Testing and certifying documents

We test and certify communication products to prove they are suitable for readers and likely to achieve purpose.

The most significant documentation risk: producing a document that is ineffective. That is, a document that does not achieve objectives. If that happens, all the money and effort invested in researching, crafting, reviewing and designing a document will be wasted.

Difficult to read documents may put the publishing organisation at risk. Obligations imposed on the reader may be unenforceable – the thrust of argument is shifting from ‘did you read the document?’ (aimed at the reader) to ‘was the document readable?’ (aimed at the writer).

Documents must be produced with diligent care. But like any product, care in production does not guarantee effectiveness. Think-write believes that all functional documents (information products) should be tested in some way before being released. Releasing an information product without appropriate testing may be reckless.

There is never enough time and money to do it properly, but there is always enough time and money to do it again.

Testing documents:

Think-write designs and runs simple, inexpensive  tests with users (or representatives) to check a document is likely to be read, understood and acted on.

Quality assurance testing typically includes:

  • User testing that explores what parts of the document would be read and how easy it is for readers to find information they seek.
  • Readability tests to check reading grade level matches intended users.
  • User testing that explores readers’ understanding of the issues.
  • User testing that explores readers’ reaction to the content.
  • User testing to discover how readers might respond – will the communication product achieve purpose?

Request a test at DocumentTesting.com

Certifying documents:

Think-write Consulting designed and manages the PlainLanguagePro certification trademarks. These trademarks show a document has been written using plain language principles and processes – prepared with care and a dedication to meeting the needs of users.

The trademarks give users and other stakeholders confidence the organisation has taken seriously its duty to be clear, concise and effective. They also give document owners confidence that documents will communicate effectively.

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