Why test a document? Is it worth the time, cost and effort? What should you be looking for? What’s the best way to do it?

Discover a quick method for testing documents at the next Clarity event in London on 28 January.

In legal writing, the final test of our documents is whether they will stand up in court. But their main use is in negotiations - most of them will never be seen by a judge. What happens when a layperson, or a lawyer who is less familiar with a document, tries to extract meaning from it to inform their actions? Usability testing aims to replicate this type of use, but in advance. It’s particularly effective for templates: documents that will be used, possibly with small variations, again and again

At this event, Caroline Jarrett introduced us to usability testing, giving us an opportunity to try it on a clause from the Modern Commercial Lease. She described the ‘Pens of Power’ testing technique, a quick and simple way of finding out which phrases in a document are working as intended.