the critique will go south or yield little of use.

Remember that critique is a form of analysis. It’s a dialog about the hows and whys of the design aspects that are working and those that aren’t. But working towards what? In order to analyze anything, you need to have something to analyze it against. Often, this is where we see critiques fall down. The participants all bring their own perspectives to the critique, and that’s great, but they also may be bringing their own idea of what the design should be and do. Without everybody on the same page, the information you collect in a critique can be scattered, conflicting or irrelevant.

Read the article: Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques – Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

Have you incorporated meaningful critiques into your design process? Tell us about it below.

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