Looking at the posts in the BBC ECP thread I have to say I am disappointed in people posting here. When I started making mock designs I started in PowerPoint. As my skills improved and many many bad designs were made, I moved onto more professional tools, and I think my mocks improved.
Had I received the kind of response some have given to first timers here, I'd have given up long before I actually got any good.
CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Point out the good bits, and say what's wrong in a tactful way.
See I have to disagree with you Martin. I have not seen a single mock you have created that is less than Excellent.
Despite the fact I only joined in 2009 I had been lurking here for a while and the quality of the mocks for me anyway made me strive to live up to their standard, and to try and be better than them.
If I produce a poor mock I do not post it, I keep working at it until I am completely satisfied I cannot do any better, and I know you do the same. Its a value that i know we both share that requires us to enact constant improvement to our work in order for our knowledge of the technology and our skills to improve. You would not post a mock that came within a mile of the "One Star" rating and neither would I.
I started my mock designs in Paint on a crappy old PC and later progressed up to Publisher, Powerpoint and finally through a stroke of luck and a hand-me-down Apple Mac; Adobe Illustrator. You wont catch me publishing any of the rubbish i produced in the first few years of me using even the most advanced software, because i just dont think its up to scratch. The first BBC News mock i produced in 2005 for the little competition the BBC ran to have your countdown on air was ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. But i didnt send it in or post it on this forum because i knew it was absolutely terrible.
Let me use a current example... i have altered my current BBC News music 26 times over the last six months and i am still not happy with it (admittedly i had a break of 2 months in there). if i had posted the first version, i not only would have recieved bad reviews for an unfinished mock, but probably would have felt pretty down that i had not put my best effort in to it.
Whilst criticism is often required for you to improve it is usually better to seek advice from one person who can nudge you in the right direction, instead of showing it to the world before its finished. There are times however when a work is not quite finished where you will need to seek advice from those you dont know in order to improve it further and fine tune. However people wont give constructive criticism unless it is worth their time. If the work is poor, whats the point. If the creator does not have the skills to produce a good mock then they wont necessarily be able to act on the advice given.
Moreover this constructive criticism is not always listened to, you will find this most often in the newer members who have posted their first version of a mock that they have not thought through and not taken the time to make a reassessment of its worth. They immediately think "this is great I will post it" and are completely shocked usually as they don't get the response they were expecting. These people don't have the same value that you or I do; That continuous need for improvement. Instead they are seeking instant gratification for what they percieve to be "amazeballs" and usually ignore the bad advice because it doesn't match up with what they think of the mock.
This is a forum and as such there are many other threads with criticism and advice littered throughout them including this thread which provides a lot of useful guidelines on how to begin. Members need to read the advice given and take it on board.
Criticism is not always constructive in these threads, i know this, and whilst on occasion it does leave me questioning whether i am being too harsh i always come back to my values about the quality of these designs; "this mock is crap, it may have some good ideas in it, but it is not good
I should keep working on it".
Yes it might be too much for me to expect others to agree with my values and they may just keep posting crap, but i cannot throw it all away on the off chance that one of these purveyors of awful mocks starts to improve. If they improve i will acknowledge that, but i am not going to give constructive criticism or be tactful when there is absolutely no hope of this mock improving in the near future.
If the comments i make put people off making mocks then that is unfortunate, but i will not be pussy footing around these new members and saying "its okay dear, its not great, but you've tried your best so FOUR STARS" just because they are new.
When i am reviewing a mock i pay no credence to how new or old the member is i mark them with the same grade sheet. If the mock is excellent; I need either say nothing or heap praise as long as I give my five star rating.
If the mock is okay or good and shows promise; I will give advice on the parts that I feel need to be changed or arent quite right... this is the time for constructive criticism when a member has put their best effort in and not quite hit the mark.
If the mock is awful and shows no promise; I will either ignore it and just give it the "One Star", or depending on how I feel, give a glib and often cutting comment. The reason is that these members have usually not listened to advice given on previous mocks and made the same mistakes of others. They have no skill and should not have posted until they gained that skill.
I would hope that those people who are going to be good at this would be striving to produce a better product from day one and would not post it until they were completely satisfied that this is the best they can do. Instead of dogging the gallery with all these One-Stars.
If there are any future Martin Lambie-Nairns among us who unfortunately post crappy mocks then they will likely take the hit on the chin when they receive a bad reception and strive to improve their skills before coming back and showing us what they can do. You wouldnt catch Simon Cowell telling someone who is tone-deaf that they should go to singing lessons, because it wont help them. Singing lessons and for that matter Constructive Criticism on Mocks are for those that show promise. Until you show promise you will just have to grin and bear it when you get a bad reception.
For the reasons i have given, I will not be changing the way I critique in this gallery.