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Discussing Design by Aaron Irizarry, Adam Connor

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Chapter 2. What Critique Looks Like

The Two Sides of Critique and the Importance of Intent

There are two sides, or roles, in any critique:

Recipient

The individual(s) receiving the critique (that is, the designer or presenter of whatever is being analyzed) who will take the perspectives and information raised during the critique, process it, and act upon it in some way.

Giver

The individual(s) giving the critique—the critics—who are being asked to think critically about the design and provide their thoughts and perspectives.

Within both of these roles there is the discrete aspect of intention: why are we asking for/receiving/giving feedback? Intent initiates conversation and is often what separates successful critiques and feedback discussions from problematic ones.

For the best discussions, the intent of each participant—regardless of whether they are receiving or giving critique—needs to be appropriate. If we aren’t careful, critique with the wrong or inappropriate intent on either side can lead to problems not only in our designs, but also in our ability to work with our teammates.

Receiving critique with the appropriate intent is about wanting to understand whether the elements of the design will work toward the established objectives for the product.

Giving critique with the appropriate intent is about wanting to help the designer understand the effect that elements of the design will have on the product’s ability to achieve its objectives.

Both acts are done with the intention of using ...

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