Kayce Basques

Regression Tests For Docs

Technical Writing

A proposal for an automated way to identify big changes in docs.

Last night, the San Francisco chapter of STC had a Meetup on Quantiative Metrics and Qualitative Assessments, led by Andrew Etter, author of Modern Technical Writing. I appreciate that Andrew paused after each slide and opened up the space for questions and discussion.

During one of our discussions, I had the idea to create a form of regression tests for docs.

First, a little background. This idea builds off of a Google Sheets Add-On that I'm working on that makes it pretty easy to generate per-page analytics. You just enter the paths of the pages that you want to analyze, along with the Google Analytics Metrics that you want to track, and the Add-On takes care of the rest.

Populating a spreadsheet.
Figure 1. Populating a spreadsheet

Here's how I'm imagining the regression tests would work:

I can imagine 2 main uses for this tool:

If you've got any ideas on how to make this useful, or if you think it's flawed and I shouldn't pursue it, please email me at kayce@basqu.es.

If I do pursue it, I'm planning on publishing it as a free Add-On. If you use Google Analytics, then it'll work for you. I'll post updates on this blog if I do decide to pursue it.