Context Sensitive Help: 13 Ways to Test and Improve

After writing the Content Sensitive Help, create a test plan to check that the Help works correctly.

Before you start testing the Content Sensitive Help:

  • Clear the cache.
  • Open Excel to log errors.
  • Don’t test your own work.

How to Test Content Sensitive Help

Use this checklist to test the Content Sensitive Help:

  1. F1 — does F1 work? What webpage appears when you hit F1?
  2. Correct — is the correct Online Help page displayed? Sometimes the link may not work, which is one type of problem, the second is what a web page does appear but it’s the wrong content. This means you can’t assume that correct page is displayed. Check your Content Sensitive Help development matrix and see if the correct page is displayed.
  3. Related links — does the Online Help page include links to other related pages? At the end of every web page, you should have links to More Information. You can add these manually (by hand) or dynamically (based on content etc). Check that these are present, formatted corrected, and link to the right page.
  4. View — does the Online Help page appear behind or in front of the window? If behind, do you have to close or minimize the window to see the web page?
  5. Related windows — if several windows are open, is the Help page displayed on the parent page instead of the child page or another related window?
  6. Closing Help — do any errors occur when you close the page?
  7. Resize or move window — do you have to resize the window to see the Help page?
  8. Errors — are any errors, typically JavaScript, displayed when the Help opens? Do any errors occur when you use the Help, for example, related to the Table of Contents, searching for topics, or using Breadcrumbs?
  9. Scroll — do you have to scroll to read the content? Where does this occur, for example, on tables?
  10. Search — does the search engine work correctly inside the application? Check that it works locally and, more importantly, on other servers. Otherwise, you may be viewing cached results.
  11. Browsers — does the CSH work correctly in different web browsers?
  12. Internet Explorer — If possible, check older versions of Internet Explorer as many corporates are a few versions behind.
  13. Style — is the correct font, style, color, and phrasing used? Is the phrasing consistent across all web pages?

Summary

There are three main stages to developing Content Sensitive Help: preparing, writing, and testing.

Allow enough time to test the Content Sensitive Help so you can ship a reliable product to customers that reflects well on you and your technical writing team.

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan