Criteria are used in judging and selecting between potential projects, solutions, engagements, products, etc. Many people confuse criteria with other design tools. This page is meant to help define and direct in the use of criteria as a design tool.

Definition[edit | edit source]

Criteria are used as a means of judging. It is on an analog scale of better or worse.

Criteria versus Consideration[edit | edit source]

A criterion is used as a means of judging. It is on an analog scale of better or worse.
A consideration is used to describe the parameters. It is more binary (i.e. yes/no).

Importance does not differentiate criteria from considerations, i.e. you can have a criterion that is more important than a consideration and vice versa.

Constraints[edit | edit source]

Further refining criteria and considerations are, respectively, constraints and restrictions.

Criteria can be constrained on both, either or none of its extremes. For example, if cost is a criterion, there could be a max value. The less expensive the better, the more expensive the worse, until a certain amount is reached and everything above that is off limits.

Considerations can be restricted. For example, if color is a consideration, you could exclude pastels. Or if size is a consideration you could restrict it to fitting in a certain space. Anything that fits is good, anything that doesn't is off limits.

Criteria versus Criterion[edit | edit source]

Criterion is the singular of criteria. Common vernacular often excepts criteria as singular as well, but it is considered incorrect.[1]

Criteria as a Tool[edit | edit source]

Criteria are the main component of many decision making and judging tools, such as the Delphi Matrix and the Pugh matrix (aka Criteria Based Matrix).

References[edit | edit source]

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Authors Lonny Grafman
Published 2010
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
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