Some guidelines for giving an effective website critique:
- A gut reaction can be helpful, but make sure you temper it with a level-headed, insightful approach to web design before you try to articulate it. If it's just a personal opinion, that's fine, but make sure to preface it as such.
- Never critique someone else's work unless you are open to having a meaningful conversation about it.
- Be specific in your suggestions and always tie them back to established design principles.
- Make sure you understand the full context and objective before providing your opinion.
- Look at all aspects of the design, don't ignore important components like content.
- Take the time to learn the principles and language of design.
Are you new to design principles, or looking for a refresher? I found these mentioned resources extremely helpful:
The Principles of Design - Digital Web Magazine
10 Principles of Effective Web Design - Smashing Magazine
Design Elements and Principles - Wikipedia (what else?)
Ten Usability Heuristics - Jakob Nielsen
Bonus read - Critiquing by Jason Santa Maria
Do you know of others? Please let us know!