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What is critique?
Critique is about critical thinking.
There are two facets to critique: giving and receiving.          At their foundation is intent.
Giving critique with thewrong intent is sel sh.
Giving critique with theright intent is sel ess.
Tips for giving critique...
Tips for giving critique...•   Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and    reactions. Revisit them in the right context.
Tips for giving critique...•   Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and    reactions. Revisit them in the right context.•  ...
Tips for giving critique...•   Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and    reactions. Revisit them in the right context.•  ...
Tips for giving critique...•   Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and    reactions. Revisit them in the right context.•  ...
Receiving critique with the right intenttakes humility and meekness.
Tips for receiving critique...
Tips for receiving critique...•   Remember the purpose: improvement, not    judgement.
Tips for receiving critique...•   Remember the purpose: improvement, not    judgement.•   Listen. Do you understand what t...
Tips for receiving critique...•   Remember the purpose: improvement, not    judgement.•   Listen. Do you understand what t...
Tips for receiving critique...•   Remember the purpose: improvement, not    judgement.•   Listen. Do you understand what t...
Tips for receiving critique...•   Remember the purpose: improvement, not    judgement.•   Listen. Do you understand what t...
Critique is a life skill...                    ...not a design skill.
Formal vs. Informal Critique
A few things to keep in mind...
A few things to keep in mind...•   Critique is a skill. You only    get better with practice
A few things to keep in mind...•   Critique is a skill. You only    get better with practice•   Start small (internal only)
A few things to keep in mind...•   Critique is a skill. You only    get better with practice•   Start small (internal only...
A few things to keep in mind...•   Critique is a skill. You only    get better with practice•   Start small (internal only...
The Rules of Critique
The Rules of Critique•   Everyone is a critic.
The Rules of Critique•   Everyone is a critic.•   Everyone is equal.
The Rules of Critique•   Everyone is a critic.•   Everyone is equal.•   The designer decides    what to act upon.
The Rules of Critique•   Everyone is a critic.•   Everyone is equal.•   The designer decides    what to act upon.•   Avoid...
Who shouldyou invite?
When should you have critiques?
All The F***ing Time!
What should you critique?
Every F***ing Thing!
When and what should you be critiquing?In the beginning of a project...What You’re Working On• Setting high level user & b...
When and what should you be critiquing?In the middle of a project...What You’re Working On• Detailed interactions & produc...
When and what should you be critiquing?At the end of a project...What You’re Working On• Finalizing detailed design• Solid...
Preparation and Kickoff
Tools & Techniques
Tools & Techniques•   Active listening /    Question for clarity
Tools & Techniques•   Active listening /    Question for clarity•   Round Robin
Tools & Techniques•   Active listening /    Question for clarity•   Round Robin•   Direct Inquiry
Tools & Techniques•   Active listening /    Question for clarity•   Round Robin•   Direct Inquiry•   Quotas
Tools & Techniques•   Active listening /    Question for clarity•   Round Robin•   Direct Inquiry•   Quotas•   Six Thinkin...
Tools & Techniques•   Active listening /    Question for clarity•   Round Robin•   Direct Inquiry•   Quotas•   Six Thinkin...
Dealing with difficult people...
Help with handling difficult people...
Help with handling difficult people...•   Set expectations at the beginning
Help with handling difficult people...•   Set expectations at the beginning•   Make sure everyone understands critique
Help with handling difficult people...•   Set expectations at the beginning•   Make sure everyone understands critique•   As...
Help with handling difficult people...•   Set expectations at the beginning•   Make sure everyone understands critique•   As...
Help with handling difficult people...•   Set expectations at the beginning•   Make sure everyone understands critique•   As...
Following Up
In Summary
In Summary•   Critique is a life skill, not a design skill
In Summary•   Critique is a life skill, not a design skill•   Critique focuses on what works, what doesn’t    and why. It’...
In Summary•   Critique is a life skill, not a design skill•   Critique focuses on what works, what doesn’t    and why. It’...
In Summary
In Summary•   Learning to critique improves our ability to    communicate with teams, clients and others    and only impro...
In Summary•   Learning to critique improves our ability to    communicate with teams, clients and others    and only impro...
In Summary•   Learning to critique improves our ability to    communicate with teams, clients and others    and only impro...
Additional Resources•   The Art of the Design Critique (Aarron Walter - Think Vitamin)    http://thinkvitamin.com/design/t...
How’d we do???                 Aaron Irizarry (Aaron I for short)                 User Experience Designer                ...
Discussing Design: The Art of Critique - Web 2.0 Expo NY 2011
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Discussing Design: The Art of Critique - Web 2.0 Expo NY 2011

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In this presentation we’ll discuss the importance of critique and a language for discussing design. It can be easy to complain about the way things are and theorize on the way things should be. Progress comes from understanding why something is the way it is and then examining how it meets or does not meet it’s desired goals. This is critique. Critique is not about describing how bad something is, or proposing the ultimate solution. Critique is a dialogue, a conversation that takes place to better understand how we got to where we are, how close we are to getting where we want to go and what we have left to do to get there.

The contents of this presentation will focus on:
understanding critique
best practices for incorporating critiques into a design practice
identifying common challenges to critique and ways to improve our ability to deliver, collect and receive critique

Published in: Design, Technology
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  • Intro\nTell story\n
  • Aaron\nWe talk about critique in the context of giving feedback\nOften it’s equated with giving feedback, but it’s more specific than that. It’s a deliberate, active process\nFeedback is nothing more than how we react to something.\nCritique identifies where/how a design meets or doesn’t meet specific goals.\nIt’s a form of analysis.\nIs delivered in a form in which the person receiving it understands and can act upon it.\n
  • Adam\nActually it’s kind of the reverse of critical thinking\nWhere critical thinking is about problem solving, critique is about trying to understand what problems the designer is trying to solve, and how\nWhy is it important to talk about critique:\nIts something a lot of us talk about doing, but often have challenges with. Particularly with clients.\nHelps establish a common framework for discussing designs and ideas.\nCreates opportunities for more team interaction, building collaboration and trust\nLearning to critique makes us better communicators.\n
  • Aaron\nIntent is the initiator of critique.\nIt defines the purpose of the critique process.\nThe success of critique hinges on intent. Critique only works when the intent is right on both sides.\n\n
  • Aaron\nIt is focused on personal goals at the expense of the team or other individuals.\nSelfish Critique:\n140 characters of one sided, open ended critique every time an app/site is launched or updated.\nProviding unwelcome or un-timely feedback, without context, or consideration (in a team environment or otherwise).\n
  • Adam\nThe right intent is wanting to improve the product\nIt is focused on helping facilitate conversation and critical thinking that leads to improvement.\nThe best critiques are a discussion.\n
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  • Aaron\nRequesting feedback for personal validation. If you need a hug just ask :)\nAsking for feedback with no intent of listening.\nDon’t just hear... Listen.\nDon’t take it personal... even if someone else seems to be going there.\nEven if you know that someone else is wrong, or in the wrong, take their insights into consideration. \n
  • Aaron\nRecognize that there is no such thing as a perfect solution, there is always room for improvement.\nThink before you talk back. Are you being defensive? Protective?\nRemember that you are (supposed to be) in control. It's up to you to decide what feedback to act on and what not to.\n
  • Aaron\nRecognize that there is no such thing as a perfect solution, there is always room for improvement.\nThink before you talk back. Are you being defensive? Protective?\nRemember that you are (supposed to be) in control. It's up to you to decide what feedback to act on and what not to.\n
  • Aaron\nRecognize that there is no such thing as a perfect solution, there is always room for improvement.\nThink before you talk back. Are you being defensive? Protective?\nRemember that you are (supposed to be) in control. It's up to you to decide what feedback to act on and what not to.\n
  • Aaron\nRecognize that there is no such thing as a perfect solution, there is always room for improvement.\nThink before you talk back. Are you being defensive? Protective?\nRemember that you are (supposed to be) in control. It's up to you to decide what feedback to act on and what not to.\n
  • Aaron\nRecognize that there is no such thing as a perfect solution, there is always room for improvement.\nThink before you talk back. Are you being defensive? Protective?\nRemember that you are (supposed to be) in control. It's up to you to decide what feedback to act on and what not to.\n
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  • Aaron\nAn introduction to participants unfamiliar with giving structured feedback.\nA safe(er) place to practice giving and receiving feedback.\nCritique vs. Review meetings\n
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  • Adam\nThe “I like/don’t like” situation.\nAlways make sure to review these (and any other) ground rules with clients to gauge how comfortable they are with them before planning a critique.\nAlso, post the ground rules in the room where the critique will be held.\n\n
  • Adam\nThe “I like/don’t like” situation.\nAlways make sure to review these (and any other) ground rules with clients to gauge how comfortable they are with them before planning a critique.\nAlso, post the ground rules in the room where the critique will be held.\n\n
  • Adam\nThe “I like/don’t like” situation.\nAlways make sure to review these (and any other) ground rules with clients to gauge how comfortable they are with them before planning a critique.\nAlso, post the ground rules in the room where the critique will be held.\n\n
  • Adam\nThe “I like/don’t like” situation.\nAlways make sure to review these (and any other) ground rules with clients to gauge how comfortable they are with them before planning a critique.\nAlso, post the ground rules in the room where the critique will be held.\n\n
  • Aaron \n3 - 6 people\nChoose attendees based on the goal(s) of your session.\nConsider personality, not just roles.\nDon’t use the same people every time.\nPeople to invite:\nExecutives/Business Sponsors/Stakeholders\nSubject Matter Experts\nMarketers\nDevelopers\nBiz Analysts\nOther Designers\n
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  • Aaron\nSend out materials ahead of time.\nClearly describe the goals of the product but not how it’s intended to achieve them. (flesh this out further)\nPresent quickly.\nBe careful when talking about constraints.\n
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  • Aaron\nTake note of how people participated\nDocument any observations and open questions and post/share them.\nFollow up with individuals to for more feedback or to explore an idea.\nCommunicate next steps: what activities will occur prior to the next critique.\n
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  • Transcript of "Discussing Design: The Art of Critique - Web 2.0 Expo NY 2011"

    1. 1. What is critique?
    2. 2. Critique is about critical thinking.
    3. 3. There are two facets to critique: giving and receiving. At their foundation is intent.
    4. 4. Giving critique with thewrong intent is sel sh.
    5. 5. Giving critique with theright intent is sel ess.
    6. 6. Tips for giving critique...
    7. 7. Tips for giving critique...• Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and reactions. Revisit them in the right context.
    8. 8. Tips for giving critique...• Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and reactions. Revisit them in the right context.• Don’t assume. Find out the reason behind thinking, constraints or other variables.
    9. 9. Tips for giving critique...• Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and reactions. Revisit them in the right context.• Don’t assume. Find out the reason behind thinking, constraints or other variables.• Don’t invite yourself. Get in touch and ask to chat about the design.
    10. 10. Tips for giving critique...• Use a lter. Gather initial thoughts and reactions. Revisit them in the right context.• Don’t assume. Find out the reason behind thinking, constraints or other variables.• Don’t invite yourself. Get in touch and ask to chat about the design.• Lead with questions. Show interest in their process.
    11. 11. Receiving critique with the right intenttakes humility and meekness.
    12. 12. Tips for receiving critique...
    13. 13. Tips for receiving critique...• Remember the purpose: improvement, not judgement.
    14. 14. Tips for receiving critique...• Remember the purpose: improvement, not judgement.• Listen. Do you understand what the critics are saying?
    15. 15. Tips for receiving critique...• Remember the purpose: improvement, not judgement.• Listen. Do you understand what the critics are saying?• Think before you talk back.
    16. 16. Tips for receiving critique...• Remember the purpose: improvement, not judgement.• Listen. Do you understand what the critics are saying?• Think before you talk back.• Refer to the goals.
    17. 17. Tips for receiving critique...• Remember the purpose: improvement, not judgement.• Listen. Do you understand what the critics are saying?• Think before you talk back.• Refer to the goals.• Participate just like any other critic.
    18. 18. Critique is a life skill... ...not a design skill.
    19. 19. Formal vs. Informal Critique
    20. 20. A few things to keep in mind...
    21. 21. A few things to keep in mind...• Critique is a skill. You only get better with practice
    22. 22. A few things to keep in mind...• Critique is a skill. You only get better with practice• Start small (internal only)
    23. 23. A few things to keep in mind...• Critique is a skill. You only get better with practice• Start small (internal only)• Think before you speak
    24. 24. A few things to keep in mind...• Critique is a skill. You only get better with practice• Start small (internal only)• Think before you speak• Choose who you critique with carefully
    25. 25. The Rules of Critique
    26. 26. The Rules of Critique• Everyone is a critic.
    27. 27. The Rules of Critique• Everyone is a critic.• Everyone is equal.
    28. 28. The Rules of Critique• Everyone is a critic.• Everyone is equal.• The designer decides what to act upon.
    29. 29. The Rules of Critique• Everyone is a critic.• Everyone is equal.• The designer decides what to act upon.• Avoid problem solving and design decisions.
    30. 30. Who shouldyou invite?
    31. 31. When should you have critiques?
    32. 32. All The F***ing Time!
    33. 33. What should you critique?
    34. 34. Every F***ing Thing!
    35. 35. When and what should you be critiquing?In the beginning of a project...What You’re Working On• Setting high level user & business goals• User research, competitive analysis• Initial concepts & visionExample Goals• Get feedback about a set of different concepts / approaches• Explore the designs of competing productsWhat You Might Look At• Competing products• Conceptual models/sketches/ ows
    36. 36. When and what should you be critiquing?In the middle of a project...What You’re Working On• Detailed interactions & product behaviors• Identifying variations in ows• Solving for constraintsExample Goals• Compare the design of system components• Identify potential usability issues• Get cross-functional team feedbackWhat You Might Look At• Screen- ow diagrams• Wireframes / Prototypes
    37. 37. When and what should you be critiquing?At the end of a project...What You’re Working On• Finalizing detailed design• Solidify answers or solutions to issues• Solving for constraintsExample Goals• Analyze design details and the product’s full impact• Discuss usability issues• Get cross-functional team feedbackWhat You Might Look At• High Fidelity Prototypes• Beta/Pilot Systems
    38. 38. Preparation and Kickoff
    39. 39. Tools & Techniques
    40. 40. Tools & Techniques• Active listening / Question for clarity
    41. 41. Tools & Techniques• Active listening / Question for clarity• Round Robin
    42. 42. Tools & Techniques• Active listening / Question for clarity• Round Robin• Direct Inquiry
    43. 43. Tools & Techniques• Active listening / Question for clarity• Round Robin• Direct Inquiry• Quotas
    44. 44. Tools & Techniques• Active listening / Question for clarity• Round Robin• Direct Inquiry• Quotas• Six Thinking Hats
    45. 45. Tools & Techniques• Active listening / Question for clarity• Round Robin• Direct Inquiry• Quotas• Six Thinking Hats• Moderators
    46. 46. Dealing with difficult people...
    47. 47. Help with handling difficult people...
    48. 48. Help with handling difficult people...• Set expectations at the beginning
    49. 49. Help with handling difficult people...• Set expectations at the beginning• Make sure everyone understands critique
    50. 50. Help with handling difficult people...• Set expectations at the beginning• Make sure everyone understands critique• Ask quiet people for feedback directly
    51. 51. Help with handling difficult people...• Set expectations at the beginning• Make sure everyone understands critique• Ask quiet people for feedback directly• Use personas and goals to keep focused
    52. 52. Help with handling difficult people...• Set expectations at the beginning• Make sure everyone understands critique• Ask quiet people for feedback directly• Use personas and goals to keep focused• Laddering / The 5 Whys
    53. 53. Following Up
    54. 54. In Summary
    55. 55. In Summary• Critique is a life skill, not a design skill
    56. 56. In Summary• Critique is a life skill, not a design skill• Critique focuses on what works, what doesn’t and why. It’s analysis.
    57. 57. In Summary• Critique is a life skill, not a design skill• Critique focuses on what works, what doesn’t and why. It’s analysis.• Intent is critical to the success of a critique, both in giving and receiving.
    58. 58. In Summary
    59. 59. In Summary• Learning to critique improves our ability to communicate with teams, clients and others and only improves with practice.
    60. 60. In Summary• Learning to critique improves our ability to communicate with teams, clients and others and only improves with practice.• Critique can be done both internally and with clients. Use 3-6 people for about 1 hour.
    61. 61. In Summary• Learning to critique improves our ability to communicate with teams, clients and others and only improves with practice.• Critique can be done both internally and with clients. Use 3-6 people for about 1 hour.• Be sure to clearly communicate the goals of a critique session as well as ground rules to all participants.
    62. 62. Additional Resources• The Art of the Design Critique (Aarron Walter - Think Vitamin) http://thinkvitamin.com/design/the-art-of-the-design-critique/• Dealing with Design Critiques (Jacob Gube - Design Instruct) http://designinstruct.com/articles/project-management/dealing-with-design-critiques/• Design Criticism and the Creative Process (Cassie McDaniel - A List Apart) http://www.alistapart.com/articles/design-criticism-creative-process/• Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Giving Design Critiques I Learned from Tim Gunn (Dan Saffer - Kicker Studio) http://www.kickerstudio.com/blog/2010/11/everything-ive-ever-learned-about-giving- design-critiques-i-learned-from-tim-gunn/• What Goes into a Well-Done Critique (Jared Spool - UIE) http://www.uie.com/articles/critique/
    63. 63. How’d we do??? Aaron Irizarry (Aaron I for short) User Experience Designer http://thisisaaronslife.com aaron@thisisaaronslife.com @aaroni268 Adam Connor (no catchy nickname) Experience Design Director http://adamconnor.com adam@adamconnor.com @adamconnor
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