Learning to critique

Learning to critique









Critiquing is an art form. How many times have we given critical and constructive feedback and instantly seen the receiver’s face light up upon acknowledging it! That’s a beautiful site to behold ♥️

Giving constructive feedback not a trivial skill. It’s something that few excel in and most fail. A good critique can make or break designs. When you start critiquing someone’s designs, you are also talking about their skills as designers, maturity and at times, ego. It’s something that we often forget. This is made tougher as we often lack the structure, maturity, empathy and maybe time to deep dive into the thought process behind the designs.


An easy and universally understandable framework is imperative to giving constructive feedback.

Introducing our simple Design critique framework. It’s based on some basic design principles that every team should champion:

  1. Consistency

  2. Usability

  3. Accessibility

  4. Aesthetics

Each of these aspects hold certain weightage when we are providing feedback. This might differ from org to org, but this is what we use at Gojek:

- Consistency and coherence: Every design we create always places consistency with the design system as well as a collective coherence, as the top priority, since it's what makes the designs work effectively and ensures all our designs look and work like a single-family.

- Usability as the champion: The next most crucial principle is usability, as we want all our user's experience of the Gojek app to be an enjoyable, easy and informative one.

- Become an A11y: Having accessible designs is a must for a product like Gojek, with its variety of users, from age group to usage type. Making sure that the experience is equally great for all of them is very important.

- The great to have: The last principle is aesthetics. We rely on the design system to solve a majority of this principle when creating the designs, as the core of the system incorporates various aspects like colour harmony, typography scale, spacing and grid structures, etc.

Using these four principles gives us a clear measurement criteria, hence eliminating a lot of subjective opinions and feedbacks


The next important aspect to consider is context awareness of the feedback. It should always be aligned with the goals that we are trying to solve for. Any discussion that we have must always remain framed by the end goal. Digressing from this often tends to land the feedback in the category of personal preference, which isnt useful at all.

Actionable feedback

The last and probably the most important aspect of a good feedback is the possibility of it being implemented. Giving ambiguous feedback, that has a low probability of seeing any form of real world application, will almost always be ignored. It's not important to provide solutions as feedback, but it's much more important to understand the core of the problem in its depth and THEN arrive at a possible solution, together.

The Achilles heel of feedback









© 2022 Mayank Sagar

One of the classical problems with doing design critiques: when walking on the fine line of subjective Vs rational feedback, we often step onto the subjective side. It’s something that just happens un-intentionally. Although our intentions are seldom wrong, the feedback generally tends to not be very productive. We might end up saying/hearing statements like “Hey I feel that the XYZ colour is not looking nice” or “I don’t like this button placement here” . There is a reason why “Can you make it pop” is probably the most feared statement when people ask the popular Scare a designer in one line threads on Twitter. I’m sure these are pretty common in our world. This mostly infuriates us and never helps anyone. 

We are trying to change that.

Good feedback should satisfy the following 3 hold true for the following questions:

1. Is it objective?

2. Is it contextual?

3. Is it actionable?

We need a structure that utilises these approaches so that everyone involved can use it to give feedback.

What makes a good feedback

A lot has already been written about providing constructive feedback, but these are some aspects that have worked for me as a designer and a manager. I hope that some of these pointers can help you improve the practices at your end as well.

One from the list of many

One from the list of many

Coming soon !

© 2022 Mayank Sagar