How do we criticise web work?
A local web design agency that I used to admire has started to churn out insipid work. It’s made me think about this aversion we have for talking publicly about this kind of thing. I don’t want to name them, and I’d consider it rude if I did, but I don’t know where this politeness comes from. Is it a cultural thing? Is a part of the cult of positivity? I’m certainly not shy about criticising big names for things they do wrong, nobody is shy about criticising Microsoft or Apple for example, so maybe it’s because they’re not a giant company. Maybe I think enough public criticism could cause irrecoverable damage to their reputation. Maybe I hope the last few projects have been aberrations. Or maybe I hope that I’m not perceptive enough to see the value in the work they’re doing.
I remember some time ago a high profile web designer saying that criticism of web projects shouldn’t be done publicly, but should be given privately over a pint in the pub. But that doesn’t seem right to me. What if you’re not friends? Wouldn’t this criticism be taken almost as harshly?
I worry that average or even poor work will get praised out of politeness and set a bad example to the next wave of web designers and even affect client perceptions of good work, and I feel there needs to be some firm yet polite method of offering feedback.