Categories: Firefox General

Critiquing Design

A man in a white leotard holding a large yoga ball on a small stage.This is me about 25 years ago, dancing with a yoga ball. I was part of a theater company where I first learned Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. We used this extensively—it was an integral part of our company dynamic. We used it to develop company work, we used it in our education programs and we even used it to redesign our company structure. It was a formative part of my development as an artist, a teacher, and later, as a user-centered designer.

What I love about this process is that works by embedding all the things we strive for in a critique into a deceptively simple, step-by-step process. You don’t have to try to remember everything the next time you’re knee-deep in a critique session. It’s knowledge in the world for critique sessions.

So a while back I started thinking about how I could adapt this to critiquing design and I introduced the process to the Firefox UX team. We’ve been practicing and refining it since last summer and we’ve really found it helpful. Recently I’ve been getting requests to share our adapted version with other design teams so I’ve collected my notes and the cheat sheet we use to keep us on track over at Please feel free to try it out. Let me know if you have questions or ideas to make it better. I’ve also started a GitHub repo for it so you can file an issue or make pull request if you want.

The other great part about this is that it changes critique from something like:

Tweet by Madhava Enros: The four steps of design critique. It references a photo of a sign that reads,"See them swarm. Hear them buzz. Feel the cringe. Conquer the dread." To a time that I look forward to and that leaves me inspired by the smart, creative people I work with.

2 comments on “Critiquing Design”

  1. Cheryl Colan wrote on

    All the ❤️s, Verdi. Back when you broke this down for the videoblogging group, I immediately adopted it with my graphic & web design students and it made critique SO much better and more fun. I saw students go from dreading to anticipation of critique days during the course of one semester. I love that you are still sharing our this process.

    1. Michael Verdi wrote on

      Cheryl! Thank you for this. (Also, we’re commenting on a blog like it’s 2006!)