Criticism is easy. It seems like everybody has an opinion, but, as the author Harlan Ellison points out, “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion.” To become informed, though, requires exploration. Design critiques are an important part of any product exploration.
A design critique — where the creator discusses and explains the creation with the rest of the team and/or client — is not about badgering the designer or pushing them to justify every decision they made. That’s just criticism. A good design critique is meant to explore the design, find where it is working and where it could be improved. If done well, design critiques allow everyone on the team to feel as if they have been heard and allow clients to give valuable feedback.
If you are the person running the critique, getting to constructive criticism is often a challenge, especially with groups that do not have experience with the design critique format. In an agile environment, you will often have coders, project managers, product managers and people from other disciplines sitting in to give feedback, and you need to know how to quickly get them up to speed on the expectations if you want to get anywhere fast.
NEXT: Principles For Running A Great Design Critique