How to Handle Harsh Criticism in Product Design
Welcome to this week's Cadversity Blog! Let's get straight into it.
No one likes receiving criticism when it's pointed and harsh. However, as a product designer, you will inevitably face criticism at some point in your career. It's important to remember that not all criticism is created equal. Some criticism can be constructive and helpful, while other criticism can be destructive and unproductive. So, how do you tell the difference? And more importantly, how do you handle harsh criticism in a way that doesn't damage your ego or your product?
Constructive vs. Destructive Criticism
The first step in handling harsh criticism is to determine whether the criticism is constructive or destructive. Constructive criticism is specific, actionable, and positive. It should leave you feeling motivated to improve your product. Destructive criticism is vague, unactionable, and negative. It should leave you feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.
Here's an example of constructive versus destructive Criticism:
Constructive: "I don't like the color of this button. It's hard to see."
Destructive: "This design is awful."
As you can see, constructive criticism is specific and actionable while destructive criticism is vague and unproductive. When you're facing harsh criticism, take a step back and assess whether the comments are constructive or destructive. If they're constructive, then use the feedback to improve your product. If they're destructive, then brush them off and move on.
How to Respond to Harsh Criticism
Once you've determined that the criticism you're facing is constructive, it's time to figure out how to respond. The best way to do this is to stay calm and professional. Remember that the person critiquing your work is not critiquing you as a person—they're critiquing your product. So don't take it personally! Respond calmly and rationally to their comments, and explain why you made the choices you did. If they have valid points, then incorporate their feedback into your product design. If not, then politely disagree and move on. Thank them for their input either way!
Harsh criticism can be difficult to swallow—but it's an inevitable part of being a product designer. The best way to handle harsh criticism is to assess whether the comments are constructive or destructive. If they're constructive, then use the feedback to improve your product design; if they're destructive, then brush them off and move on. Remember that not all criticism is created equal! And when in doubt, always err on the side of professionalism and calmness.