How To Run Design Reviews

User Experience
Date 22 May 2015
mia

Summary: 

Many design reviews devolve into firing lines where everyone takes pot-shots at the design, or pitch sessions, where a designer gives an elaborate presentation to win over their peers. A formal process for feedback and collaboration creates a productive environment, lets the whole team participate, and ensures repeatable results.

Main Points:

  • The project’s primary designer needs to keep the session moving, so being organized and setting scope are key.
  • Before the review, primary designer sends an invite with info they’ll need to be prepared (when/where, goals, important constraints, timelines, current stage of design, goals of the review)
  • An hour before the session, send a reminder with all the above included.
  • During the design review, display the goals of the project and the goals of the critique on a board.
  • The designer then gives the reviewers a reasonable amount of time (around 25 minutes) to explore the prototype on their own. Reviewers take notes.
  • Good notes include: what you like, as well as what you don’t; avoid subjective absolutes like, “I don’t like this”; try not to speak for the target user; prioritize your feedback, focusing on the largest issues first.
  • Leave at least half of a critique session to review feedback.
  • Each reviewer gives 1 piece of feedback, and then it’s discussed; document contentious topic for later discussion; remember that not all feedback is good—plan to disregard many ideas.
  • Have participants document their feedback in a shared resource for the last 10 minutes of the meeting.
  • After the design review, designers take time to think about each piece of feedback and explore possible solutions. Don’t commit to solutions in the review meeting, before you’ve had time to iterate.
  • Feedback is a gift that shouldn’t be ignored, but not all feedback needs to be addressed—the designer should make the call on what to keep and what to change, but they should listen closely and keep their minds open.

Summarized from: Pullen, Brian; How To Run Design Reviews. InVision Blog, May 20, 2015.

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