Standards development within the Information Technology sector is harmonized with international standards development. Through the CSA Technical Committee on Information Technology (TCIT), Canadians serve as the SCC Mirror Committee (SMC) on ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 on Information Technology (ISO/IEC JTC1) for the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the ISO member body for Canada and sponsor of the Canadian National Committee of the IEC. Also, as a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Canada participates in the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (ITU-T).
This document supports the interest of software users in receiving consistent, complete, accurate, and usable documentation and specifies processes for use in testing and reviewing of user documentation (Clause 6). It is not limited to the test and review stage of the lifecycle, but includes activities throughout the information management and documentation management process.
This document is intended for use in all types of organizations, whether or not a dedicated documentation department is present. In all cases, it can be used as a basis for local standards and procedures. Readers are assumed to have experience or general knowledge of testing or reviewing processes.
This document deals with the evaluation of end-user content only, and not with the evaluation of the software it supports.
NOTE 1 Documentation is also included in evaluation of the software product, as in the ISO/IEC 25000 and 29000 series of standards. In particular:
— ISO/IEC TR 25060;
— ISO/IEC 25062;
— ISO/IEC 25063:2014;
— ISO/IEC 25064:2013; and
— ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119-3:2013.
This document provides the minimum requirements for testing and reviewing user documentation (Clause 7), including both printed and online documents used in work and other environments by the users of software which includes application software, systems software, apps on mobile devices, and software that controls machinery or hardware devices. It applies to printed user manuals, online help, user assistance, tutorials, websites, and user reference documentation.
This document can also be helpful for testing and reviewing the following types of documentation:
— documentation of products other than software, for example, hardware or devices;
— multimedia systems using animation, video, and sound;
— tutorial packages and specialized course materials intended primarily for use in formal training programs;
— documentation produced for installers, computer operators, or system administrators who are not end users; and
— maintenance documentation describing the internal operation of systems software.
This document is applicable to testers, reviewers, and other related roles, including a variety of specialists:
— usability testers, documentation reviewers, and subject-matter experts;
— information developers and architects who plan the structure and format of products in a documentation set;
— usability analysts and business analysts who identify the tasks the intended users perform with the software;
— test participants;
— installers, computer operators, or system administrators; and
— customer support groups such as training, help desks, repair, and return.
The document can also be consulted by those with other roles and interests in the information management process. Managers of the software development process or the information management process consider the testing of documentation as part of their planning and management activities. Project managers, in particular, have an important role in supporting the review and testing of documentation.
Testing of the documentation is likely to highlight any defects or nonconformances in tools that are used to create or display online documentation. Similarly, usability testing of the documentation is likely to identify additional operational concerns or misunderstandings of end users.
NOTE 2 Testing of documentation can highlight problems with the software being documented. Resolving problems with the software is not in the scope of this document.
There are other roles that need to understand the test processes for the documentation; for example, information developers should understand the test processes for the documentation that they have produced, and acquirers of documentation prepared by another department or organization might want to know what testing has been performed and the processes followed for the documentation that they are acquiring from a supplier.
The order of clauses in this document does not imply that software user documentation is meant to be reviewed, assessed, edited, or tested in this order.
In each clause, the requirements are media-independent, as far as possible. The informative guidelines found in Annex A, User-Centered Test and Review Guidelines, can be used at each stage of the information management process to verify that the correct steps have been carried out and that the finished product has acceptable quality.
The works listed in the Bibliography provide additional guidance on the processes of managing, preparing, and testing of user documentation.