The passion quotient

Sarah O'Keefe / Opinion

You’ve never heard of the passion quotient? That’s because I just made it up. For example, if 5 authors report that they use Tool X and it is very important (5 on a scale from 1 to 5), then Tool X scores a perfect 5 PQ.

The formula is this:

PQ = ((# of authors at importance 5 * 5) + (# of authors at importance 4 * 4) + …) / total # of authors

In other words, we are looking for the tool for which the importance is ranked the highest.

Joe Welinske and WritersUA recently published their annual tools survey. In this survey, the PQ winner, by a lot, is MadCap Flare, which scored a 4.60 PQ. Of 225 respondents, 184 gave Flare the Very Important (5) rating.

I am fascinated by the fact that Flare scores so highly, especially compared to other authoring tools (in descending order):

  • Adobe FrameMaker, 3.79
  • Adobe RoboHelp, 3.76
  • Author-it, 3.71

My initial theory was that Flare is an all-in-one tool, so it might get a higher ranking than FrameMaker/RoboHelp (where the votes might be split), but notice that Author-it, which is also an all-in-one solution, has a PQ very similar to FrameMaker/RoboHelp and not to Flare. I await enlightenment from my readers.

Meanwhile, I noticed that oXygen and XMetaL have the same number of responses (67) and scored almost identically on the PQ (3.36 and 3.37, respectively).

So then, I graphed the results by percentage that reported each level of importance.

Tool 5 4 3 2 1
Flare · MadCap Software 81.78% 7.11% 3.56% 4.00% 3.56%
Author-it · Author-it Software 53.42% 9.59% 9.59% 9.59% 17.81%
RoboHelp · Adobe 52.92% 10.00% 11.25% 12.08% 13.75%
Oxygen · SyncroSoft 38.81% 10.45% 16.42% 16.42% 17.91%

For clarity, I omitted FrameMaker, which has numbers very similar to RoboHelp, and XMetaL, whose numbers are similar to Oxygen.

What conclusions, if any, can we draw from this information?

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.