Why documentation should go through QA

If you’ve ever wondered if user documentation should go through the same QA cycle as the code, website here is an answer in an example from Kids.Woot.com:

Nothing good in life is easy. So it is with the Motorcrafts Locomotive Kit. For one thing, the included directions are wrong: you must mount the motor with the opposite orientation shown in the assembly instructions. But even once you’ve figured that out, assembling it is no walk in the park. Or train ride in the park.

“Well, why should it be? Anybody can snap a couple of pieces together and spend the next four hours patting himself on the back. The AMAV 9002 Motorcrafts Locomotive Kit teaches thought. Planning. Persistence. In today’s go-go microwave drive-thru download culture, those are all lessons that kids could stand to learn.

“We’re still trying to figure out what lessons they’ll learn by seeing Daddy have a nervous breakdown trying to figure this thing out. It’ll be educational, one way or the other.”

(Copied from Kids.Woot.com on 3/15/2010)

In this case, these instructions give the wrong directions, so that if you follow the directions, the train DOESN’T RUN! That will be a bummer for little Timmy once the train is all put together. Not to mention frustration for parent who is trying to help get it together to make Timmy’s day.

5 responses to “Why documentation should go through QA”

  1. Especially if said parent is staying up late to put it together the night before Christmas! Moments that make parents swear they will never buy unassembled presents again!

  2. I have always wondered why companies will spend considerable money on creating a product, but then not invest in providing easy to follow step by step instructions.

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