Learn more about us.
CritRoom runs in 10-week cycles, with each member taking on a personal project and set their own goals at the very start. Every weekend, members tune in on Zoom to discuss their work in breakout rooms of 4 in order to allow for in-depth conversations (each person gets around 20-30mins of focused attention from the room). So far, we've had 17 people join with the intention of learning more about product/web design or front-end coding and building a professional portfolio. Some are thinking of making an official career pivot, while others just want to grow their skills as a designer.
We select our participants based on the rigor of their past work (architecture/digital design) as well as the feasibility of the project proposals that are entered into the application form. We are looking for individuals with high competence, self-reflection, but most importantly—a clear plan of action. 10 weeks is not a long time, and we understand that most people do their side projects outside of their usual 9-5. It is important that your goal is actionable and that you understand what is realistically achievable and can breakdown your tasks.
We typically spend the first session defining the scope of how we are going to spend the 10 weeks. Here are some past examples:
This group is for anyone who is an aspiring, emerging, or experienced product/UX/UI/web designer that comes from an architectural background. Check out this article by Beau Pesa to understand what connects us!
CritRoom is currently run by Lai Jing Chu, an architect-turned-product-designer/manager. She co-founded the community with Andrew Calnen during early 2020, without whom the whole thing would probably not happen. She loves building communities and finds joy and meaning in connecting like-minded peeps. She is also passionate about design and education. She also built this website, with creative input from Kate Kudya.
Check out the Speakers page.
Today, it is easy to find learning materials through the plethora of e-learning platforms and have a semblance of community through social media channels, but it is still difficult to find a real, face-to-face community of people who can actually dig deep into your work, have an open dialogue with you about it, and give a fresh perspective. This is the gap that CritRoom strives to fill.
Since this is an online face-to-face Zoom meetup, we have learned by experience that members could only get the most out of it by being in breakout rooms of four, and each breakout room requires one facilitator to guide the conversation. Given these constraints, we want to make sure we don't admit too many new members at once in order to maintain an intimate, focused environment.
Each cycle has 8-12 members, split into breakout rooms of no more than 4 people each.