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Technical Writing Quality

January 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 126

Before we talk about quality in technical writing, let us first try to understand what we mean by quality. One of the most popular definitions of quality is 'conformance to requirements'. This means that your product should have all the features that it was supposed to. So you should not end up with a bike when you started out building a car. While considering software quality, it is also important that the product is bug free or does not have any issues. This standard of quality is referred to as 'Zero Defects'. What are some other ways you can evaluate the quality of a product?

When do you say that a cellphone is of good quality? Or, for that matter any product - mechanical, electrical, electronic - is of excellent quality? These comments always come after you have used the product for a few times or over months. But, what do you analyze or take into consideration when you stamp it as good quality?

Well, that really depends on the functions it intends to serve. A leaking plastic bag isn't of a good quality; however, an IV pouch that does not drip even when pierced, is also not of good quality. Therefore you can say that the criteria for good quality keep changing depending on the purpose of the product.

Apart from the function it serves as a whole, quality also depends on the individual components and their compatibility with each other. Let's say you have got a new bulb to fix your car's tail light. And after spending half an hour on figuring out that you need to detach the assembly from the boot, you find out that the bulb doesn't fit! Hope you don't have to go through this. My point is that the bulb by itself is of acceptable quality; however, because it doesn't meet the specifications, you can say that it is not of good quality.

Other than these objective criteria, our judgment of quality is also subjective and depends on how you perceive the functioning of the product. If you cannot find the required buttons, knobs, or other manipulation keys of the product to make it work, or if it is too difficult to understand and use, you will soon lose patience and conclude that the product is not of good quality.

How do all these aspects of quality apply to technical writing? Quality in User Documentation discusses all these quality considerations from the information and writing perspective.

Source: EzineArticles
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