Perk up with pair critique
A more pleasant and productive way is to present your solution to another person. A fresh brain and a pair of eyes have a wonderfully stimulating effect on problem solving. In order to get feedback that guides your work further, it’s a good idea to prepare and direct the session just like an actual workshop:
- What is the goal of the solution? Who will use it and in what situation?
- How does the solution work in practice and what are its most relevant features in terms of its goal?
- Both parties evaluate how well the solution works in relation to its goals and justifies their views
- Finish up with a discussion about any new ideas or alternative solutions that the presented solution and the review brought up.
Fast solutions with pair design
Pair design is a method that draws from pair programming and looks back from pair critique towards design and ideation. In short, two designers are working simultaneously together on the same subject. One is using the design tool (whiteboard, paper and pen, Figma etc), and the other explains what the solution could be like (or asks explorative or clarifying questions). Roles are switched often, e.g. every 15 minutes or whenever a new idea pops up. There are several variations of this method. Pair design shortens the feedback cycle from hours or days to minutes. The solution born from it is most likely of a better quality than one that is created working solo.
If this tickles your fancy, take a look at the following links:
Other design methods that include critical evaluation of the functionality of solutions are design-studio, design-sprints and, of course, usability testing or approval testing of a functioning system.
In the end, I must state that giving good criticism is difficult. When hosting critique sessions, I’ve often noticed that in spite of preparation and facilitation, it has sometimes been difficult for the participants to justifiably review the functionality of the solution. Luckily, design critique is a skill that one can practice, and the more often you do, the better you become at it. This is definitely a thing that should be included on the agenda of an agile development project.
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