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Glossary » user interface critique

user interface critique

or u.i. critique; an expert evaluation of a user interface in the tradition of literary criticism. At least in a casual sense, this is the evaluation technique most often used in software reviews: an expert reviews the software from any of a variety of perspective and using a variety of methods, usually somewhat related to usability inspections, but without the rigor of formal methods. Reviewers usually allows their biases and opinions to play a role in guiding the evaluation, though responsible evaluators will usually make their biases explicit when appropriate.

As in literary or film critiques, a user interface critique may come from any number of theoretical perspectives, including historical, psychological, sociological, ethical, philosophical, economic, and artistic concerns. Deeper criticisms are often meant to be part of a long-term dialogue with society about the various impacts of our design decisions. Practical critiques are often intended simply for quickly improving our design of software and improving our purchasing decisions, based on the practical expertise of the critic, and in a more cost-effective fashion than most formal evaluation methods.