Emil Ruder wrote "To design is to plan, to order, to relate, and to control. In short, it opposes all means of disorder and accident."
I am sure we all agree with that but once you have got that nailed, the very next battle for every designer is to present his/her ideas and concepts in an effective manner so the audience can recognize the benefits and are in agreement with the design.
Here are few tips that could lead your next design critique in an orderly fashion.
(These tips are for an in-house web designer in a corporate setting, planning their Visual Design / IA Design review)
- Plan your meeting with all the key constituents, who have direct interest in the product you are developing. Also make sure you have all the different stakeholders so you have buy-ins at the same meeting.
- Send out the meeting request with an agenda plan and name the meeting such as IA Design Review 1.0 - versioning explains the number of rounds each reviews go through
- Do not send mocks prior to the meeting - play the art of in-person communication to sell your design
- Interaction Designs are best viewed on the screen - so reduce the waste and plan for projecting your designs in the most common resolution
- Depending on the size of the project, you should typically plan for one person to lead the presentation and another to take down notes during the meeting (sometimes a Product Manager takes this role as well)
- Organize the files that you are presenting in a PDF format so you can cycle through without much chaos
- Keep the initial screen with the name of the meeting - trust me I have had people sitting in the meeting without knowing what they are going to look at
- For Visual Design: Depending on the scale of the project and the newness of the concept: start the meeting with a moodboard that explains the project in a nutshell and sets the expectation for a look & feel you are exploring for the project
- Set the expectation first. Start the meeting with the story of the project - goals, approaches that were taken and what you expect in the meeting as takeaways.
- Decide the order of the files starting with the most important that will steer the conversations for the rest of the meeting
- Plan your approach to talk about the concept for each screen and reiterate the individual goals based on the priorities of the product
- Use the "Zones method", I use this to prioritize the order of the items that I talk about - also helps to parse the information in an organized manner
- Capture all the team's comments/feedback with respect to the number of the Zone for tracking back
- Send all the presentation materials along with action items right after the meeting and give the meeting attendees one more opportunity to take in the designs in their own comfort and request them to send final feedback within a short time frame to let you plan for your next iteration.
- Rinse and Repeat!