“Feedback is from Customers. Critiques are from your Peers.” This is one of the first things you’ll be reading when accessing Hunie, a newly launched social network with an interesting focus: designers have their work criticized by other designers.
This “community where creatives collaborate through constructive peer-to-peer critiques” is currently in its alpha version and has only 30 members so far, along with some bugs. But the founder aims at creating a wide community which will offer constructive criticism that will help designers in their work.
“Not everyone has access to a large group of friends who are designers,” founder Damian Madray told Co.Design. “We want those who are well connected to use this to give back to the designers now starting out. Beyond that, I feel it’s a great way to connect with new designers and gain perspective, fresh ones from designers you may not know.”
The network looks like some of the visual-centric networks already out there, but its founder says he didn’t try to do something new in this direction. Comments on someone’s work however can be posted by clicking anywhere on the design, and not only as a comment at the end of a posting, as it usually works on social networks.
“Getting critiques is always difficult online mainly because it’s a cultural issue. This is why it’s never been solved,” Madray further explained. “Our approach is not purely technical but social. Once we have the tone set, we will slowly bring on designers who get this culture that can contribute to it. Our branding, messaging, positioning will be about critiques, so if you don’t dig it, head on back to Dribbble please.”
The network has indeed potential, but it also has to overcome some important issues. Designs posted here have to be able to accommodate as many comments as possible, spam has to also be carefully managed. Comments have to carefully be monitored as some people could be just mean. Good criticism is often useful, but malicious comments can do harm and lead to less designers using the network. On the up side, Hunie’s founder does offer articles on giving good and useful criticism.
There is also the confidentiality problem which needs to be tackled, as I’m pretty sure many designers cannot submit their work publicly even if the feedback could lead to better designs, as those materials are part of campaigns to be launched. Time will tell if this network manages to adapt to users’ needs and if the development strategy pays off and leads to overcoming potential obstacles successfully.