Portal for Design Critique

Type: Web Design
Duration: 4 months (04.2021-07.2021)
Role: solo project Tools

Tools: Figma, Illustrator, Photoshop, Nvivo, MS Teams


A design critique refers to analyzing a design and giving feedback on whether it meets its objectives. A design critique usually manifests as a group conversation with the ultimate goal of improving a design. However, in many design schools, students struggle to engage in design critique and develop their concepts from the feedback given during the critique.

Journey to Solution


Research Plan

Research Objective
Identify major struggles of stakeholders in current design critique experience

Research Questions
1. what caused students to think that design critique is not helpful?
2. which stages of critique do stakeholders struggle the most?
3. what are issues with sharing feedback?

Research Methods
1. Literature Review
2. Stakeholder Interview
3. Thematic Analysis
4. Competitive Analysis

Literature Review

Explored the problem space with 4 themes. Key findings from the literature review helped form the interview guide.

1. Students wish to have more time to share feedback during critique (Aitchison, 2016).

2. Design critique is lacking in teaching cross-functional design industry (Menold et al, 2018; Huang, 2015).

3. 61% of US college students are afraid of public speaking (Grieve et al., 2021).

User Interview

Based on the data gained from literature review, I clarify the target user group, sample the participants and created interview guidelines for each user group. Major target user was students and the secondary target user group was educators. Then these target users were recruited based on the sampling guides. 

Stakeholder and Recruitment


Conducting Interview
The interview was semi-structured. Due to the pandemic, the original plan for the face-to-face interview was changed to online (MS Teams). To have a smooth interview process, interview guidelines were formed for each stakeholder group. Each guideline has three main themes referring to the lit. review: academic setting, professional setting, and transition.


1. Voice of non-designers is needed

Current academic critique environment focuses too much on design expertise which hinders students to encounter non-designers. This makes recent graduates specifically struggle to work with people in non-design fields when they enter real-world. However, there are no space for students to discuss about invited guest critics before or after critique.

2. “Next Step” after reviews is needed

The current structure of final reviews demotivates students as there is no next step or external discussion. This weakens the impact of professional insights in students’ development.

3. Better feedback management is needed

Participants argue that more constructive methods are required to have a better communication in critique environment. Specifically, methods to capture feedback and improve students interaction with professionals are needed.

Competitive Analysis

As there is no direct competitor in the market, I was looking at existing products that share similar purpose, functionality or setting. To come up with insights to improve student experience in design critique, I was focusing on a specific task (sharing ideas/feedbacks in a class setting) in reviewing competitors.

User Persona

Dig into more details on how our users act and feel in the critique space by analyzing users' responses in each stage of critique.

User Journey (Before --> After)