Why Quality Assurance Matters
By: Jen McKee
Why is quality assurance important? More and more, with the idea of trying to cut costs, an attempt at “streamlining” processes, or just trying to “get it out the door,” quality assurance appears to be getting left in the dust. We’re not speaking of quality control, or the oversight that must take place in industrial or production line-type activities. We’re talking about good old-fashioned proof reading: copy editing and text review. It seems to be happening less and less.
“I’ll just check it over myself before I send it out.”
“Nobody really pays attention anyway.”
These are two common “reasons” for skipping the “QA” step, but these reasons are flawed.
1) “I’ll just check it over myself before I send it out.” This is simply a bad idea. Think about it. When you write something, you know what you’re trying to say, so if you’re writing for a wider audience, you absolutely MUST have another, objective set of eyes read over your work. You ask, “Isn’t that what spell check is for?” Spell check is not enough. Spell check doesn’t catch the incorrect their/there/there, or two/too/to, for example. There are many words in the English language with varied spellings and uses, and spell check doesn’t pick these up. Additionally, our minds know what we mean to say, and will often read over something that isn’t quite right but not realize it isn’t quite right, because our mind fills in what we mean to say, even though that may not be what we actually wrote.
2) “Nobody really pays attention anyway.” This is simply not true. Unfortunately, there are more and more people who don’t pay attention, but that is not everyone, at least not yet. There are many more people who do pay attention, and who do care about the quality of what they read. In business these people are called decision makers.
Part of the fight against a general acceptance of mediocrity is caring about correctness. Attention must be paid to the quality of writing if we want to keep that quality high…in essence, if we want to guard against the degradation of our language. The internet is full of poorly written material, even factually incorrect material. The forsaking of quality assurance just perpetuates the problem.
Well-written material is a weapon in the fight against accepted mediocrity, but on a smaller scale, it simply adds credibility to the work. Writing that is riddled with errors is hard to take seriously. It leaves the message open to vague interpretation, or worse, impossible to understand, and thus lost. Disregarding the importance of quality assurance indicates a disregard for quality of the writing, which in turn communicates a lack of respect for the reader. And when the reader feels disrespected, the message will likely fall on deaf ears, a lost opportunity.