Quality and the Internet Appliance

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make it easier for anyone to access information, they can also extend computer technology to people who have rejected the complexity and capriciousness of the generalpurpose computer. Our challenge, as software quality professionals, is to understand the key quality factors for such appliances; these factors will differ from those of traditional personal computers, game stations, and digital wireless phones. We believe that, for information appliances, customers will judge quality by the degree to which the appliance reliably, quickly, transparently, and intuitively provides them with access to the desired information. Those testing an information appliance can apply the same concepts and techniques as testers on typical PC and information systems projects, but they must apply these ideas and methods in the service of different goals, looking for different kinds of defects. The critical importance of harmonizing the device and the overall system with the ever-changing and ever-expanding Internet is especially interesting. We anticipate an explosion of information appliances over the next few years, and many of us in the computer business will work on projects to develop them. The information in this paper will help software quality practitioners who take on ambitious information appliance endeavors.

References
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David Pescovitz: "Gadget: I-Opener." The Industry Standard (Internet Web-site), December 22, 1999.

Joel Dreyfuss: "Want to Go Online? This Appliance Can Take You There." Fortune (Internet Web site), December 20, 1999.

Rex Black: Managing the Testing Process . Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press, 1999. ISBN 0-7356-0584-X.

Rob Spiegel: "Europe Closing E-Commerce Gap With U.S." E-Commerce Times (Internet Web site), December 21, 1999.

Andrea Orr: "One in Four Online Purchases Thwarted." Reuters Internet newsfeed, December 20, 1999.

Sharon Nash: "Hand-Held Shopping Mall." PC Magazine , December 1, 1999, page 32.p>

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About the author

Rex Black's picture Rex Black

Rex Black is President and Principal Consultant of RBCS, Inc., a consultancy that provides testing experts worldwide, serving clients such as Bank One, Cisco, Hitachi, IMG, and Schlumberger in consulting, training, and hands-on implementation. He has written Managing the Testing ProcessCritical Testing Processes, and numerous articles, along with presenting papers and keynote speeches at international conferences.

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