The W.H.Y. Method for Better Design Critiques

A framework for critiques that unifies the team and serves the ultimate goal: stronger design

Ava DeVoe
Modus
Published in
7 min readDec 3, 2019

--

Illustration: Julian Burford

I’I’m a naturally quiet person. This is neither a good nor a bad thing. My teammates have described me as a calm and concise communicator, an open and empathetic listener, and strategic in my approach to design. I attribute these valuable characteristics in large part to the fact that I often process information internally before verbalizing it. I’m thoughtful and consider alternative perspectives during critiques before defending my decisions.

On the other side, I’ve been in meetings where I may still be considering an earlier comment while more vocal team members have moved on to another point. In an effort to mitigate this kind of disconnect, I’m always thinking of ways to strengthen team communication in order to accommodate a variety of personality types. Design critique is primarily about how we assess and talk about design, so ensuring that stakeholders learn this skill is vital to our success as a team and a company. In order for any designer to be effective at their job, they must build a shared framework with stakeholders to evaluate their work.

What makes a critique effective?

--

--

Ava DeVoe
Modus
Writer for

I am a design leader with a proven track record for mentoring design teams that ship great experiences.