Technical writing and software testing are linked. Are you surprised?
You already know what technical writing is. When it comes to software testing, it is the process of detecting bugs (errors) in a software product.
It also checks whether a product is performing as expected and whether its usage matches the expected results. On the one hand, these are different professions.
Technical writers are not involved in the testing process and software testers do not write technical documentation. This is clear. But if you create clear software documentation, you will have enough knowledge to understand how your product works and to describe it to users. And the best way to understand a product is to try it yourself as a potential user.
In a sense, technical writing and software testing overlap. In addition, some companies ask their technical writing team to report errors as well.
It could be a company that puts a lot of effort into testing or a startup that wants to skip this step, just to make sure that at least something has been done (although it’s not a good idea to save on not testing – when users a raw product, they completely mess up the first impression and do not support the positive image of a company).
Therefore, technical editors need to know how to test a software product. Not the entire process, of course, but a few fundamental things to improve the quality of the documentation.
There are two main types of software tests: manual and automatic. As a technical editor, you use the manual. I don’t think technical editors should use automated tools. After all, the main goal is to write technical documentation.
Here are some tips to help you develop your proficiency testing skills:
Become a real user.
Imagine that you are a person unfamiliar with a product. Act on how the person would behave, analyze what problems users are trying to solve, and what they hope to achieve with a software product.
Try everything you have access to.
You must describe everything in your documentation. You need to know what features a product has, how to use it, what problems users may encounter and how to fix them (if possible).
It is impossible to find all bugs.
Not even the best testers can find all the flaws of a software product. Remember you are not a tester; what you do is get to know the product and bug reporting is not your main focus. This is exactly what you can do if you get one. Your testing process is different from what testers usually do.
It all starts with planning. You need to gather all necessary information about the product, compile a list of tasks and prioritize them. If you know what to do, half of your work will be done.
Learn to test.
In the beginning, you may need more information about how to take the test. Several resources can help you: books, courses, videos, etc. Feel free to use them.
Software testing and technical writing are closely related. The list of essential skills for technical writers is huge. To be successful in this field, you have to learn all the time.