January 6, 1997

PC Week Labs Scoring Methodology

Beginning with the Jan. 6, 1997 issue, all PC Week Labs reviews will include an Executive Summary. Designed to provide our readers with a concise analysis of a product's merits (or lack thereof) in the corporate environment, each Executive Summary (with the exception of those included with reviews of beta products) will incorporate five general criteria by which PC Week Labs analysts will score a product. Following are the definitions of the criteria categories, as well as a key to our letter grades, Analyst's Choice and Caution designations.

Usability: The ease of learning, using and modifying the capabilities of the product to accomplish the tasks that are common to most users and to suit the tasks of interest to a particular user.

Capability: The breadth and depth of functions that the product can perform, weighted by relevance to the target use and the target user identified by PC Week Labs for this review.

Performance: The relevant measures of speed or capacity in performing a product's functions.

Interoperability: The ability of the product to transfer information to and/or from other elements of an information system via media exchange, file exchange, one-to-one physical connections and/or standard network protocols, so as to free the user from concern for physical location or representation of data.

Manageability: The ability to configure, deploy and control product's functions in an enterprise setting.


A Meets or exceeds relevant technical standards or market expectations in this area at the time product is reviewed. Product may create a new standard of comparison through notable innovation.

B Does well on this criterion. Product has no notable flaws in this area, and most users will be happy with this aspect of the product.

C Adequate but somewhat flawed. Product does the job, but has notable flaws in this area that will be unacceptable to many users.

D Generally weak or seriously flawed. Product addresses this criterion so poorly that most users will find it useless or worse as far as this item is concerned.

F Should address this criterion but does not.

NA Not applicable. The reason this criterion does not apply will be given in product's review.

NT Not tested. The reason this criterion was not tested will be given in product's review.

Analyst's Choice One of the best in its class. Product meets competitive standards in all important areas, with enough superior features to be recommended without reservation. A product based on an emerging technology might be an Analyst's Choice despite being below average in some respects.

Caution Weak in many areas or fatally flawed. The risk of developing significant problems is such that users are warned to evaluate product thoroughly and think twice before deployment.

Copyright(c) 1997 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company is prohibited. PC Week and the PC Week logo are trademarks of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. PC Week Online and the PC Week Online logo are trademarks of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company.

Send mail to PC Week