As a team, we hold regular design reviews to improve our work and the quality of our projects. A formal design review with our complete staff is held every other week, where selected presenters showcase their projects and are able to solicit feedback from other designers who are not members of their immediate project team.
The reviews are a great educational opportunity, a chance to make your work better. They also provide rare opportunities to see what everyone else on the team is working on, as well as providing a forum for us to discuss larger initiatives such as visual consistency, our design process and accessibility.
Although we can’t share publicly all the work that we review, I’m planning to provide a weekly update of our design reviews, highlighting some projects, as well as some principles that are discussed in them.
This week’s recap
Receiving Feedback: This week’s design review included a short discussion about how to take feedback. Anyone who puts themselves up regularly for critique knows that it is not easy to have people tell you what is wrong with your work. If we get defensive about our work and have a rebuttal or opinion for every single comment, we may effectively be telling them that we don’t want their feedback. There is a time to defend your design, but not in the forum where you are asking people for their opinion.
Roadmap: Todd Eriksen presented a small project that he’s developed to help facilitate some of the work related to project management. The projects that we work on are often complicated, including hundreds of prototype pages, thousands business rules, and detailed processes that are all surfaced in a visual user interface. Our role as interaction designers often requires us not only to design the screen, but to organize, keep track of and communicate the work we’ve done to other teams. This part of the effort can take as much (if not more) work than the design itself. Todd showed us some things that he’s created to help make that part of the work less laborious.
NorthTemple: Jason Lynes led a discussion around NorthTemple.com, and the direction we hope to take the site as a team. The design review provided an opportunity to get input from the other contributors on how we can make northtemple.com a better resource. We’ve received both good and bad feedback from the design community. Some things that were discussed included respecting copyright laws, the need to stay positive, to stay on topic (design related), avoid “inside jokes”, explain ourselves better, and to contribute original thoughts and ideas rather than just re-linking from other blogs.