How It Happens: A Q&A With QA
Sometimes the inner workings of an agency can seem mysterious. So, we thought, why not change that with a series of blogs about how all the work here actually gets done. For this blog, we sat down with Brynn Deamer to ask her a few questions about her quality assurance responsibilities.
Q: How long have you been at Aragona Agency?
A: Since the summer of 2015.
Q: What do you view as the most important aspect of your job?
A: I would probably say that it’s important to look at my job as much more than proofreading and ensuring quality of visuals.
Ultimately, it’s about making sure the client is satisfied with the very end result of all the deliverables they receive in general — if I wouldn’t be happy to receive something as a client, it shouldn’t leave the agency.
Q: So, why can’t we just have the writers proofread their own work?
A: Well, first, when someone is writing they have a natural bias toward their own work. I don’t mean they like it better than someone else’s, I mean that if they were to look for technical errors or judge the overall quality of their work, they’re more prone to miss certain things — whether outright mistakes or small bad habits that make their way into their work. No one is perfect.
Q: So, it would be a challenge to have writers and content creators doing both roles?
A: Yes, for both practical and quality reasons. They wouldn’t have time to do it properly with everything going on at the agency, but also because they’re so focused on doing a great job writing, it’s extremely difficult to put the quality assurance hat on. It comes down to time, and fresh eyes.
It’s as simple as the “get a friend to look at your work” principle our teachers used drill into our heads in school.
Q: How does this apply to designs?
A: In many of the same ways, it comes down to time and fresh eyes.
Whether it’s a huge trade show booth, marketing collateral, or an illustration for a blog, when the creative direction is set for a project by the team, the focus of their energies needs to be on realizing that creative direction in the design. We have a great process, but it would be unrealistic to think that after all the moving parts on a project no layers or pixels need to be pushed.
So, my job is to look at things that may just need a nudge into place or changed to make a design cohesive or improve the audience’s experience.
Q: We often say at the agency that quality assurance is everyone’s responsibility to some degree, what does that mean to you?
A: It’s true and it’s a good approach. Obviously, as we discussed earlier, this doesn’t mean that QA is literally a job everyone does. What this means in a broader sense is that everyone is responsible for the quality of their work to the best of their abilities. If you notice something that can be fixed or improved as it’s being worked on, it should never be sent to me with the idea that “Brynn will catch that and it can be fixed later” or “Maybe this isn’t really a quality assurance problem and it’s ‘good enough.’”
Ideally, I’m the final stop on a long line of quality work and act as a polisher — not a “re-doer.”
Q: You mentioned the audience’s experience earlier; delve into that a little more.
A: Well, everything is meant to be experienced in a certain way when it comes to marketing. Content isn’t there just to be read, and design isn’t there just to be viewed. Everything we do in marketing is bringing attention to something and communicating underlying messages and ideas. Ultimately, we’re not doing our jobs if we’re not bringing something that drives value and encourages some form of action. If there’s anything out of place that makes it more difficult for someone to understand what’s going on in a design or read a document easily, then that’s a quality problem, and something needs to be changed.