Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Are our quality standards changing?

During a conversation with a colleague yesterday, we talked about current telecommunication options like VOIP and using a cell phone instead of a traditional land line. At one point, he said that some digital phones sounded as good as a cell phones. Now, I remember when Sprint did the pin drop commercials and talked about the clarity of its land line phone service (so good that you could hear a pin drop). Clarity was what mattered. Now it is being able to connect -- talk -- while on the move and/or at a low cost. People are using cell phones, digital phones and other VOIP options even though they may not be as high quality as we had become used to.

Indeed our quality standards are constantly changing. In some cases, we expect better quality, but in other cases, we will accept lower quality because lower quality may accompany a feature that we desperately want.

In thinking about quality, here are some questions to ponder:
  • How have changes in your users' view of quality affected you?
  • When looking at your digital library or digitized collection, what quality standards did you use when you built it? How have those quality standards changed since then?
  • Do your users expect better (higher) quality?
  • Are there features or areas where your users have adapted to lower -- or just radically different -- quality standards?

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