The Blog

What is Quality?

Posted by Tom LarsenFeb 26, 2020 Design, Making Choices, Marketing, Product Development 0 Comment

Quality??
Many people at first glance, including me, might presume that there is an empirical measure for quality virtually all the time. We might think of a rating scale, or a success rate, or some other arbitrary measure that would be collectively understood and agreed upon to evaluate a quality standard. And would we ever be wrong!

Quality, it turns out, is measured person by person through meeting their expectation, not a standard. To an analytic person, that may be the number of stars on a review, or the on-time performance of an airline, or the number of shipments without errors. But, how do we agree on quality when it is in terms of quality meats, quality produce, or quality performance? How do we know what a 4 star online rating is, or an airline with amazing hospitality and only a 90% ontime performance. We don’t. If one person’s experience does not meet their expectation, whatever that may be, then the quality to that person is not the same as to the person who has the same experience with different expectations.

This means quality is rooted in the expectations of the person making the quality distinction. Think about that for a second amongst all the quality reports or online rating systems and the other “quality” claims that you see, hear, read or even make, for a second. Even an impartial standard is not going to be repeatable in the experience of everyone. Why is that?

My perspective is because quality is about a blend of the expectation and the experience. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. One person’s breath taking experience is another person’s terrifying near death experience. The high quality meat to one person’s palate is awful and to another sublime.

With this knowledge, we as influencers or raters in the crowd of online ratings are obliged to establish as early as possible a clarity about expectation so as to be able to as much as possible define quality from a specific point of view. We create the opportunity for what is delivered to match or exceed the expectation. Is the quality at McDonald’s good or bad? Those that love it, think it’s great. Are they the arbiters? Should we ask those who went once and hated it?

My approach to portraying quality is to do all I can to frame quality by the experience and the expectation. To the degree I effectively achieve that communication through text and imagery, I can establish a hope for the website visitor for their overall experience to meet an expectation. That standard is then supported at the website with subsequent proof in some way to begin to build trust with the visitor.

It may be unusual to hear a designer talk about expectation, experience and trust. To me, that’s what design means. If I can’t understand the expectation, how can I possibly design the right approach? It’s my expectation that bringing those concepts to the front of the conversation and therefore the collective understanding of what is to be accomplished creates something wonderful and results in the highest quality experience possible for website visitors all the time. But, I’m not the judge, everyone else is. What do you think?

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Change, Disruption and 2020 in Review

  • by Tom Larsen | 06 Jan, 2021 |
  • change, choice, disruption, pandemic |

Over the the past year, I largely wrote about change and disruption. I even had a blog about change in March, Pre-Pandemic. Change and disruption are inextricably linked which generally creates resistance to change because it creates disruption. Most people do not seek disruption. It is less predictable than status quo.This past year has been … Continue reading Change, Disruption and 2020 in Review

Read

Never Waste A Good Crisis: What if……

  • by Tom Larsen | 18 Nov, 2020 |
  • change, choice, disruption, pandemic |

We talk so much about disruptive technologies and how positive they are. We rebuild after disaster disruptions, often for the better. What if we treated COVID-19 as a disruptive technology or disaster?

Read

You thought you understood disruption

  • by Tom Larsen | 28 May, 2020 |
  • change, choice, disruption, pandemic, adjust, certain, disruption |

In the past, disruption in business terms was when a new entrant to an existing market was doing some aspect radically different. Airbnb was a new kind of lodging (instead of hotels/motels). Uber was a new kind of transportation option (instead of taxis/busses). Blockbuster and Netflix in their own ways were new ways to get … Continue reading You thought you understood disruption

Read

Subscribe