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A guide to running a content crit
Content crits are one of my favourite things to do as a content designer.
What is a content crit?
A crit, or content crit, is when a content designer shares a work in progress with their work pals and asks for feedback.
In a crit, you can share and learn good practices and establish standards in a team. In short, crits are the best thing you can do to help improve your content.
A crit is not:
a proofing exercise
to be rushed
about the writer. No shaming goes on in a crit
design by committee
A crit should be:
a place where the content is important
a learning curve for all
a sharing space
When you start doing crits, it can be daunting, but it will get easier each time you run one.
Crit early and crit often
You can crit content at any stage in the content design process. There are no restrictions on content types either.
Setting up a crit
You can set up a crit with an existing group, such as all the content designers within a project, or with various volunteers/stakeholders.
You can hold a crit remotely or in person. Either way, make sure you have a way to share the content you want to crit.
Build in time to introduce your content, and explain how you'd like participants to give feedback.
Crits are best run with 2 to 9 people. Anymore, it gets noisy, and some people might not get their voices heard.
Who should I invite to a crit?
If it is your first crit, it might be a good idea only to invite other content designers as it takes a while to get used to the process.
However, you can invite whoever you want to a crit:
other content designers
other HCD types
members of your project team
policy and legal
subject matter experts
The person who wrote the content should lead the crit.
A facilitator can be used to ensure feedback is provided as the content owner requested. This can be helpful in larger groups.
Taking content to a crit
It's helpful to give context about how far along the content is in the drafting process.
You can also clarify what parts of the content you want to crit.
To set the scene, run through the following at the start:
what is the ask of the content: user story/job story/user need
where does the content sit in the user journey?
is this new or existing content?
what are we critting? (what bit of your content do you want critted, all of it or just a specific part)
what are we not critting? (are there any no-go areas that you don't want to talk about)
how do I want you to feedback?
will you share your screen or the document or use something like Miro?
do you want to go through it line by line and comment as we go through it together?
do you want people to read it all and then give feedback?
How a crit group gives feedback will make or break the whole process. So it is essential to think about, and as with this everything, it will get better the more you do it.
I always try to keep the following in the back of my mind when giving feedback at crit:
be honest and kind
explain how the content makes you feel
crit the work, not the person
keep in mind the experience level of the person whose work you are critting
your opinion is not always right
After a crit
Feedback lands with people differently; give yourself time to process what you've heard.
Reflect on how the crit went and the comments made, and work out how you might action or disregard the feedback.
what was helpful?
how did you feel during the crit?
how would you do the crit differently next time?
It would be great to hear if you carry out crits differently. Drop me a line or leave a comment.
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