What will you do if you don’t get the results you’re looking for on a software test that you’re charged with conducting?
Chances are you’ll try to get more answers by asking the tester for suggestions on how to improve your test. But if you’ve never written for the web before, you might not know what to look for. That’s where this article comes in. We’ll cover the ins and outs of creating content for software testers to consume.
Know Your Audience
Let’s say you’ve written a software test that determines whether a user can complete a form or not. To find out if there are any usability issues, you might ask the tester to fill out a form and then assess their experience. If the results seem a little off, maybe you should dig a little deeper and find out what’s going on.
In these cases, you’re testing the application itself. The only thing you need to worry about is whether the application meets the needs of your audience (in this case, form-filling users).
But if you’re writing for people external to the application you’re testing (such as marketing or sales people), your number one concern is what they’ll think of your writing. That means you need to understand what their interests are and what they’ll find valuable.
Create An Outline
While you’re busy writing the script for the software tester, you can also be busy refining your outline. And that’s a good idea because outlining is crucial to writing. It forces you to think about your topic from different perspectives, look for supporting evidence, and so much more. When you follow an outline, you’ll be more relaxed and assured in your approach because you know exactly where you’re headed. You won’t waste time going back and reworking things that you’ve already written. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll even find a few new ideas along the way.
What About Professionalism?
This one’s important. You need to keep your writing concise and to the point. It’s tempting to write more and more as you go along, but this is likely to lead to sloppy writing and excess verbiage. Your script will never be more than a few pages long because you’ll exceed the limit of many free hosting services. And then there’ll be the dreaded “low quality” flag.
This is why you need to keep your writings concise and to the point—your audience has limited attentional resources, and you don’t want to waste them on cumbersome text. Keep your writing simple and direct. Use simple language and avoid unnecessary words and complexities. People want to have a good experience when using your software, and that means they want everything to be easy to understand and accessible. This doesn’t mean you need to dumb down your writing, but you should aim to make it as easy to read and digest as possible. And remember, sometimes less is more. You can add more details without overwhelming the reader. The opposite is also true—you can trim down the details and leave out unnecessary words, and still have a perfectly serviceable product.
But perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is this: whatever you write needs to be relevant to someone, somewhere. Even if you’re writing for the sake of it, you still need to be considering your audience and what they want. It’s easy to get lost in the details and become so absorbed in your script that you forget about who’s actually going to be reading it. But if you forget about the audience, you’ll never write something good.
How Many Characters Should You Use?
You need to consider how much space you have to work with. If you’re using a word processor, there’ll be a limit to how many characters you can incorporate into your text. Remember, too, that some websites simply won’t display all the characters you’ve typed. This is why you need to be careful about the number of characters you use in your piece because some people may find themselves with a truncated version of what they wanted to say. (Think of how frustrating this can be when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone but every letter you type simply disappears.)
Color And Font Style
In terms of font style and color, you have quite a bit of freedom. But this is likely to depend on the reader. If you’re writing for a technical audience, you might want to go for a serif font in a pale or grey tone. It will make the text look more professional and, therefore, increase the likelihood that it’ll be taken seriously.
As for the font style, you can go for something modern and quirky or go with a more classic look. It’s a very individual choice, and one that, in all likelihood, won’t be easily supported by the software you’re testing. However, it will greatly depend on how much you want the writing to stand out. If you have a relatively plain document that you’re sending to someone briefly, you might want to go for a more classic look because it’ll make your writing look more presentable. But if you’re sending it to someone you know will appreciate a more unique and vibrant style, it might be better to use a serif font because it’ll give your writing a more polished appearance. As for the color, you have complete control. But, again, this is likely to depend on the reader. As a general rule, darker colors will make your writing look more official and, therefore, increase the likelihood that it’ll be taken seriously.
The Final Step
Once you’ve finished your outline and prepared your draft, it’s time to do some last-minute polishing. Review your work several times and replace any words that are too informal or jargon-filled with more professional-sounding text.
Whether you’re satisfied with your work or have some more rewriting to do, this is the part where you become the gatekeeper of your work. If someone else has to read and edit your work, it means you’ve put in the necessary effort to make it perfect. So don’t be afraid to spend some more time polishing it until it shines. And finally, don’t forget to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Writing for testers can be a lot of fun, but you still need to keep in mind that this is a group of people you’re entertaining. As a general rule, you should write things that will be valuable to your audience, and create a unique piece that will catch their attention. But you also need to be careful not to go overboard and end up doing something that isn’t easily understood or appreciated by your intended audience. This is where the research you did earlier on comes in handy. Make sure you understand what the people you’re writing for want and need before you dive in.