No. 26 | Seven lines from Depeche Mode songs you might also hear in a design critique

1. Everything counts in large amounts

Details add up. Even small things become big over time, after enough encounters with users.

2. Words are very unnecessary / They can only do harm

I’m usually advocating for more words in designs, or at least the right ones, but it’s not always the right call. Could you do it without words?

3. Let me hear you make decisions

Be skeptical when the designer can’t articulate the rationale behind a choice. Even a quick and confident “there’s no reason, I just tried this and liked it” is better than hemming and hawing about it.

4. Get the balance right

Look I’m not saying these are all good things to say in a critique. This would be about as maddening as “make it pop.” I find that balance is often a weasel-word. “It doesn’t feel balanced” is a valid thing to say, I suppose, but not particularly helpful. What about it makes it feel unbalanced? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

5. We’re different colours and we’re different creeds / Different people have different needs

You are not your user. 

6. Precious and fragile things need special handling

I like the idea of “stress cases” introduced by Eric Meyer & Sara Wachter-Boettcher in Design for Real Life. Something that seems small to a designer could be incredibly important to someone.

7. Where’s the revolution / Come on people / You’re letting me down

We’ve got to stop inviting marketing to these meetings.

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