One of the responsibilities of a QA department is creating technical documentation for the product under test. And there are several reasons for that: the tester knows better than anyone about the internal structure of the software, all its features, and vulnerabilities, and deals with all the bugs and defects.
Of course, testers aren’t writers, but all the documents that end users receive should be as clear and easy to read as possible. How to create documentation that will meet all the user’s demands? The answer is in this article.
Practical Tips on How to Create Documentation That Everyone Will Like
Testers, one way or another, should strive to make the most useful documentation possible for end users. Here may be helpful five basic rules of thumb used in evaluating the technical context before user documentation is presented.
Rule #1 Search and Navigation Work
When interacting with the user documentation provided by software testing companies, a person must understand exactly “where he is” and where he has been before. Make sections in such a way that their logic fully corresponds to the logic of the end user and the logic of the execution of complex tasks.
Rule #2 Easy Navigation
The user should be able to find the section he wants by using the search or the provided table of contents. If there’s a need to view several sections, this navigation should be as simple and clear as possible.
But how to know what a user wants? There cannot be an exact answer. Nevertheless, several basic principles are worth particular focus. Firstly, put yourself in the shoes of a customer. Secondly, analyze the potential difficulties that may be when using the software for the first time. Answers to these questions help you structure the content of the future manual.
Rule #3 Solving Emerging Challenges
Using documentation and moving from one section to another, the user should follow the most effective way to achieve objectives. Hence, if the issue has two or more ways of solutions, the documentation should provide the simplest and the most effective one.
Rule #4 Tasks Generality
End users should be able to transfer data from the documentation provided to cases that haven’t been explicitly documented. For example, a user should understand how the input information corresponds to the various modes of software operation.
It is not necessary to analyze similar situations in separate areas in the manual. Otherwise, the document would become cumbersome and difficult to understand. Simply summarize and describe one type of information so that a person can understand it and use that knowledge for similar situations in the future.
Rule #5 Authorial Minimalism
It is recommended to avoid meaningless information and irrelevant data. Any of the added (extra) blocks will only compete for the attention of the end user. This will make it extremely difficult for a person to find relevant information.
Developing and writing high-quality user documentation is work that, in one way or another, requires a lot of effort and time. But if you successfully solve this task, you will end up with a lot of loyal and satisfied users.