This week in ux-clinic: Drive by critiques

This week in the ux-clinic discussion group:

One of the bad habits in my company is the drive-by critique: we throw so much criticism at UI that it’s common for people who show a prototype or new design at a meeting to get pounded on by everyone: tons of questions and criticisms, and downright cynicism. It’s not personal – it’s the flavor of the group, but for folks who have to show creative work it’s just not fun. After a few minutes of critique, the discussion usually moves on to other things, leaving the designer on the floor.

How do you change the flavor of how critiques are done? Or is this just part of working on UI in this industry? We have to show our work to groups, but there has to be a better way.

3 Responses to “This week in ux-clinic: Drive by critiques”

  1. Lucia

    I am a firm believer on a protocol for commenting in meetings… you gotta start with a pro and end with a pro – and try to keep it pro con pro con etc…

    As a designer – showing your work and having it critiqued can be a tonge bitting painful experience… maybe everyone needs to be reminded that they are all trying to achieve the same goal which is a solid product and the designer plays an integral part in that.

    When it comes down to it – who is leading the meeting… they should set the standard of how things are run and stick to it.

  2. Kris Olsen

    Is the group to which the designer is showing the product a group of peers or the eventual end-user group?

    If it is a peer group, I’d be more concerned about getting in front of the actual users on a more regular basis (i.e.; a focus group) and working through the UI issues directly with them. Designer/developer cultures can get a pretty competitive (and petty) with ego-driven oneupsmanship resulting in really good ideas getting killed off for sport.

    If, on the other hand, the criticism is coming from the end user community then something is wrong with either the designer’s skills or the organization as a whole. Either way, you’re hosed.

  3. kevin Brady

    My approach to UI developement is to break it to the clients in stages. Things are only painful for designers when hours and hours of work have been committed on a big all or nothing show case UI. try the following :-

    Stage 1 – Use Case the requirements of the system
    Stage 2 – Wireframe model (HTML ONLY) and not creative inputs. Make all the screens blue. Removes focus away from creative look and feel. Use this wireframe to check useability. Test and Test this. Get users to sign-off
    Stage 3 – Introduce creative design and deplay case key screens. Get sign-off and prepare creative assets library.
    Stage 4 – Define voice for the UI if it is content rich site. Get sign-off
    Stage 5 – Bring all these UI components together with back-end functionality and deliver prototype or finished system for test.

    I have delivered many complex systems and websites on this basis. Want an example fo my work


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