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10 questions to ask when reviewing design work

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What is the user need?Picture from Jen Pahlka, stickers by us at GDS.

The other day Jason Fried wrote a blog post called Questions I ask when reviewing a design. It's a good list.

Reviewing design work is never easy. And giving constructive feedback is difficult. So having a list of questions to ask is a good idea. I thought it would be helpful to try a pick a few that might be useful to colleagues working on digital services in government. So Russell and I sat down and reduced it to ten questions.

Obviously, the first one we would ask is what is the user need, the rest are taken from Jason's list.

10 questions to ask when reviewing design work

1. What is the user need?

2. Is what it says and what it means the same thing?

3. What’s the take away after 3 seconds? (We thought 8 seconds was a bit long.)

4. Who needs to know that?

5. What does someone know now that they didn’t know before?

6. Why is that worth a click?

7. Are we assuming too much?

8. Why that order?

9. What would happen if we got rid of that?

10. How can we make this more obvious?


I'm Ben, Director of Design at GDS. You can follow me on twitter @benterrett

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  1. Comment by john posted on

    3 secnds might be too long. Screens are apparently evaluated in 50 milliseconds

  2. Comment by Kate posted on

    Very useful. Number 1 is a mantra at our council. However we are still coming across staff who believe that one email/phone call from a resident asking for a document from the 1970s (honest!) creates a user need, and therefore this kind of information is still subject to being published on our website. So one person needs the document ergo it is a user need. Any tips on handling this - over and above governance and process - because it's driving us nuts!