EVERYONE’S A CRITIC these days, but not everyone truly knows how to critique. There’s more to the practice than simply sharing opinions. According to Dave Frances and Don Young, authors of the book Improving Work Groups, “Critical feedback is most effective when it is audible, credible, and actionable.” Critiques, therefore, should follow a structure that encourages efficient, productive discussion, thus spurring collaboration and objectivity and advancing improvements more quickly.
As opposed to casual conversation about a project, a Critique allows the designers to present their current solution and then express concerns or ask specific questions about it. Reviewers are invited to respond in a clear way that addresses the designers’ needs. In the context of a structured Critique—which allows for both positive and negative feedback—people are more likely to share suggestions for improvement, since the design team has formally solicited them. A good Critique can be both eye opening and inspiring.