Everyone's A Design Critic : SXSW 2008

Everyone's A Design Critic : SXSW 2008

TOP 5 CLIENT REQUESTS
  1. My Unqualified Friends have different Ideas... - Judge the idea on its merits, reasonably explain why it may not work, due to your research, experience, etc.
  2. Purple is my favorite color, Why don't we use that? - Backup with documentation, color board, creative specs, etc
  3. We need more stuff about the FOLD!! - A significant amount of research is available to show that users understand they can scroll for more content
  4. There's so much EMPTY SPACE, can't you fill it? - White space contributes to the general hierarchy of the content. NO.
  5. MAKE MY LOGO BIGGER --and NO. the content on the page is not the logo.
Establishing the Purpose: Aesthetics and Function. The two cannot be removed from one another in web design. They exist as your highest priority and business principle. Before the Critique Your research and information architecture is complete, the CONTENT IS READY, specs are outlined. Review your information! Fact check your work, prepare your presentation.
  • Form a description: take notes! have them ready!
  • Specify Roles: your team knows what is needed, who is taking notes, who is coordinating, etc.
  • Make this an Exclusive Engagement: minimum number of team members necessary. The more people involved, the more opinions to hear... the more HOURS a meeting will last.
During the Critique
  • Recap past, present and future
  • Manage Expectations: determine exactly what is right or wrong about the overall design, specific elements, colors, etc.
  • Design: Strategy: how all pieces of the design work together
  • Establish the Goal: Move Forward with Revisions!
  • FOCUS: PROBLEMS, NOT SOLUTIONS: remind the client you are a designer & a problem solver. Keep things problem focused to allow you to do your job
  • Holistic Designs: Fight the Franken-Comp! Melding together pieces of different templates does not make one perfect whole
  • Set a time limit: Focus priorities and streamline meeting
  • The Walkthrough: introduce your designs as you would introduce new friends to eachother... the basic background, not all the minor details. They will come up later, don't worry!
  • The Discussion: protocol: "What works?" "What Doesn't?" Keep moving!
  • No Child Left Behind: finally a situation where this policy actually works.... Find something to say about ALL the designs. A client may start out with a favorite but as the discussions continues, they may change their minds. There are lessons to be learned from all the opinions on each design
  • Stay Problem Focused! Restrain yourself from offering solutions on the spot... dangerous to commit to changes.
  • Its NOT Personal! Keep it professional.
  • Combat Situation: Forceful Arguments = Effective? or Offensive?
  • Stay Positive and Upbeat
  • Avoid Jargon with Clients
  • Find Common Ground
After the Critique
  • evaluate: compile notes, team observations, plan changes
  • document: plan for revisions
  • follow up: discuss with client before changing one pixel