You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
Before diving into the app critique, it’s important to understand how the critique will be carried out. Your interviewers might give you a general prompt like “critique app X” or get specific: “how can app X maximize revenue from its existing customer base?”
In either case, start with high-level objectives:
Context. If you’re bringing in an app yourself, let the interviewers know why you’ve selected it. If an app has been picked for you, you can set the context based on what you know about it.
Goals. If the prompt is open ended, narrow the scope by establishing goals. What’s the business objective? What is the user trying to achieve? What are we trying to get at in the next 20 minutes?
With these established, you can start to take the app apart. These don’t have to be fully fleshed out, but it does help to have at least some explicit objectives defined up-front. But be ready to adapt. Even though you’ll come prepared, your interviewers will likely change objectives midstream. Think of the app critique like improv—you’re building on top of interviewer feedback.
Six Frameworks for Critiquing Apps
Now the fun part. Here are six frameworks to help you examine the app:
Jobs to be done. Uncovering the core objective.
Personas. Goals, motivations, scenarios.
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