Reviewing technical documentation

When testing documentation, in particular instructions or help documentation, try to keep in mind the following:

  • Follow any steps outlined in the document word for word. Do exactly what it tells you to do. It's not enough to just read the document, you need to test the steps.

  • As your reading, note what questions you have. In addition to checking what's in the document, you may want to provide feedback about what might be missing from the document. That's best indicated by what questions you ask yourself as you read.

  • Try approaching the document from different user perspectives. For example, if it's help documentation, does it contain step-by-step instructions and definitions for beginners? Does it contain shortcuts and an index for advanced users? Does it contain the appropriate amount of marketing buzz and product cross references for managers?