Better design critique: learning from Facebook

Without proper design critique, you run the risk of building great looking products that no one is going to use. Whilst asking for feedback is easy, ensuring it is the right feedback is a challenge.

Peek Inside a Facebook Design Critique: is an article by Tanner Christensen (product designer at Facebook). The big takeaway I have from it and how they give design critique is the emphasis on problem solving. This brings context to all design decisions and guides objectivity when providing feedback.

Context up-front makes a world of a difference when it comes to presenting your work for critique.

— Tanner Christensen

As someone with a restorative theme (according to the Gallup StrengthsFinder) I enjoy problem solving. A big part of this is needing to know “why” whenever I’m faced with tasks at work. Without knowing the why behind design decisions, I find that critique becomes unobjective.

That is not to say personal opinions aren’t valuable, as experience brings insight. But if problem solving is at the forefront of all design decisions, critique can be even better.

Always go back to your original problem statement so you can verify that everything you’re going to release is actually meeting and solving that problem.

— Paola Mariselli

The highlights from Tanner’s article when looking for design critique are:

  1. Summarize the problem you are solving.
  2. Specify the part of the design you are looking for feedback on.
  3. Ensure everyone understands the problem. Allow people to ask clarifying questions, etc.
  4. Critiques work best in person.

Further reading

Other useful resources on design critique: