Feb-10 HW1 Critique


When designing, it's almost inevitable that at some point you will end up in a creative "rut" where you start to repeat the same design patterns and begin to lose track of the potential downsides of choices you make. Much like you should always have someone else proofread an essay because you tend to overlook your own typoes, in design you should engage in critique in order to understand your own design blindspots and overcome them. Critique is not "criticism" per se, in the sense that it is intended purely to criticize something. I like to think of critique as "criticism + action". When you engage in design critique you do identify successes and flaws in a designs, but you also need to offer productive ideas or suggestions in light of the things you find. Critique should be productive. When done right, it should give the person who was critiqued some ready ideas to apply in this design or in future ones.

As you critique, please follow these ground rules:

Please follow this procedure:

  1. Visit the critique list to find your group and links to all projects.
  2. Each group member will have ~6 minutes of critique.
  3. First, allow the designer to introduce their design for about 1 minute. Talk about your design concept and identify a few decisions you made when making it.
  4. As a group, critique the visualization. As this is a static visualization, think about how the page encourages viewers to "interact" through eye movement or scrolling.
  5. 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.
  6. (If you have extra time, critique another project from the list as a group.)

Critique Guide
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: