Evaluation of software and hardware

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All computers are made up of hardwaresoftware and data. In your exam, you will need to be able to explain how and why particular hardware or software is suitable for a particular task; and list and discuss criteria which can be used to evaluate or judge the suitability of hardware and software.

Main types of software


General-purpose software, such as word processors and spreadsheets.

Specialised packages

Sold for specific uses, eg managing the accounts of a large organisation.

Bespoke software

Written specially for the end user by a team of people within the company or by external consultants; for example the software which manages London's congestion-charging system.

For more detailed information about software types, go to the section onApplications and programing languages.

System weaknesses

All computers are a part of a system made up of:

  • hardware
  • software
  • the data being used

A system like this can fail if any of the parts do not fit together, but there are ways to fine-tune the system:

  • Train and re-trainpeople as the system changes. Training is often needed due to a decision to change either the hardware or software.
  • Keep the data as accurate as possible.
  • Upgrade software and hardware and replace it as new versions and types become available.
  • Add newinputandoutput devicesif they will improve efficiency.
  • Useevaluation criteriato decide what software and hardware to buy and how it will be used.

Software evaluation

Evaluation is performed to ensure the most suitable piece of software (or hardware) is purchased. Typically evaluation criteria will include:

  • End User Needs- what does the user of the software want to do, what are their present skills and how do they intend to use the software? It…


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