3.13 QUALITY CONSCIENCE
A designer, as a professional, strives to assure that projects when completed provide the intended benefits with planned level of inputs. Such assurances are needed at many different levels. A designer needs to assure the project initiators, project users (owners or the product buyers), project operators and the society. Such assurances, regarding the project, translate into a pursuit for a quality.
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.
`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' (ISO 8402). An enhancement of satisfaction is the key element of quality conscience. Quality is both a perception and a value judgment, concerning human satisfaction; the basis for both is ever changing.
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.
The characteristics of the project, product or service by themselves, cannot determine the measure of quality. 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.
QUALITY IN INTERIOR DESIGN
Quality in interior design jobs results from an interaction between `what the interior is' and `what the users do with it'. There several contextual issues, against which quality judgements are made, like: comfort level, variety, novelty, prestige, economy, etc., with their social, cultural, psychological, political and other dimensions. These secondary issues are considered fairly predictable and stable, but projects that coincide with ‘major change phases of secondary issues' fail to serve in terms of changed quality perceptions.
An interior designer prepares a project brief of determining all requirements, such as: clients’ needs and demands, technical requirements, statutory obligations, prevailing standards, current styles, available technologies, etc. The user-client usually may not understand these aspects, so in good faith allow the designer to proceed.
As the design gets under-way and the design presentations, in colour, 3D format and now in virtual animations, makes the user-client ‘truly’ react to the design. The client, in the meanwhile, ‘due to the subjective involvement’, becomes very perceptive to all issues of ‘Interior Design’. The client begins to absorb new ideas from friends, media, etc. Such an awareness on the part of a client completely changes the perceptions. A designer should see this as the inevitable and be prepared to modify the design at a later stage.
As the project materialises on the site, the user-client begins to have first life size or realistic experience of the designed entity. Once again the designer faces a barrage of new demands, requiring substantial to a complete rethink of the design.
A project as it is delivered to an actual occupying-user (who could be a new person, different from the assigning-executing client) the designed entity is revalued. The new occupant, who may not bother to involve the original designer, begins to re-validate the entity on -‘what the (his/her) personal space should be’. This could be based on sum effects of many factors like cultural roots, aspirations, economic status, etc.
Interior designers as a professional have an interest in seeing clients derive satisfaction during the project execution phase, by adequately answering their quarries, offering convincing explanations, and by providing economic and technical comparisons amongst various options. Interior Designers continue to satisfy their clients even after completion. This helps clients come back to the original designer for the next Interior Design Job. In interior design, the next job usually arrives within Five years, unlike in Architecture, where it may not happen in the current generation, i.e. not before 20/25 years.
DEVELOPING QUALITY METICULOUSNESS
To achieve quality meticulousness, an organization must offer products or services that:
a meet a well defined need, use or purpose,
b satisfy customers' expectations,
c comply with applicable standards and specifications,
d comply with statutory requirements and other social obligations,
e are made available at competitive prices,
f are provided at a cost which will yield a benefit or profit to the user.
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, product and services have greater quality assurance. Such entities are more acceptable.
In order to meet these objectives, an organization should keep the technical, administrative and human factors affecting the quality under control. Such controls are oriented towards the reduction, elimination and prevention of quality deficiencies.