Critiquing Design

A man in a white leotard holding a large yoga ball on a small stage.

This is me about 25 years ago, dancing with a yoga ball. I was part of a theater company where I first learned Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. We used this extensively—it was an integral part of our company dynamic. We used it to develop company work, we used it in our education programs and we even used it to redesign our company structure. It was a formative part of my development as an artist, a teacher, and later, as a user-centered designer.

What I love about this process is that works by embedding all the things we strive for in a critique into a deceptively simple, step-by-step process. You don’t have to try to remember everything the next time you’re knee-deep in a critique session. It’s knowledge in the world for critique sessions.

So a while back I started thinking about how I could adapt this to critiquing design and I introduced the process to the Firefox UX team. We’ve been practicing and refining it since last summer and we’ve really found it helpful. Recently I’ve been getting requests to share our adapted version with other design teams so I’ve collected my notes and the cheat sheet we use to keep us on track over at critiquing.design. Please feel free to try it out. Let me know if you have questions or ideas to make it better. I’ve also started a GitHub repo for it so you can file an issue or make pull request if you want.

The other great part about this is that it changes critique from something like:

To a time that I look forward to and that leaves me inspired by the smart, creative people I work with.

Originally posted on the Firefox UX blog.