Post 612 –by Gautam Shah
Designers need to follow quality parameters for their Projects, Products or Services. A designer, as a professional, strives to assure that projects when completed provide the intended benefits with planned level of inputs. Quality represents the fundamental economics of the input-output equation. The emphasis is upon maximizing the achievements, value addition and minimizing process effort, resource wastage.
Designers wish to project their professionalism through their deliverables, and also attitude, both of which converge as pursuit for quality. The conscience for quality has THREE facets, a Personal need, Governmental requirement and Social obligations. In the first case, it just too subjective and changeable. In the second instance, it is often compulsory, restrictive and punitive. In the last case, there are many stakeholders.
Quality in Design results from an interaction between `what the product is‘ and `what the users do with it‘. There several primary issues, against which quality judgements are made, like: comfort level, variety, novelty, prestige, economy, size, ergonomics, anthropometrical possibilities, other or secondary uses, etc., and the secondary issues of social, cultural, psychological, political and other relevancies. The issues that face vast economic, cultural and racial variations, may not meet the specific quality perceptions.
Quality is an issue how the projects, products or services are carried out or employed, and also how the external conditions support the usage. A product that is satisfactory in every respect may fail, if the external use conditions are drastically altered. A designer needs to assure the project initiators, project users, project operators and the society.
Quality is both a perception and a value judgment, concerning human satisfaction; the basis for both is ever changing. As per ISO 8402 `The concept of quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a project, product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs’. The characteristics of a project, product or service, by themselves, cannot determine the measure of quality. A project, product and services when satisfactory in every respect, can fail, if the external use conditions are drastically altered during its execution. Similarly a project, product and services, however, successful may not be conscientious enough, if the creator is not inspired to do better next time. An enhancement of satisfaction is the key element of quality conscience.
Quality results from a three-way interaction between:
● The nature of the project, product or service, as perceived by the originator, i.e. the thing in its own entirety.
● The user’s original needs and altered expectations, as a result of interaction with a completed project or product.
● The operations or functioning of a project, product or service, as reflected in training, servicing, parts availability, ease of replacement, warranties etc.
A Designer prepares a project brief for determining all requirements, such as: user and clients’ needs and demands, technical requirements, statutory obligations, prevailing standards, current styles, available technologies, etc. The client is not a user, and the product specifier is the marketing team, both of whom may not understand these aspects, so in it is left to the designer to fill in the gaps.
For developing quality meticulousness it is very necessary that all matters relating to quality control are well documented. A well-documented brief serves as a benchmark for assessing the level of the quality being achieved. Wherever Quality control documents that are formal, transparent and accessible, to all stack holders (clients, users, public and competitors), the projects, products and services have greater quality assurance.
As a Design gets under-way and the design presentations, in colour, 3D format, reality models, and now in virtual animations, the stakeholders ‘truly’ react to the Design. The Stakeholders, the client, sample users, and marketing team, now ‘due to their subjective involvement’, become extra perceptive to all issues of Design. A designer should see this as the inevitable, and be prepared to modify the design at a late stage. As the Item is launched once again the designer faces a barrage of new demands, requiring substantial to a complete rethink of the design.
This is the 7 th article of 20 topics series on ISSUES for DESIGN