Questions to Ask When Reviewing a Design

Jason Fried posted a list of questions he asks when reviewing designs which struck a chord with me as I spend a lot of my time reviewing designs and providing feedback (a process I honestly don’t enjoy a great deal).

I work with a great designer; however, there can be a conflict between his vision for the design and my need to make desired user interactions sufficiently obvious.

Does this call-to-action stand out from the content around it? Is that link clearly clickable? And so on.

In order to deal with this, when reviewing designs I ask a variety of questions, some of which are outlined in the above post:

  • Is that worth scrolling?
  • What’s the obvious next step?
  • How does this change someone’s mind?
  • How can we make this more obvious?
  • Does that make it clearer?

Even so, because of the subjective nature of design, reviewing it can be a challenging process which can easily devolve into the realm of unsubstantiated personal preference (this link is not obvious enough – it is to me).

A comprehensive list like this (from a respected designer) could easily be converted into an objective list of questions to use as the basis to review any web design. To my mind, this can only ease the design review process by identifying upfront on what basis the design will be judged.

What do you think – is it time to come up with a design review template? Has someone already done this?

10 thoughts to “Questions to Ask When Reviewing a Design”

  1. Good points…If I may add, overall, what’s important is, is it compelling enough to get the people’s attention and be able to get the message is it trying to convey.

  2. I haven’t seen anything yet, but I would love to stumble upon a standard design review template. Even just for my own designs, I fear sometimes I forget to ask the simple questions.

  3. Very hard to come up with a design review template as each website category will need its own template. Theories for photography websites will be different to those of ecomerce and so on. I do agree something could be done for standard websites.

  4. This is fantastic, thanks for sharing. I do ask a few of the “big picture” questions on your list (Do we want that? Why is that there?, etc), but most I’ve never though of (Why that order? Is that worth scrolling? Would this be better as a sentence or a picture? etc).

  5. These questions are a great assistance – some designers see the logic but can’t explain the logic, which can be frustrating. These questions can really address most issues.

  6. Good List.
    Also one of the most important things to do in a review is to keep it focused on improvement and not turn it into a kibitzing session. That’s why most of them recommend avoiding “why” questions altogether. It’s nice to have “why” explained, but “what” and “how” are far more important.

  7. I like how each of these questions, or most of them, can be applied as wide or narrow as you want. The entire design and specific elements.
    A few principle questions I’ve asked of late. Maybe more broad but lead to progress, revision, no doubt.
    Is this different (innovative)? Is this honest? Referring to experience, assumptions usually. Is this useful? What can be removed? Is this clear enough? How long will this last? Can we try this later?

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