Create alone, design collaboratively

When I was in school, I listened to a TED talk from Susan Cain that I really like. She said, "solitude is a crucial ingredient often to creativity." The ideas spark when we were in a shower, walking, or sitting at our desk, alone. Creativity emerges and as designers, we can't stop the creativity. We draw, we sketch, we design. But what happen next? 

If drawing, sketching and wireframing is the end of the design process, we'll never get to show our idea to other people. We'll never see the flaws in our design. Though we create design alone, collaboration is necessary to test the idea, to strengthen the product, to add on more to the original idea. 

Design critics are a crucial step in the design process. I like to sit quietly and create sketches and wireframe alone. After the wireframe is done, I like to show the whole team my work, my thought process, and seek for design critics. 

The Design Critics Process usually looks like this

  1. Design owner present the design, walk through the screens, mention any concerns, or specify what feedback he/she is seeking, weather it's visual or behavior.
  2. 5-10 minutes for all member to think silently and write down 5 good things and 5 possible improvement 
  3. Each member talk about the feedback and stop at any point for further discussion

As a design owner, it's important to mention the constraint in advance, so other people understand the situation you're in. And just keep in mind, the design critics is about the design, nothing is personal. It'll be hard at first, but try avoid "I like" and "I don't like". But start with user, "As a user, I would..." ( it'll be better if using persona)