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TELL IT HOW IT IS.
How To Write A Good Computers Review
Member Name: thingywhatsit
How To Write A Good Computers Review
Advantages: Help people overcome their technical inexpertise.
Disadvantages: Gaps in information can mean expensive purchasing errors.
What I have found is that many reviews tell me about products that interest me, but that a certain element is often forgotten when writing about products in the computer department. That element is human ignorance. Take someone like me, and believe me I am a typical consumer and know what I am talking about. Give them a technically perfect review that is written in a technically perfect manner, and what happens is that it baffles me. It doesn't enhance my knowledge, because the writer forgot that they were not writing it for a geek audience, but for consumers like me, who source out information in order to make a wise buying decision.
Of course, there is a need for technical data to serve comparison purposes, and sometimes if a writer explains some of the technical terms in a simple way, it is so useful to me, as a consumer, and aids my purchase experience.
So what do you need in a computer review to make it helpful to the public ?
There are many aspects here, because the subject matter is enormous, although whatever gadget or upgrade or computer component you are describing, knowing what that component is supposed to do in simple terms to me is a must. Makers can tell us that machines perform in a certain manner, although what they are trying to do is so different from what a review writer is trying to do. They are selling products. As a review writer, we are examining that product and explaining how it performs at home, and whether it lives up to the promise made by manufacturers.
I feel that build is important because the durability of a product can mean a big difference. If flawed, it can make that component flimsy and unworthy of consideration. A solidly built, well designed product is something I look for when spending money on computer components, because I do not have money to burn. If the product that you are reviewing doesn't stand up to day to day use, or fails in some manner, then it is important to tell the public how it really is.
Ease of use.
I believe that ease of use is important as well. Put a technically difficult component into the wrong hands, and it can spell catastrophe. Here, does the component come with good, clear instructions that anyone of any level of ability can understand ? Does it come with all the cables needed ? Does it give detailed instructions. Can it be installed easily by someone with little expertise ? All of these are important.
Weighed up against the competition, how does it fare against other products on offer, and why was this the choice that you made ? Comparison is always healthy in a review if you know the alternatives and what differences there are between that which you are reviewing and perhaps others that you have used in the past ?
What is the product like to use ? Is it something that enhances your computer experience ? Tell it like it is. Printers, Web cams, Mice, memory cards, Memory sticks etc etc. Tell us the whole experience from installation to use over a period of time. Quality of prints, quality of image, reliability of the product, performance quirks, and why it suits you so well, or fails.
Computer components that need expert installation.
Here, as technology grows, there seem to be more and more people doing their own installation of components, though for people who are not experts, telling them whether in fact the instructions provided would suit their level of expertise would be really handy. I use a shop to install items within the tower of my computer, although I have found, little by little, that certain items like drives are simple to install if adequate instruction is given. Letting the consumer know this information can greatly assist them in their decisions, as they may need to allow expense for installation costs if an expert is needed to perform the task.
I really am not keen on lists. I am more interested in what people say about the features of an item. It's not only easier reading, but you should be able to gage from a review how the person using that component found it to be. In the case of a keyboard for example, how the touch responds, and how easily the special keys can be used to enhance the experience. A mouse – does it have a ball like the old fashioned ones ? How often does it need cleaning ? Or perhaps it's one of those fancy wireless ones. If so, how long do the batteries last ? How responsive is it ? And more importantly does it come with a charger, and how efficient is it ?
Price, Guarantee and Manufacturers Help.
Price plays a huge factor for me as a consumer. I need a price in order to be able to compare that which a reviewer is reviewing and other similar items that I have discovered on the net. Does the price include guarantee ? How long a guarantee and what guarantees does it give ? Are the manufacturers approachable online ? This is quite important because in instances of losing handbooks or instructions, many sites have downloadable instructions, and help pages, and their response time is important when you are struggling to install something, but fail to do so because of some small niggle.
The most important facet to a review of a computer component is your experience. It's something that manufacturers do not have. Sure, they may have tested their product, but it is you who is out there using it under normal conditions where things can go haywire. Your experience of the product, of its' performance, of its ability to keep the Manufacturer's promises are a thing that only a user can describe, and by missing out this essential ingredient in a review, the review becomes less than helpful, as the sole purpose of a review is to give members of the public feedback on your use of a product.
Although people seem to write to a formula a lot of the time, one should never forget individual style. As long as the information is complete, the style should belong to the writer.
Your experience may be funny, frustrating, agonisingly stupid, technically superb, with hitches, without hitches, but every facet of that experience helps someone like me who will be buying a component based on your review. I want to know that I am not the only dumbo on the block, and that other people do make mistakes, but am more interested at the end of the day as to whether those initial mistakes can be easily remedied, and whether the product does what it purports to do.
The bottom line.
From my point of view as a non technical person, the easier the review is to read, the better. I get lost in too much technical jargon, as I am sure many consumers do. When you consider the amount of new products, and also the amount of households who use computers on a regular basis, taking the safe road with a review, and not assuming reader expertise is essential. What makes me the expert ? Well, I am a consumer. I buy on the strength of what I believe to be honest opinion, and at the end of the day, it is for consumers such as myself that you are writing reviews. Balancing technical with non technical, your experience with accuracy of price and performance can make a difference to those wanting to advance their technological skills, and not make expensive mistakes.
Summary: Remember, your experience matters.
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