Everyone has an opinion on design.
There’s always an immediate gut reaction: “Ooh, I love this!” or “Meh.”
But how do you go beyond that to honing your skills of giving helpful, actionable feedback?
Here are the 7 questions | run through when critiquing a product’s design
1) What is the user journey to get here?
You can’t furnish a room if you don’t know how someone lives.
So learn the context: Who is the user? When do they use this product? Why? How did they arrive here, and what’s on their mind?
Don’t critique unless you know this.
2) What do we want users to feel and achieve here?
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Let’s understand what a successful outcome looks like before we start lobbing feedback about the design.
3) How important is this page/ experience?
In a perfect world, we make everything perfect.
In the real world, let’s spend more collective energy on the stuff that really matters. More eyeballs? More high-stakes? = more thorough
inspection of every detail.
4) What is our scope/timeline/team?
If speed is critical, let’s get the greatest bang for the least effort. If we have more time and people, then let’s remove constraints (#7) and dream bigger. The “best” design differs according to the time/ people/money you have.
5) For every proposed design change, am I confident it is better that what currently exists?
1. cut it
2. iterate on / improve the design
3. get more user feedback
4. A/B test it
Which to pick depends on the answer to #4
6) What can we remove from this experience and have it work just as well?
When faced with a problem, we bias toward adding stuff to solve it rather than removing. So gut check if it’s necessary.
7) If we could throw all our constraints away, would we still design it like this?
While we can’t typically throw all constraints away (see #4), it’s still worthwhile to ask because we accept some things as constraints (due to legacy, etc) when they really aren’t.