This document supports the interest of software users in consistent, complete, accurate, and usable information (documentation).
It includes both approaches to standardization: a) process standards, which specify the way in which information products are to be developed; and b) information product standards, which specify the content, format, and structure of the information product. It is intended for designers and developers of information for users of software, including systems whose main component of interest is software. It describes how to establish what information users need, how to determine the way in which that information should be presented to the users, and how to prepare the information and make it available.
It is not limited to the design and development phase of the life cycle, but includes activities throughout the information management process.
This document includes information for users provided in printed or on-screen documents on a variety of devices used in the work environment by users of systems containing software. It applies to printed user manuals, online help, tutorials, and user reference documentation.
This document neither encourages nor discourages the use of either printed or electronic (onscreen) media for documentation, or of particular documentation development or content management tools or methodologies.
This document may be helpful for developing the following types of information, although it does not cover all aspects of them: documentation of products other than software; computer-based training (CBT) packages and specialized course materials intended primarily for use in formal training programs; information incorporated into the user interface itself.
This document is intended for use in all types of organizations, whether or not a dedicated information development group is present, and may be used as a basis for local standards and procedures.
Users are assumed to have experience or knowledge of software development or information development processes.
Users of this document can adopt an industry-recognized style manual for use within their own organizations to complement the requirements and guidance provided in this document.