• There are no items in your cart

BS ISO/IEC 26513:2009



The latest, up-to-date edition.

Systems and software engineering. Requirements for testers and reviewers of user documentation

Available format(s)

Hardcopy , PDF



Published date


Supersedes 08/30184786 DC. (03/2010)
British Standards Institution

This International Standard supports the interest of software users in receiving consistent, complete, accurate, and usable documentation. This International Standard defines the process in which user documentation products are tested.

This International Standard is intended neither to encourage nor discourage the use of either printed or electronic (on-screen) media for documentation, or of any particular documentation testing or management tools or methodologies.

This International Standard specifies processes for use in testing and reviewing of user documentation (Clause5). It is not limited to the test and review phase of the life cycle, but includes activities throughout the Information Management and Documentation Management processes.

This International Standard provides the minimum requirements for the testing and reviewing of user documentation (Clause6), including both printed and on-screen documents used in the work environment by the users of systems software. It applies to printed user manuals, online help, tutorials, and user reference documentation.

The order of clauses in this International Standard does not imply that the software user documentation should be tested in this order.

In each clause, the requirements are media-independent, as far as possible. The informative checklists found in AnnexesA and B may be used at each phase of the documentation process to verify that the appropriate steps have been carried out, and that the finished product has acceptable quality.

This International Standard can be helpful for testing and reviewing the following types of documentation:

  • documentation of products other than software, for example, hardware or devices;

  • multimedia systems using animation, video, and sound;

  • computer-based training (CBT) packages and specialized course materials intended primarily for use in formal training programs;

  • documentation produced for installers, computer operators, or system administrators who are not end users;

  • maintenance documentation describing the internal operation of systems software.

This International Standard is applicable to testers, reviewers, and other related roles, including a variety of specialists:

  • usability testers, documentation reviewers, and subject-matter experts;

  • information designers and architects who plan the structure and format of products in a documentation set;

  • usability specialists and business analysts who identify the tasks the intended users will perform with the software.

The International Standard can also be consulted by those with other roles and interests in the documentation process.

Managers of the software development process or the documentation process should consider the testing of documentation as part of their planning and management activities. Project managers, in particular, have an important role in planning the testing and reviewing of documentation.

Testing of the documentation is likely to highlight any defects or nonconformances in tools that are used to create or display on-screen documentation. Similarly, usability testing of the documentation is likely to highlight defects or nonconformances with the presentation or layout of documentation and associated graphics and other media. As a result, there are a number of roles that should be involved in the testing of documentation because their work affects the content, display or presentation of documentation for the user, for example, developers of tools for creating on-screen documentation, graphic designers producing material displayed as part of the documentation, and human-factors experts who identify principles for making documentation more accessible and easily used, also user interface designers and ergonomics experts working together to design the presentation of the documentation on-screen. In some organizations these roles may have different titles, or an individual may perform more than one of these roles.

There are other roles that need to understand the test processes for the documentation, for example authors should understand the test processed for the documentation that they have produced and acquirers of documentation prepared by another department or organization might want to know what testing has been performed and the processes followed for the documentation that they are acquiring from a supplier.

This International Standard is intended for use in all types of organizations, whether or not a dedicated documentation department is present. In all cases, it may be used as a basis for local standards and procedures. Readers are assumed to have experience or general knowledge of testing or reviewing processes.

This International Standard deals with the evaluation of documentation only, and not with the evaluation of the software it supports. Documentation is also included in evaluation of the software product, as in the ISO/IEC25000 series of standards. In particular, ISO/IEC25051:2006 Software engineering— Software product Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE)— Requirements for quality of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software product and instructions for testing.

The works listed in the Bibliography provide additional guidance on the processes of managing, preparing, and testing user documentation.

Standards Relationship
ISO/IEC 26513:2009 Identical

ISO 128-40:2001 Technical drawings General principles of presentation Part 40: Basic conventions for cuts and sections
ISO/IEC TR 10000-1:1998 Information technology Framework and taxonomy of International Standardized Profiles Part 1: General principles and documentation framework
ISO 9241-171:2008 Ergonomics of human-system interaction — Part 171: Guidance on software accessibility
ISO 10241:1992 International terminology standards Preparation and layout
ISO 690:2010 Information and documentation Guidelines for bibliographic references and citations to information resources
ISO 128-34:2001 Technical drawings General principles of presentation Part 34: Views on mechanical engineering drawings
ISO 9241-12:1998 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) Part 12: Presentation of information
ISO 9241-151:2008 Ergonomics of human-system interaction Part 151: Guidance on World Wide Web user interfaces
ISO/IEC 25051:2014 Software engineering Systems and software Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE) Requirements for quality of Ready to Use Software Product (RUSP) and instructions for testing
ISO/IEC 15289:2006 Systems and software engineering Content of systems and software life cycle process information products (Documentation)
ISO/IEC 25000:2014 Systems and software engineering Systems and software Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE) Guide to SQuaRE
ISO/IEC 14598-1:1999 Information technology Software product evaluation Part 1: General overview
ISO/IEC 14598-6:2001 Software engineering Product evaluation Part 6: Documentation of evaluation modules
ISO/IEC 14598-4:1999 Software engineering Product evaluation Part 4: Process for acquirers
ISO/IEC 14598-2:2000 Software engineering Product evaluation Part 2: Planning and management
ISO 690-2:1997 Information and documentation Bibliographic references Part 2: Electronic documents or parts thereof
ISO/IEC 15288:2008 Systems and software engineering System life cycle processes
ISO 128-44:2001 Technical drawings General principles of presentation Part 44: Sections on mechanical engineering drawings
ISO/IEC 26514:2008 Systems and software engineering Requirements for designers and developers of user documentation
ISO 128-30:2001 Technical drawings General principles of presentation Part 30: Basic conventions for views
ISO/IEC 12207:2008 Systems and software engineering Software life cycle processes
ISO/IEC 25062:2006 Software engineering Software product Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE) Common Industry Format (CIF) for usability test reports
ISO 9001:2015 Quality management systems — Requirements
ISO 9000:2015 Quality management systems — Fundamentals and vocabulary
ISO/IEC 14598-3:2000 Software engineering Product evaluation Part 3: Process for developers
IEEE 829-2008 IEEE Standard for Software and System Test Documentation
ISO/IEC 14598-5:1998 Information technology Software product evaluation Part 5: Process for evaluators
ISO 13407:1999 Human-centred design processes for interactive systems

View more information
Excluding VAT

Access your standards online with a subscription


  • Simple online access to standards, technical information and regulations.

  • Critical updates of standards and customisable alerts and notifications.

  • Multi-user online standards collection: secure, flexible and cost effective.