A product critique is a comprehensive evaluation of a product across different key areas, specifically visual design, functionality, and general user experience. Product managers may arrange a product critique for a new piece of software or feature ahead of its launch to find out if it provides users with the solution(s) they need.
Product critiques are a vital element of product management because they help product managers:
Running a product critique lets product managers and teams gather feedback from three core groups:
Analyzing this feedback can give you invaluable insight into a product’s flaws and how to improve it, spanning multiple points of view.
Your product is made for your users, and you need to know how they use it to assess its value. A product critique will reveal if the product meets users’ needs, and if not, why not. That can lead to invaluable improvements.
Your product may not satisfy customers, and that’s a big problem. With a product critique, you can identify issues and opportunities to raise customer satisfaction.
Companies can perform several different types of product critiques. These include:
Users are invited to interact with the product under observation (in person or remotely) as they normally would. You can collect real-time feedback on their experience, and understand which areas are more confusing or clunky than others.
Several users are invited to discuss the product, answer your questions, and share their ideas for improving it.
Distributing surveys among users is a cost-effective, straightforward way to gather feedback on a product. Ask open-ended questions to prompt thoughtful responses.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how to run a product critique to help product managers get started.
Here are a few questions to ask:
What issues does the product solve?
What is your product’s value proposition?
Who are your end users?
How often have people used the product?
What features are most and least helpful to users?
Ask about anything that feels relevant to the user’s experience and satisfaction.
Critique the product based on expertise. Assign parts of your product critique to team members with the right skill sets and knowledge in relevant areas (e.g. design, development), including yourself.
Make sure you keep your users in mind throughout the product critique. Your aim is to understand what works and what doesn’t to provide them with the best user experience. Consider the problems they want to solve with your product and how it may prevent them from doing that in its current form.