PRoject Details

With no guidelines in place on how to critique UX Design at Morningstar. Critiques would often rabbit hole into long debates often times leaving teams with no clear next steps.





Identifying the Problems








Sitting in on critiques I noticed the conversations taking place where very solution oriented without consideration for user research or process for how the problem was being solved. There was plenty of opportunity to improve how designers were facilitating, presenting and attending UX design critiques.  



  • Next steps always meant a solution not less tangible steps like meetings/conversations or user research
  • Design by committee with no user feedback or needs in sight

  • Research was not viewed as part of the design process

  • There where no explicit guidelines on how to critique or how to facilitate a UX critique at Morningstar

  • Designers didn’t speak about the process they where using in order to get to their solutions often times not giving good context

  • Critiques would spiral out of control into solutions based on no user research






The main users of Office Cloud where Independent Advisors. Normally they would have to use several different products to do the day to day task they would perform to manage their clients portfolios. Office Cloud brought all that functionality into one application. 


Explored Ideas



Company Shared Guidelines
Create easy to follow guidelines that work for projects at different stages of design. As well as guidelines for designers presenting work and designers critiquing work. 





Set Time Once a Week
Set time aside once a week to critique UX design work.





Meeting Facilitation
Ensure the right conversations are taking place and designers are leaving with clear next steps.




Curated Projects to Critique  
In the beginning curate the work being critiqued to make sure good conversations are being had on projects that are at different stages of design to help educate other designers on process.



Solutions and Impact


  • UX designers started asking more questions around process and how to understand the problem rather than debating solutions.

  • UX designers who were shy to be apart of the conversations during the critique were starting to reach out privately about questions they had pertaining to design process and how to apply to their own projects allowing me to mentor designers

  • UX designers became interested in learning how the work was being presented and using some of the presentations as templates to present their own work.

  • Designers where starting to use the critique guidelines on their individual teams meetings if they couldn’t wait for the weekly critique meeting.

  • Feedback was no longer solution oriented but geared at giving designers better next steps on additional research that was needed or how to do it. Or even pointing designers to other stakeholders they needed to talk to.


Next Steps

Some teams have started to adopt the critique guidelines on their own smaller product squad groups. Keep empowering other designers to become critique facilitators.