How to write a GOOD critique

  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

After reading a lot of these critique threads over the years, its become painfully obvious that many of the participating users either have no idea how to, or the desire to, provide a worth while critique of websites. If you fall into the latter camp, I’d suggest you don’t even bother since your review will simply be a waste of everyone’s time. However, if you really desire to create a USEFUL critique, here are a few pointers.

1. Critique is a scientific/cognitive pursuit and as such it IS NOT SUBJECTIVE. A website review should never include the words: LIKE, HATE, PRETTY, or UGLY. These words imply personal opinion and to be blunt nobody cares about your personal opinion. You may not personally enjoy the aesthetic but a website isn’t intended to be hung on your wall.

2. BE OBJECTIVE. Its the job of a critic to point out problems with a given item; to ask the hard questions if you will. In other words tell someone about the problem you see and support the issue to create a valid argument for change.

3. When writing a review BE HONEST in fact be brutally honest. When someone asks for a review they are soliciting your response. There is nothing to be learned by glossing over glaring issues however, I would recommend stating your honest with as much tact as possible. Remember your not attacking the creator or the project but pointing out potential problems. The reality is that many people could have been spared much embarrassment and bad press if reviewers had simply been honest.

4. Offer USEFUL SOLUTIONS. In addition to pointing out issues it is frequently valuable to offer a few solutions. Is the copy dry or the legibility bad? Then point out was to solve those problems. Remember that you need to point out a problem BEFORE offering a solution. Saying “Add more images,” doesn’t provide any direction or any reason why the site is failing without them.

5. A valuable critique requires the reviewer to CHANGE THEIR MINDSET. Its your job as a reviewer to understand the unique business goals, audience and technology of any site you critique. You won’t be able to provide any worthwhile feedback if you approach a site as the wrong audience.

6. BE KNOWLEDGEABLE. As a critic you NEED TO KNOW design theory, psychology, usability, coding, writing and marketing. If you’re not an EXPERT in at least one of those categories, its likely that your review will provide little value to the author. Much has been written about all kinds of web theory and its extremely easy to find so do a little research before writing a review. Who knows you might even learn something that will be beneficial to you in the future.

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