A practical guide to running effective design critiques

  1. Provide useful feedback to improve the design
  2. Leaves you feeling revitalized and excited to improve the design

3 critique roles

1. Presenter

  • Share your goals for the critique session
    “My goal for the critique session is to get feedback on the overall flow so I can make improvements before user testing on Friday.”
  • Share design goals
    “The primary goal of my new design is to encourage more users to save their payment information so they can easily donate more in the future.”
  • Provide context
    “The user will be coming to this page from either an email or a home page. 80% of users will be seeing this for the first time.”
  • Walk through the designs and explain rationale
    “I placed account creation right below payment information because users will be in the mindset of automatically filling out all the fields.”
  • Take notes while receiving feedback

2. Facilitator

  • Focus people on the critique and design goals
    “Let’s remember now that Alice is looking for feedback on the overall flow before user testing, not detailed visual feedback right now.”
  • Suggest moving not-relevant discussions to the parking lot
    “That’s great feedback on the navigation, but the presenter isn’t looking for feedback on that right now so let’s put that in the parking lot.”
  • Keep an eye on time
    Since we only have 30 minutes left, let’s move onto giving feedback for the next concept.”
  • Promote equal participation
    To someone who hasn’t spoken up: “Alex, do you have any feedback or thoughts?”

3. Critiquers

  • Ask clarifying questions
    “What were you trying to achieve with the placement of this line of copy above the button?”
    “I’m curious how many people pay with Paypal vs. a credit card?”
  • Talk in terms of tradeoffs
    “By adding in extra fields to save your information, it might be harder for users to make one-time donations.”
  • Empathize with the presenter
    “I understand you used that button to be consistent with other pages, but on this page, I’m concerned that it doesn’t feel like the primary call to action.”
  • Be specific about what’s working and not working
    Whats’ working: “Defaulting the checkbox seems like a great solution to get people to save their payment information.”
    What’s not working: “When you place the fields side by side users might miss the second field in a mobile view.”
  • Speak in term of the user’s point of view & project goals
    “If the goal of the project is to encourage more people to save their credit card information, you may want to move that earlier in the flow so more users can save their information.”
  • Provide directional suggestions, but avoid problem solving
    “You may want to explore moving it earlier in the flow, or adding copy to explain the benefits. Let’s sketch out options later today.”
  • If you have any feedback or ideas beyond the scope of feedback requested, write it down and discuss after the critique.

Critique formats

Format 1: Presentation

Format 2: Go in blind

Critique poster

Poster created by Jim Jones



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Suelyn Yu

Suelyn Yu


UX designer trying to slow climate change. Currently based in Berlin. www.suelynyu.com