What is quality?

Subject: What is quality?
From: Typo? What tpyo? 05-Jan-1994 1101 <jong -at- TNPUBS -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 1994 11:12:10 EST

Edward Bedinger <qwa -at- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU> asked how he could predict the critical
success factors of his audience. That is a good question, but one for which I
fear there is no quick, pat answer.

As a starting point, I think a fair guess at CSFs is the set of factors that we
as professionals use. For example, at Digital, our reader's comment forms ask
how we're doing in these areas:


Note that the STC publications competition (at least for the Boston/Northern
New England chapter) instructs judges to examine entered documents for
readability, examples, and organization, among other things. I'm sure this
list is no revelation to you.

But our readers are not your readers, and our list is not your list. There is
no way to intuit, guess, or imagine what your readers' CSFs are. *You have to
ask them directly.* And because their needs may change over time, you have to
keep asking them.

We directly asked readers of our organization's information products what they
wanted, and we got a somewhat different list. For example, they rated indexes
and illustrations highly, but not accuracy and completeness. I am persuaded to
go with the explicit CSF list and think about how to satisfy those demands. I
also plan to ask them again this year, more rigorously, and compare the

-- Steve

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