BS ISO/IEC 26514:2008

BS ISO/IEC 26514:2008

Software and systems engineering. Requirements for designers and developers of user documentation

Status : Current, Under review   Published : July 2008



Anyone who uses application software needs accurate information about how the software will help the user accomplish a task. The documentation may be the first tangible item that the user sees and therefore influences the user’s first impressions of the software product. If the information is supplied in a convenient form and is easy to find and understand, the user can quickly become proficient at using the product. Hence, well-designed documentation not only assists the user and helps to reduce the cost of training and support, but also enhances the reputation of the product, its producer, and its suppliers.

Documentation is often regarded as something done after the software has been implemented. However, for high-quality software documentation, its development should be regarded as an integral part of the software life cycle process. If done properly, documentation or information management is a big enough job to require process planning in its own right.

BS ISO/IEC 26514 is the International Standard developed to assist users of BS ISO/IEC 15288:2002 Systems engineering. System life cycle processes, or BS ISO/IEC 12207:2008 Systems and software engineering. Software life cycle processes, to design and develop documentation as part of the software life cycle processes. It defines the documentation process from the documentation developer's standpoint.

BS ISO/IEC 26514 supports the interest of software users in consistent, complete, accurate, and usable documentation. It includes both approaches to standardization: a) process standards, which specify the way in which documentation products are to be developed; and b) documentation product standards, which specify the characteristics and functional requirements of the documentation.

The first part of this International Standard covers the user documentation process for designers and developers of documentation. 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 and documentation processes.

The second part of BS ISO/IEC 26514 provides minimum requirements for the structure, information content, and format of user documentation, including both printed and on-screen documents used in the work environment by users of systems containing software. It applies to printed user manuals, online help, tutorials, and user reference documentation.

BS ISO/IEC 26514 may be helpful for developing the following types of documentation:

  • Documentation of products other than software
  • Multimedia systems using animation, video, and soun
  • 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
  • Documentation incorporated into the user interface itself.

Contents of BS ISO/IEC 26514 include:

  • Conformance
  • Application of conformance
  • Conformance situations
  • Normative references
  • Terms and definitions
  • User documentation process within the systems/software life cycle
  • Project requirements, objectives, and constraints
  • Analysis and design
  • Development and review
  • Production
  • Structure of documentation
  • Information content of user documentation
  • Presentation format of documentation
  • Bibliography

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Standard NumberBS ISO/IEC 26514:2008
TitleSoftware and systems engineering. Requirements for designers and developers of user documentation
StatusCurrent, Under review
Publication Date31 July 2008
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)IEEE Std 100-2000, ISO/IEC 15288:2008, ISO/IEC 12207:2008
Informative References(Provided for Information)ISO/IEC 14598-6:2001, ISO/IEC 11581-5:2004, ISO/IEC 15289:2006, ISO/IEC 15288:2008, ISO 9000:2005, ISO 80416-2:2001, ISO 999:1996, ISO 9241-171, ISO/IEC 18019:2004, ISO/IEC 12207:2008, ISO/IEC TR 9294:2005, IEEE 1063-2001, ISO 216:2007, ISO/IEC 9126-1:2001, ISO 10007:2003, ISO 9241-110:2006, ISO 9241-1 to ISO 9241-17, ISO 6357:1985, ISO/IEC 14598-3:2000, ISO/IEC TR 9126-3:2003, ISO/IEC 14598-4:1999, ISO/IEC 11581-6:1999, ISO/IEC 11581-2:2000, ISO/IEC 14598-2:2000, ISO/IEC 11581-3:2000, ISO/IEC 14598-1:1999, ISO/IEC TR 9126-4:2004, ISO/IEC 11581-1:2000, ISO/IEC 14598-5:1998, ISO 9241-12:1998, ISO 9241-11:1998, ISO 13407:1999, ISO/IEC TR 9126-2:2003
ReplacesBS 7137:1989, ISO 9127:1988, BS ISO/IEC 6592:2000, BS ISO/IEC 18019:2004
International RelationshipsISO/IEC 26514:2008
Draft Superseded By07/30160567 DC
DescriptorsSoftware engineering techniques, Writing, Packages, Technical documents, Handbooks, Technical writing, Instructions for use, Information, Documents, Computer software, Packaging, Data processing
Title in FrenchIngénierie du logiciel et des systèmes. Exigences pour les concepteurs et les développeurs de la documentation de l'utilisateur
Title in GermanInformationstechnik. Software und System-Enginering. Anforderungen an Designer und Entwickler von Benutzerdokumentationen
ISBN978 0 580 58205 9
File Size2.176 MB

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