How to Deal with Criticism as a Designer
TechsPlace | Criticism is one of the most useful and, at the same time, harmful aspects that there can be in the life of a creative person. A UX/UI designer is someone who always deals with feedback, which is not always positive. How many times did you happen to receive criticism that blocked you completely? How many times have you criticized someone yourself?
In this post, we’ll discuss how to improve your criticism perception skills as well as how to provide feedback to others that are useful, not humiliating.
Why Criticism is Important
Design is the area where many opinions form the truth. In interactive design firms, marketers and business analysts are as important to the team as designers. They analyze the target audience’s needs, clients’ wishes, etc. Designers are always in close collaboration with each other trying to collectively produce the best product possible. The fact that everybody in the world is unique provides both several advantages and disadvantages in our day-to-day interaction. No solution will ever be approved by everyone – so many people, so many minds.
Healthy criticism is important to distinguish from toxic comments. If you are a UX/UI designer, you have your own vision, and that is completely normal. You shouldn’t place the opinions of random people higher than your own; for example, the client or your relative who had a look at your work does not always know better.
However, if you are given feedback from people who you admire or your colleagues (other designers, marketers, analysts, testers), it can sometimes be very useful. They have a perspective on your product that you don’t have. Being the creator, you are always a bit biased and sometimes need somebody else’s opinion. It is up to you whether to implement what is being proposed or not, but what you can do at least is listen to different opinions and evaluate their correctness.
For beginners, it is sometimes hard to adapt to constant criticism. However, the career of a creative person should be seen by the creative person themselves as a path of growing not only skills but personal growth in every aspect.
This is how other people’s feedback can be useful to you:
- Criticism saves you from degradation and stagnation. If you always get only positive reactions toward your work, then this only indicates that your competitors are several steps ahead of you. Of course, listening to praise is more pleasant than criticism, but if you want to reach unprecedented heights, you must listen to critical feedback. Growth is only possible with criticism.
- Criticism helps unleash your full potential. When someone offers praise in your honor, they focus on only one side of your talent because they do not suspect the presence of the other. When someone utters a diatribe against you, they have only one goal – to discover all your talents. You can show your full potential to society if you truly listen to criticism and not let it pass through your ears.
- Criticism gives you food for thought. In other words, thanks to criticism, you can give birth to brilliant ideas that require immediate implementation. Hearing all the time only panegyrics is harmful to your mind since they do not contribute to brainstorming (brainstorming). Criticism is the key to new discoveries and unforgettable adventures.
- Criticism allows you to relate to yourself adequately. From compliments, you may experience high self-esteem. People who blow fluff from you, groom, and cherish you do you a disservice. Criticism brings you back down to earth and teaches you new lessons.
Criticism shouldn’t hurt you or discourage you: on the other hand, it brings you many benefits. Now let us talk about how you can provide feedback to others so that it would be useful and beneficial for them.
How to Receive Criticism
When you receive criticism, you have a few options to choose from:
- Be angry.- Show that you are exactly like the one who is criticizing you: weak, insecure, seeking to show others that you are right.
- Choose to surrender – It is a bad choice. Why should criticism make you surrender? Why should you give satisfaction to those who want to see you fail and become mediocre like them?
- To accept – Being assertive is the solution, the best answer to any criticism. You demonstrate your skills without fear of judgment, look confident and professional.
Criticisms can represent exceptional personal growth tools, yet few of us really accept them. Our insecurity forces us to view criticism as an attack on our self and not as an observation of our behavior.
How to Criticize Other People
As a UX/UI designer, it often happens where you will have to provide your thoughts about other people’s ideas. It is believed to incentivize creativity and unleashes the creative potential of the team. However, why do so many people find such sessions stressful or even terrifying?
The answer is: criticism formed in the wrong manner hurts the recipient. You might still remember that one severe teacher at school who told you that you would never achieve something or the boss that hated the first project you’ve done. We tend to remember negativity very well – this is an evolutionary mechanism that helps us get better. The criticism can make one feel resentment toward those making them.
Of course, you can improve after receiving criticism, but this depends only on you, as we will see in a few paragraphs, but in most cases, the criticism doesn’t offer anything constructive. However, sometimes it can be so harsh that people are more likely to completely change their career than proceed with personal development.
That’s why criticism can often be harmful. But how can you help to improve someone who is wrong?
Providing Feedback the Right Way
A famous psychologist Dale Carnegie used to say that there are some ways to push a person to improve without having to criticize him. These are the two rules to adapt to the creative sphere of interactive design when judging a work by some other UX/UI designer and giving advice:
- Instead of criticizing a job and the person who did it, focus on the positive aspects of it! For example, saying things like “In this aspect X, you have been particularly good and accurate, and if you can apply that same dedication to aspects Y and Z, it will be a splendid job!”
- If possible, avoid criticizing in public. Rather, privately point out mistakes or things that can be improved. This behavior will be much appreciated.
If you want to improve yourself in the way you relate to others, learn to provide feedback that is inspiring and useful, not mean and hurtful.
While this post doesn’t talk about UX/UI techniques or tools, it is still tightly connected to the world of design. Being efficient at communication with both your colleagues and clients directly affect the quality of the products you make. Being able to accept criticism and learn from your mistakes is one of the most powerful tools of interactive design firms.