I have been trying my best to draw connections between film/literary critique with design critique. I can see many cases where it is useful, but some cases where it is not.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this is to better apply what I am learning in Interaction Culture to be a great designer practitioner in a successful design team. It is not to imply that there isn’t merit to applying film/literary critique to design critique.

First Reason: Timing.

Traditional film and literary critique takes place after the work has been completed. Much of the crucial critique in the design process should take place before your first product is out. Especially if you aren’t Apple, Google, or some other established large, trusted entity where you have a large customer base, you will need a great deal of design critique on your product or interface in the alpha and beta stages. The kinds of critique you do in the genesis of an artifact is different than the critique that you do after having experienced the artifact. Many of the film critiques don’t speak about how to change or fix something, they just state what works, what doesn’t, and sometimes just interprets how they viewed it.

Second Reason: Purpose.

The purpose of literary and film critique is to possibly sway someone into deciding whether the media is worth spending money on or not. The critic does NOT work with the author of the piece and can be as tactless as blunt as they so choose. In a design critique, you are often on the team with the person you wish to critique. You are obligated to be honest, but it is very possible to lower morale on the team if you levy the kind of critiques that a literary/film critic can. I think practicing critique in the same context at which you wish to improve in critique is therefore necessary to achieve a mastery at it.

Third Point: Team vs Individual.

This applies more to books than movies. With some books there is a heavy amount of collaboration, but other times it is one author who is 100% responsible for every word that is written. In design, it is highly rare to have one person who is responsible for every decision for an interface or product. There can be many team members, company politics, poor contributions outside of team such as bad tech support or cheap use of materials, etc. How this comes into play is when we are using the 4 methods of entry, the author entry level becomes blurred. When we are trying to critique the designer, the critique can be hit or miss since there are many other factors which contribute to the success or failure of the artifact they are pushing out.

I am hoping some others can weigh in on ways they see film/literary critique has strengths and weaknesses in design critique.

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