Please follow this procedure:
- Visit the critique list to find your group and links to all projects.
- Each group member will have ~6 minutes of critique. We will call out when you should switch to your next project.
- First, allow the designer to introduce their design for about 2 minutes. Spend one minute showing your original visualization and giving your own critique of it. Then, move to your updated visualization and talk through how you built upon the previous design..
- As a group, critique the visualization. As this is an update of an existing data visualization, discuss how well the visualization builds upon the existing one. Does it adequately address issues in the original? How is it more effective than the previous iteration? Do interactions and extra features help to deepen the experience?
- If you finish earlier than when we call out to swap to the next project, dig deeper. If you've covered everything you can think of to critique, start sketching some improved or alternative versions of the project to offer up to the original designer.
- For the next 40 or so minutes, work together to critique. Before concluding the activity, pick out one of the projects you critiqued to highlight to the class as a whole. When we all reconvene, we'll look at the projects each group has picked.
As you critique, follow these ground rules:
- Remain productive. If you identify a success or flaw in a design, make sure that you have something to say about an alternative direction or how you might use a successful component in the future.
- Consider the entire example holistically. Think not only about the specific visualization, but about the design as a whole. Don't be afraid to comment on typography, spatial organization, interaction signalling, etc.
- Show humility. Everyone designs from a different background. In a class like 4310, everyone also has a different skill set. Be humane in your critique, and don't bash something just because it's an easy flaw to spot. Call out others if they engage in this.
- Make compliment sandwiches. If you have a strong criticism of a design, start and end with something positive. No matter how flawed, a visualization always has positive aspects.
- Take notes. Critique is a great way to get ideas and suggestions to integrate in your future work. You'll forget them afterwards, so take notes now.
Design critique can take any number of forms. Some outline pros and cons, or identify particular visual elements and break them down. Others start with the data and discuss the construction of the visualization from the ground up. In your group, feel free to set up whatever norms you prefer for design criticism.
Here are some questions to help guide your critique:
- What kind of data is the visualization presenting?
- What is the purpose of this visualization?
How has the designer tailored this visualization to meet particular user information needs or goals?
- Does this visualization require training/study to work, or is it immediately effective?
- How are the data encoded into visual form? Does the author use specific visual channels (in)effectively to represent certain dimensions?
- What design trade-offs are present in the visualization? Are they emphasizing some part of the data at the expense of something else?
- How is interaction employed in this visualization? Are there any trade-offs that come from introducing interactions? Are the interactions helpful?
- Do you feel that this visualization is successful? What elements help make it effective, and what hurt its effectiveness?
- What’s missing from the visualization that would improve it? Is any element of the visualization misleading or at risk of misinterpretation?
- How would you do things differently if you were to re-design it?