“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end, we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.” — 1984, George Orwell

Image: Hatespeak, artist: self

If we have read or heard of the path-breaking dystopian novel “1984”, by George Orwell, we would have heard of the terms Newspeak or Thoughtcrime or Doublethink. Newspeak is a term that denoted a tailor-made language devised later in the future. This tailor-made language had no negative terms and hence inflicted no rebellious thoughts to anyone. Read more about it here. Though Newspeak wasn’t looked upon in a positive light, it does give a great idea to moderate out-of-control review sessions.


Introducing Hatespeak. Hatespeak is also a means to control hatred spewed out during design discussions and review sessions. Design reviewers seem to get carried away sometimes by their sarcastic or sometimes passive-aggressive tide. This, in turn, becomes a nightmare for the presenter and the design also doesn’t progress in a beneficial way. In order to set a context to a Hatespeak review session, we could have a set of 9 Hatespeak topics under which a design can be roasted. Think of these topics as hats worn by reviewers. Listed below are 9 hats/Hatespeak topics.

Suggested Hatespeak terms/hats

What do these hats/Hatespeak topics mean?

Ineffective: The design follows the requirements but does an ineffective job of it.

Bells and Whistles: Has too many unnecessary features

Unobjective: Design doesn’t serve the overall objective of the business and user

Unproductive: Takes a lot of time to complete tasks and much idle time is spent on minor tasks.

Unoriginal: It is a plagiarised or heavily inspired design

Arrhythmic: The design lacks rhythm and symmetry which every design requires

Nonintuitive: The design is too cumbersome to understand.

Unforgiving: User needs to follow a specific sequence to complete the tasks. The design also throws non-guiding errors that don’t help us complete our tasks.

Cluttered: The design is untidy

If you have other topics that make sense, please feel free to furnish them as well.

How is the Hatespeak session conducted?

So, like any decent review session, we would need a moderator, the presenter and the reviewers. The design is presented by a designer or a team. When a design is being presented in a Hatespeak review session, each reviewer gets a Hatespeak hat before the session. This could be the choice of the reviewer as well. Consider that I am a reviewer and I get the Unproductive hat, I would present my review as,

I find this design Unproductive because, it may take more than ___minutes to complete _______ task using this Interaction design..

I am not allowed to give based on any other hats. Just the one I received. This will let me be objective and aware throughout the session. In any case, I cannot give personal or off-topic review comments which will get me kicked out of the meeting by the moderator. The moderator jots down the notes and the design is sent out for modification. It is again reviewed in the same format until reviewers run out of comments. Any number of iterations may be conducted until an agreement or timeline is reached.

I have tried this mode of review for a while in my organization and it works. The only possible issues we face is that some reviewers feel that they get very important comments which fall under other categories but aren’t allowed to say it. It is the way it is. The reviewer also needs to put in a conscious effort into the design session to make it a constructive and fruitful session. Let me know your views on this methodology.

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