Jimco Software Review Categories
Jimco Software reviews products based upon actual usage. We spend weeks reviewing each product in an attempt to provide you with a true representation of what you can expect when you purchase the product. We typically only review products that we feel will review well, but we will occasionally pick a product that reviews poorly.
You'll find plenty of screen shots in our reviews because we want you to see how the product works. In cases where a video is more appropriate, we will provide that as well.
Jimco Software uses the following categories when rating software products we review.
Usability is similar to intuitiveness, but while intuitiveness is determined by how easy it is to discover new features and how to use them, usability is determined by how the application performs over time. For example, if the layout of an application makes it awkward to use certain features, the usability rating will be negatively affected. On the other hand, if an application is designed with numerous shortcut keys, well-integrated Help, and a logical layout, usability will be rated higher.
Interface refers to the attractiveness of the interface. Elements that affect the use of the application are more applicable to usability. However, depending upon how serious a usability issue is, it may also affect the interface score.
Things than can detract from an interface score include dialogs that should be resizable but aren't, dialog elements that don't line up, or an interface that is usable but not attractive.
Intuitiveness is determined by how easy an application is to learn simply by using it. It is important not to confuse this with how easy an application is to learn. For example, trueSpace 6.6 obtained a high score for intuitiveness, but the application is not easy to learn. It obtained a high score because its features are easily discoverable and because it is easy to learn about a feature simply by using it. Even so, the application has a steep learning curve by nature.
If an application tends to work the way you naturally think it should work, the intuitiveness will be positively impacted. On the other hand, if we find ourselves often asking "Why did it do that!?", the intuitiveness will be negatively impacted.
Features is determined by the qauntity and quality of features in an application. This rating is impacted somewhat by comparing the features of an application with the features of its competitor. In cases where there is no clear competitor or where we are unfamiliar with a competitor, we judge this based upon whether or not we felt that features were lacking when using the product.
Documentation is affected not only by the quality of the documentation, but also by the quantity of documentation and how easy it is to access. There are many factors involved here other than Help files. For example, WorldBuilder 4.1 includes ques in the interface as to how modifying specific parameters will affect a scene. Such ques (in addition to excellent documentation) earn WorldBuilder 4.1 a high documentation score.
Price vs. Value Ratio
The price vs. value ratio is determined by how much value is perceived based on the price of the product. (This is a fairly new category and will not be included in all reviews.) This category is not affected by how expensive a product is. For example, WorldBuilder Professional 4.1 retails for $700, and while that is an expensive piece of software, the value more than compensates. Our perception is that WorldBuilder Professional 4.1 provides an excellent value for what you spend on it. Therefore, it earns a high score for price vs. value ratio.
Reviewer's tilt is affected by the reviewer's previous experience with a product or by biases that the reviewer may bring to the table. If the reviewer brings a strong feeling for a product to the table, the reviewer's tilt will be increased.
It is important to know that we attempt not to let any bias affect our reviews. However, we want to make sure that you are aware of situations where we might be biased about a product.
The overall rating for a product is not necessarily a combination of all of the above, but most often it is. There are things that can give a product a high overall score even if it scores badly on another item. For example, a product might score a 1 on documentation but score a 5 on intuitiveness. In this case, the intuitiveness score will offset the documentation score and the product may still score a high overall score.