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

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...

Agenda Amplifiers

Recently, I was in a meeting where a designer was showing off an analytics chart featuring their site’s bounce rate. “See how the bounce rate is 96%,” the designer told the audience. “People are coming to the site, getting bored with the content, and leaving immediately. We need to redesign the page to make it more attractive to stay.” In another place at another time, I watched a designer present heat map diagrams of two pages—one was the old page and the other was a proposed redesigned new page. “See how there’s a big red blotch over the ‘Meetings’ link in the new page, but there’s no similar red blotch in the old page, where that link read ‘Meetings and Events’,” this designer explained to her audience. “The eye tracking data clearly shows that users preferred the link when it was just ‘Meetings’.’It was too complicated when it had both meetings and events in it. We need to change to the simpler link.” In both presentations, there’s an agenda. The designers are trying to convince the stakeholders to accept their recommendations. To do that, they are presenting charts and heat maps to support their case. The problem is, if you know how to read the charts and heat maps, they don’t support these designers’ assertions. The bounce rate doesn’t mean the users are necessarily bored. The chart doesn’t say that at all. For all we know, the users could’ve found the page’s content fascinating and exactly what they wanted. If they are satisfied, they are done. Leaving would be the right thing to do. And the heat map-bearing designer...