RE: Quality

Subject: RE: Quality
From: "Focus on 3 things: Quality, Quality, Quality" <raven -at- USABLE -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1993 15:59:50 EST

John Oriel:

My from line is a quote from a customer; he said this at a
recent QFD (quality function deployment, a total-quality management
"thing") we had for Fortran.

I do like your definition of a defect as an opportunity for

You ask:
>Have you any suggestions on how I may detect such opportunities for

If you had a catalog of them that would be great, but that's
impossible, probably. Of course, the only way to discover the
possibilities for misunderstanding is to give users the possibility to
misunderstand, e.g., do lots of usability testing. This doesn't have
to be in a lab. You can do "user diaries" or "usabiltiy edits" (see
Soderston article in _Technical Communication, 1985 or 1986 for
usabiltiy edits). I'm a firm believer that there is no way to
objectively measure/detect opportunities for misunderstaning (much in
the same way there there is no way to measure readability with a
formula--reading and comprehension are much to complicated for
formulas with fewer than about 120 variables). So, it would be nice to
be able to say "Intro paragraphs tend to be easily misunderstood, so
check those" but I don't believe it's that simple.

Mary Beth Raven
Raven -at- usable -dot- dec -dot- com

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