As a QA Analyst at Centerline, my mission is to hold every project to an incredibly high standard. The goal is to ensure that every project meets or exceeds the standards of functional and experiential quality necessary to make a positive impact on the user/viewer/reader. We at Centerline don’t just want our creations to “get the job done;” we want them to be useable, useful, delightful, and desirable solutions that support our clients’ business goals.
That all sounds very conceptual and idealistic, doesn’t it?
In reality, a QA Analyst documents project requirements, tests for any issues with functionality and intuitiveness, and communicates with all members of the project team. Intentional, scheduled, organized QA is almost always a priority for development projects. Unfortunately, it often falls into a much less crucial category for other types of projects–writing, video production, static designs, etc.
This is unfortunate – there are so many benefits of a formal QA process even for less interactive projects.
QA benefits our clients
Catching errors before sending files to a client for review allows the client to focus on actual content, style, functionality – basically, the client won’t be distracted by errors during the feedback/approval process.
By sending a client our very best, we save them time and enable them to focus on the bigger picture. In this same vein, sending a client files for approval that are free of errors instills in the client confidence in our abilities to deliver exactly what they want and need.
QA improves our internal process
QA allows the client to focus on the bigger picture rather than being distracted by errors, therefore reducing the number of rounds of revisions. This can be a crucial savior of budgets and timelines.
Designating a trained QA professional for this task gives our Account Teams extra confidence to promise the client a high-quality, error-free final product and removes from them the burden of “impromptu QA,” allowing them to focus on their more pressing tasks.
QA increases overall project quality
This one seems obvious. “Quality Assurance,” right?
Having someone who has not been involved in the ideation/production process test the project gives a more accurate representation of an end-user’s reaction to how the project looks, reads, and functions. It’s difficult for “Conceptors” and “Makers” to distance themselves from a project enough to evaluate – without bias – whether or not everything is as useable, useful, delightful, and desirable as possible.
QA is necessary for every kind of project. Whitepapers, design documents, video transcripts and subtitles all need to be proofread–not only to catch errors, but to ensure the content’s clarity. Video files must be viewed in different platforms–not only to verify that all files were saved and labeled correctly, but to make sure that the video conveys the intended message in the best way possible. Interactive projects must be tested in every possible platform–not only to ensure solid functionality but to maximize the quality of the user’s experience.
A dedicated QA professional is a voice for the user, viewer, or reader, and he or she will push every project to be as intuitive and helpful as possible.
Thoughts, comments, concerns? Reach out on Twitter, I’m @CalifornianTara.