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Streamline Your Writing Process with Free Online Document Tools
Are you tired of dealing with the hassle of downloading, installing, and updating expensive word processing software? Look no further. With the advent of free online document tools, you can now write documents online for free without compromising on quality or functionality. In this article, we will explore how these tools can streamline your writing process and make your life easier.
Convenience and Accessibility
One of the biggest advantages of using free online document tools is the convenience and accessibility they offer. Gone are the days when you had to lug around a laptop or rely on a specific computer to work on your documents. With online tools, all you need is an internet connection and a device to access them.
Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on-the-go, these tools allow you to write and edit documents seamlessly. No matter where you are or what device you’re using – be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone – your work is always accessible. This flexibility gives you the freedom to work whenever inspiration strikes without being tied down to a specific location or device.
Collaboration Made Easy
Collaboration plays a crucial role in many writing projects. However, traditional word processing software often falls short when it comes to seamless collaboration. Free online document tools have revolutionized this aspect by providing real-time collaboration features that allow multiple users to work on a document simultaneously.
Whether you’re working on a team project or seeking feedback from colleagues or clients, these tools enable easy sharing and editing. You can invite others to collaborate by simply sending them a link or granting them access via email. This eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails with attachments and ensures everyone is working on the most up-to-date version of the document.
Versatility in Formatting and Styling
Formatting plays an essential role in creating professional-looking documents. Free online document tools offer a wide range of formatting options and styling features to help you achieve the desired look and feel for your documents.
From changing font styles and sizes to adjusting margins and line spacing, these tools provide a plethora of customization options. You can also insert headers, footers, tables, images, and hyperlinks effortlessly. Some tools even offer pre-designed templates that can save you time when creating documents with specific formatting requirements.
Enhanced Productivity with Automation
Another significant advantage of using free online document tools is the ability to automate repetitive tasks, saving you time and effort. These tools often come equipped with features like spell-checking, grammar correction, word count tracking, and auto-saving.
You no longer have to worry about losing your work due to power outages or accidental closing of a file without saving. The automatic saving feature ensures that your progress is continuously backed up in real-time. Additionally, the spell-checking and grammar correction features help polish your writing without the need for manual proofreading.
In conclusion, free online document tools have revolutionized the way we write and collaborate on documents. Their convenience, accessibility, collaboration features, formatting options, styling capabilities, and productivity enhancements make them indispensable for writers of all levels. So why wait? Streamline your writing process today by harnessing the power of these free online document tools.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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The Documentation Review Process: A Practical Guide
Category: Technical Documentation
Last updated on Mar 17, 2023
When you’re working on a project and have to conduct a documentation review, you might be confused about what exactly this process involves, who are the stakeholders, and the what the outcome of the review process might be. In this blog piece let us scratch the surface of the Document review process and its vitality to quality content.
Table of Contents
Definition of document review, different stages of document review, purpose of the documentation review, who conducts document reviews, what to look for during a documentation review, decide whether to run a peer review, how to conduct a document review, create custom workflow to facilitate peer review.
Documentation review is a process where the document goes through one or multiple stages of review and reviewers and the feedback gets amended in the document. The outcome of the document review process is that it enhances the accuracy and quality of the document.
Documentation review is one of the most time-consuming activities regarding end-user documentation. It requires much concentration and focuses since it’s not as simple as reading through the document and spotting grammatical errors or typos.
In fact, it’s much more complicated than that and requires scrutiny of every word, heading, sentence, and paragraph to ensure that there are no logical inconsistencies or gaps in information. You need to understand the structure of the document, identify the primary audience, evaluate its readability, identify any truncated sentences or sections that should be expanded, etc.
– The document is reviewed by a relevant to the core content of the document
– The document is reviewed by a senior writer, or an editor reviews the document’s for overall quality
– The document is reviewed by the Subject matter expert or the end users
– In case the document has to adhere to regulations and compliances set either by the industry, governing body, or the company the document is put through this review as well.
When you’re conducting a documentation review, the first thing you need to do is determine or understand the purpose of the review. This will determine the criteria you use to evaluate the document during the review and the length of the review.
For example, suppose you’re conducting a review of an internal employee training document. In that case, your primary goal will be to ensure that the document is accurate and that the information is presented in a way that’s both easy to understand and accessible to the employee. The outcome of the document should be that the employee is well-informed of the context after reading the document.
On the other hand, if you’re conducting a user manual review, your primary goal will be to ensure that the document conveys accurate, complete, and consistent information about the product or service to the end user.
For example , Let’s assume you are working on a user manual for an HR portal. You are reviewing an article on how users can reset their login password. In that case, you need to ensure the article contains the complete application process flow leading up to the Login screen, reset password button, and what happens after you have initiated the reset. Also, you must ensure the consistency of the business terms in the article.
Document review is done mostly by multiple reviewers and sometimes by a sole reviewer. The reviewers can be both in-house or independently hired reviewers. As far as personnel is concerned in the document review they can be other writers, Subject matter experts (SME), Editors, SEO personnel, or anyone relevant to the document for that matter.
Subject Matter Expert Review
A Subject Matter Expert (SME) can be anybody from your Developer, Engineer, Support manager, Analyst, etc., who has a comprehensive understanding of the core concept of your document.
For example , In a SaaS company, the developer can be considered a Subject matter expert as they develop the feature that the technical writer documents.
The role of the SME in the review process is crucial as they scope out all the technical gaps and inconsistencies in the document. It is not always the case that the document writer would be an expert on the technicalities of a feature compared to technical personnel working on the same product. Hence, Subject matter experts and Technical writers should work hand-in-hand on technical documents or product documentation .
When conducting a documentation review, you need to look for several things, including the quality of the writing, the structure of the document, the context provided, the flow of content, and the readability level of the document.
Let’s discuss these aspects in detail.
Quality of the writing – Whether you’re reviewing a user manual or training documentation , the quality of the writing is the first thing to look for when conducting a review. You must ensure that the document is free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. If the document is riddled with these kinds of errors, it will reflect poorly on your organization, especially if it is an end-user document meant for customers. One suggestion to aid you with the review is enforcing a custom or available Document style guide. You can also use third-party grammar check tools such as Grammarly to a certain extent.
Structure of the document – The structure of the document refers to how the information has been organized. If the document has a table of contents, you must review the table of contents and make a note of any inconsistencies. If the document does not have a table of contents, you must identify the primary sections and provide a summary of each section. Usage of the Heading tags (H1, H2, H3…) is highly recommended. Also, the document should follow a set document pattern, the most common being Introduction-Problem Statement-Resolution-Conclusion-References.
For example, Document360 editors (Markdown and WYSIWYG) lets you add Heading tags such as H2, H3, and H4 in your article. The platform also has the ability to autogenerate Table of Contents (TOC) based on the Heading tags provided in the article.
For example, in a product comparison document, a table explaining the differences between various products in the ERP platform should have enough detail to make the reader understand the differences and get insight into each product’s unique selling proposition (USP).
Flow of sentences – You also need to look for the flow of sentences. In other words, you need to ensure that each sentence flows easily into the next one and that there are no abrupt or truncated sentences. If a sentence ends abruptly in the middle of a thought, this will confuse the reader. At the same time, you also have to be cautious to keep your sentences concise and complete at the same time.
Readability level of the document – You also need to look for the readability level of the document. This means that you need to evaluate the document according to the Flesch Reading Ease score. The lower the score, the more difficult the document is to read. Many CMS (Content management system) platforms provide an option or integration to measure the document’s readability.
For example, Document360 provides a Health check metric feature where authors can get insights on an article’s SEO health and Readability metrics. This feature assesses metrics such as Sentence/paragraph length, sub-heading distribution, and Readability score.
Also Read: Tips to keep a healthy knowledge base
Schedule a demo with one of our experts to take a deeper dive into Document360
When conducting a documentation review, you must also decide whether to run a peer review. In other words, you must choose whether to have independent or internal team reviewers proof the documentation.
It would be best if you considered several factors when deciding whether to run a peer review, including the nature of the documentation, size, and importance.
If the documentation is extremely important, it would be worthwhile to spend the extra money to hire an independent reviewer. You can also decide to go in for in-house peer reviews for different aspects of the document.
If you decide to hire an independent reviewer to conduct a peer review of your documentation, you must do so fairly and transparently. You must provide detailed instructions about what needs to be reviewed and what should be done during the review process. You can also provide feedback from previous reviews to give the reviewer a clear idea of what needs to be done during the review process.
Before you hire the reviewer, you must have a clear understanding of the deliverables from the reviewer. You must also agree to the terms and the timeline for review completion. It would be best if you also were transparent about the purpose of the review and the criteria used to evaluate the review.
If you decide to run an in-house or internal review, you can apply similar criteria, but you can add multiple levels of review and include multiple personnel if required. This will reflect in the review being optimal and guarantee you high-quality documentation.
Also Read: How to Create Document and Workflow for Business Process
At Document360, all our documentation goes through 5 levels of peer review before publication.
- Draft – Self-review based on a style guide
- L1 review – Peer writer review
- L2 review – Engineering team review
- L3 review – Editor review
- L4 review – SEO aspect and personnel review
We use the ‘ Workflow ‘ feature in the Document360 product to help us manage the peer review process. This allows us to add multiple levels of review, assign reviewers, record feedback, set due dates, and track revisions. The different phases of the review can also be custom set by the Document360 project owner or admin.
Want to find out how Document360’s Workflow feature helps to streamline the process? Check out the video below:
Once the article is drafted by the Author/Document writer, they use the assign feature in the ‘Workflow assignment’ option to assign different users accounts in Document360 for each of the review phases.
Additionally, they can also set due dates for each of the review. This will trigger a notification to the assignee/peer reviewer with information about the article name, assigner, and due date.
The peer reviewer then reviews the article for a specific aspect like grammar or technicality. Once the review is complete the peer reviewer can add the comments for the article in the ‘Workflow status’ section or use the ‘Discussions’ board in Article settings.
This helps us maintain a record of the peer reviews the article has undergone and the comments/feedback received from those reviews.
An intuitive technical documentation software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!
The document review process’s importance is on par with the drafting of the content itself. A new perspective is sometimes what is lacking from specific documents. The document review process ensures that if the document needs to be kept in a style guide’s lane, that also happens. A documentation review is also important because it can help improve the final product’s quality. If the documentation has been reviewed and edited beforehand, there is a lower chance that minor errors will be missed and made into the final product.
Also, taking into account the future of technical documentation and its sustainability, the quality of documents achieved using the document review process is very important. With the penetration of Artificial Intelligence in customer service, such as Voice assistants, quality support documentation can make a whole world of difference when fulfilling customer needs and queries.
The final thought is that the document review process and the framework to facilitate the review are impeccable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of documentation review.
Following completion of the document, it is subjected to the following reviews: peer reviews by colleagues, technical reviews by experts, editorial reviews by colleagues or editors, and managerial reviews by supervisors.
What are the 4 C’s of documentation?
The CSI 4-C’s, Clear/Concise/Correct/Complete helps improve the communication of your construction documents.
What is the purpose of document review?
There are two purposes of a document review. The first step is to determine which internal papers are relevant to a particular case. The second is for attorneys to fulfil their legal obligations when an opposing party requests essential litigation papers.
Dec 22, 2022
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Documentation Review Process: What is It & How to do It Fast
Documentation is a crucial aspect of any business process. It helps in preserving institutional knowledge, ensuring compliance with regulations, and facilitating the transfer of information across various teams. However, documentation is not a one-time process. To ensure its accuracy and relevance, organizations need to conduct periodic reviews. From defining the process to outlining the stages, benefits, and key considerations, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to streamline your documentation review process and ensure your business is operating at its best.
What is Documentation Review?
Documentation review is the process of analyzing and evaluating existing documents to ensure their accuracy, completeness, and relevance. It helps organizations identify gaps in their documentation, employees to follow regulatory guidelines, and maintain high-quality standards within the company. Documentation review can be applied to a wide range of documents, including policies, procedures, manuals, contracts, and agreements.
Stages Of the Process
The documentation review process can be divided into the following stages:
Defining the scope of the review, identifying the documents to be reviewed, and establishing review timelines.
Gathering the necessary documents and creating a system for organizing and tracking the review process.
Conducting a thorough analysis of the documentation for accuracy, completeness, and compliance with relevant standards and guidelines.
Sharing feedback and recommendations with relevant stakeholders, including document owners and reviewers.
Making necessary changes and updates to ensure conformity and accuracy, by incorporating feedback and advice into the documentation.
Continuously tracking and reviewing documentation to ensure ongoing compliance and accuracy.
Benefits: Why to do it?
There are several aspects that can turn out to be beneficial for companies that successfully review their documentation process, such as:
1. Enhances Quality Control
With a documentation review process in place, you can ensure that your organization's records are accurate and complete, resulting in improved overall quality and a decreased risk of errors and omissions.
2. Reduces Legal Risks
Conducting a documentation review process can help you avoid legal risks by identifying compliance issues in your documentation and taking corrective action to minimize the potential for violations or fines.
3. Improves Efficiency
A well-organized documentation review process can streamline operations and reduce the time and effort required to create, maintain, and update documentation.
4. Promotes Accountability
Regular documentation reviews promote accountability within an organization by reinforcing the importance of document accuracy and responsibility for maintaining up-to-date records.
5. Facilitates Collaboration
By involving relevant stakeholders in the documentation review process, you can promote communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing across different departments and functions.
6. Increases Transparency
A documented review process promotes transparency and helps build trust among employees, customers, and other stakeholders by demonstrating that your organization is committed to accuracy, compliance, and quality.
Who is in charge of doing it?
The responsibility for conducting a documentation review rests within the management team. Nonetheless, specific roles and responsibilities can vary depending on the organization's size, structure, and industry. In some cases, a dedicated documentation team may be responsible for conducting the review process, whereas in others, it may be the duty of the quality assurance team or compliance team. This delegating responsibilities is one of the roles of a team leader.
A tool that can be beneficial for businesses that need to document their process in a precise and productive manner is Uphint . This digital tool saves time in building and maintaining up-to-date documents, workflows and procedures . With Uphint, employees can automatically create step-by-step guides with screenshots according to the processes they execute in their computer. You can check how it works in step by step template .
This software will record all writings, clicks and actions that you do on your computer and transform them into how-to guides screenshot tutorials, with the necessary instructions and explanations that you need on it. Once your document is created, you can edit it and share it in multiple ways, such as in PDF or even embed it to different platforms and websites.
What are the Steps in Document Review?
The steps involved in a documentation review process include:
1. Defining the scope and objectives of the review process
2. identifying the documents to be reviewed, 3. collecting and analyzing data, 4. identifying areas for improvement, 5. developing action plans, 6. implementing the action plans, 7. monitoring and evaluating the outcomes, key considerations for conducting a documentation review.
When conducting a documentation review, it is essential to pay attention to specific aspects to guarantee the quality and reliability of your organization's records. These aspects include:
The content of the documents being reviewed is crucial to the success of the review process. The reviewer should ensure that all relevant information is included and that it is accurate and up-to-date. The content should also be presented in a clear and concise manner, with all necessary details and explanations.
The structure of a document affects its readability and usability. It should always be properly reviewed whether the document is well-organized, easy to navigate, and includes the appropriate headings and subheadings.
3. Language and Style
The language used in the documentation should be clear, concise, and free from jargon. The style of the documentation should be consistent throughout, and the tone should be appropriate for the intended audience.
The formatting of the documentation should be consistent with the organization's standards, including font, font size, margins, and spacing. The use of graphics, tables, and other visual aids should be appropriate and enhance the understanding of the content.
The documentation should comply with relevant regulations, standards, and best practices. The evaluator should have a proper understanding of the applicable requirements and make sure that the documentation meets them.
6. User Experience
The documentation should be designed with the end-user in mind, ensuring that it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It should be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, and should be available in multiple formats as appropriate.
7. Review Process
The process should be well-defined, with clear roles and responsibilities for all involved. The process should be documented and communicated to all relevant stakeholders to ensure consistency and transparency.
By considering these key elements when conducting a documentation review, organizations can ensure that their records are accurate, complete, and consistent, and that they comply with applicable regulations and standards.
On the other hand, if you are interested in learning more about documentation, the article What is Internal Documentation might be useful for you.
Meet the document review process steps .
Best Practices for Reviewing Documents: Do It Fast
When it comes to reviewing documents, efficiency is key. Here are some best practices to follow in order to conduct a fast yet effective document review process:
1. Establishing Review Criteria
The first step in a fast document review process is to establish clear review criteria. This involves identifying the purpose of the review, the audience for the document, and any specific guidelines or standards that must be followed.
2. Identifying Reviewers
Once the review criteria have been established, the next step is to identify the reviewers who will be responsible for reviewing the document. This can involve selecting subject matter experts or other relevant stakeholders who can provide valuable feedback.
3. Gathering Documentation
With the reviewers identified, the next step is to gather all of the relevant documentation that will be reviewed. This can involve collecting multiple versions of the document, as well as any supporting materials or reference documents that may be needed.
4. Reviewing the Document
When the documentation has been gathered, the reviewers can begin the process of reviewing the document. A typical process includes reading the document in its entirety and taking notes on any issues or areas that require further review.
5. Providing Feedback
After the review has been completed, the reviewers should provide feedback to the document owner. This can involve highlighting specific areas that need to be revised or improved, as well as providing general comments and suggestions for improvement.
6. Revising the Document
Based on the feedback provided by the reviewers, the document owner can begin the process of revising the document. This may involve making minor edits or major revisions, depending on the nature of the feedback received.
7. Approving the Document
Once the revisions have been executed, the document owner should review the document one final time before approving it for distribution. Thus, companies can make sure that the document is accurate, complete, and consistent with organizational standards.
8. Maintaining the Document
Finally, it is important to maintain the document and keep it up-to-date over time. In order to achieve this, it is important to establish a clear process for version control and to have future revisions properly reviewed and approved before being distributed.
Nevertheless, if you desire to know more about documentation softwares, you may be interested in learning about the Best 25 Software Documentation tools 2023 .
In summary, regular documentation reviews are an essential component of maintaining effective record-keeping practices within an organization. By establishing clear review criteria, identifying reviewers, gathering documentation, and implementing a streamlined review process, organizations can quickly and efficiently identify any issues or areas requiring further attention. Providing timely feedback and revising documents as necessary ensures that records are up-to-date and accurately reflect the organization's operations. Implementing best practices for documentation review not only improves record-keeping practices but also reduces the risk of legal liability and promotes a culture of accountability within the organization. Companies should take into account that nowadays, the ability to conduct documentation reviews quickly and efficiently is key to staying ahead of the competition and ensuring long-term success.
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Document Review Process: Restructuring Creative Workflows
Documentation is a crucial and labor-intensive task that requires a lot of focus and attention. The document review process is an integral part of the documentation workflow to ensure the quality and accuracy of organizational data. Sometimes an orthographic pitfall can be embarrassing enough to cost you your business reputation.
An impeccable document review process can save your day from any technical errors or discrepancies over intended purposes. Embracing new technological software in the documentation workflow can enhance document quality and help utilize time more productively. This blog explores what the review process is and how vital it is to enhance document quality.
What is Documentation Review?
The document review process involves a series of steps that have a unified focus on ensuring the quality and accuracy of end-user documents. Document review is commonly known to be just skimming and spotting grammatical errors to make a document error-free. But the real meaning of documentation review i s much more than spotting errors.
The reviewing process not only involves eliminating typos and grammatical mistakes but also pays heed to logical mismatches, poor readability, and information gaps. The documentation review process should also focus on the document structure and style formats. Thus, the right review process ensures that a particular document adheres to the defined style guide and format, making it a high-quality one.
Although reviewing documents starts at the drafting stage itself, it thoroughly checks the document to make sure that it is ready to use/publish. Document review helps fulfill the intended perspective of the document and satisfy the end user’s needs and queries. An exquisite document review never compromises the content quality and also will never let the wow factor of the document diminish.
Why is Document Review Process Necessary?
Document review is important for several reasons that are vital for effective and quality documentation. Document review is an important process that helps ensure accuracy, identify potential issues, ensure compliance, save costs, and mitigate risk. This helps everyone involved know the importance of the review process.
Planning the review cycles with the right reviewer will help organizations determine what is needed for the documentation review and approval process and decide on the expected results. This helps businesses identify the right solution, cut down on exorbitant documentation costs, and manage the associated time efficiently.
A thorough review process is necessary as it can help documentation with the following:
- Ensure Accuracy: Reviewing documents ensures that the information contained within them is accurate and free of errors. This is particularly important in legal and medical documents, where inaccuracies can have serious consequences.
- Identify Potential Issues: Reviewing documents can help identify potential issues in advance, allowing for proactive measures to be taken. For example, a legal document review may identify clauses that could be problematic, allowing for adjustments to be made before signing.
- Ensure Compliance: Many industries are subject to regulatory compliance requirements that require document reviews to ensure adherence to specific requirements.
- Save Costs: Document reviews can identify duplicate or unnecessary information, leading to cost savings through streamlined processes and reduced document storage needs.
- Mitigate Risk: Document reviews can help mitigate risks that emerge from legal disputes by identifying potential regulatory claims before they become larger problems.
Types of Document Review Process
Reviewing documents is a complex process, and being aware of the complexities will help you avoid common pitfalls. Knowing the review document type, the review purpose, and its importance helps you determine the required evaluation or review stages.
You should proactively decide on the reviewer groups and time slots that are to be set up in the workflow. Deciding how many reviewers are required and whether they should be internal or external teams ensures the feasibility of the process. This will ensure that the review is done well and provide you with documentation of the highest caliber.
The process of document review falls into the following categories:
- Legal document review
- Regulatory document review
- Technical document review
- Business document review
- Manuscript review
Legal Document Review Process:
Legal documents need to be reviewed with more responsibility since they hold more sensitive and confidential data. Reviewing legal documents involves two distinct steps. Identifying the pertinent documents and evaluating the same in case of disputes that require document redaction (fully or partially) from other parties or the production team due to their confidentiality.
- The goal of document review is to make sure that the document meets the accuracy standards and adheres to the regulations without taking a call on data security.
- Document review is an inevitable thing in legal documentation as per GDPR and CCPA (regulatory authorities), which require legal policies, notices, contracts, or any other form of legal documents to be documented in plain language to enhance user readability
- Simple language in legal documents can help customers understand the document and be more informed about their stance or decisions.
“I have read and agreed to the terms” is the “biggest lie on the web”, claims the site Terms of Service; Didn’t Read (ToS; DR). – This statement, in a way, puts forth that poor readability in such documents hinders user engagement.
Legal teams collect huge volumes of the dataset and analyze it to understand and find information. Based on the facts and evidence, legal teams create judicial theories and manage them to identify the key witnesses in a case. The legal teams cull the collected data to find the right claims to be deposed. This in turn has put pressure on the legal teams to find automated solutions to narrow down these data volumes and streamline their management.
Who Does The Review?
Since there are several types of document reviews, who does the review depends on the nature of the documents being reviewed and the purpose of the review. Document reviews can be conducted by a variety of professionals who have expertise in reviewing and analyzing documents. It can be a technical expert, Subject Matter Expert (SME), technical writer, editor, SEO analyst, support engineer, or anyone relevant to the document for that matter. Be it a legal document or contract, regulatory compliance, financial reports, marketing materials, or manuscripts, a thorough review is necessary to improve clarity, coherence, accuracy, and relevance.
Reviewing legal documents by available subject matter experts is risky enough to lose the originality of the documentation. So, it is of the utmost importance to seek advice from legal experts while reviewing a legal document . They help predict the confidentiality of the documents and take the necessary steps.
The review team may decide which papers should have access to their contents completely or partly redacted or designated as private to prevent their exposure. To keep track of such situations, the team may also create privilege and/or redaction records.
Also Read: How to Get Your Documents Approved Faster?
Stages of Document Review Process
The documentation review process has different stages that validate the information in end-user documents. Reviewing a document through different stages deters the end-user from acquiring unintended information/knowledge. Inputs from past evaluations will help the reviewer have a clear understanding of what needs to be done throughout the document review process .
Several factors like review document size, importance, structure, and purpose influence review stages. Multi-stage reviews reflect and reward you with high-quality documentation.
- Self-Review: This check by the reviewer is essential to avoid any grammatical or orthographic mistakes. It can be termed the initial stage of review and is a must-have check for any type of document review.
- Peer Review: The relevancy of the content is reviewed here. Any kind of irrelevant content can end up changing the entire tone of the document. Peer reviewers watch for the content structure and the intended flow. Some documents will require peer review, while others won’t. It is the responsibility of the documenter to decide on peer review.
- Editor Review: This review is done by the seniors or editors to enhance the quality. Document standards and a check for style formats are done at this stage.
- Stakeholder Review: This review is done by the end user or the SEO experts. This review stage is done before the publishing stage, or reaching the end user. This stage primarily focuses on enhancing the user experience.
- Compliance Review: This review looks at the regulations and their compliance with the legal claims. This is a mandatory stage while reviewing legal documents. Any misleading information in such legal papers can create judicial disputes, so it requires much attention while reviewing.
Steps For the Seamless Document Review Process
Documentation review is a collective and strategic process that requires prior planning and preparation. Document review is considered complicated not just because it requires more focus and attention, but also because the strategy involved and the optimization of the entire process require more attention to detail.
Specifying what has to be evaluated and what should be done throughout the review process will make the process of reviewing documents more seamless. You must have a clear knowledge of the reviewer’s deliverables involved in the review.
Clear review objectives and evaluation standards will be the game-changer here. Usually, the documentation workflow cycle involves stages of planning, pre-review preparation, review, correction, validation, and approval.
This stage involves identifying the purpose of the document review , determining the scope of the review, establishing review objectives, and defining review standards and protocols.
This stage involves setting up the document review system, gathering all relevant documents and data, reviewing the relevant laws and regulations, preparing review guidelines and checklists, and establishing a review timeline.
This stage involves the actual review of documents, which may include reading, analyzing, categorizing, coding, and tagging documents as per the guidelines and checklists prepared during the preparation stage.
This stage involves checking the quality and accuracy of the review work conducted during the review stage and verifying that all relevant documents have been reviewed according to the established procedures and guidelines.
Validation and Approval:
This stage involves preparing and submitting a report summarizing the findings from the review, including any identified issues or concerns, recommendations for improvements, and any remedial actions taken or proposed.
This stage involves tracking and monitoring the implementation of the recommendations and remedial actions identified in the report. It is not necessary in case the document is published or at the end-user level.
These steps make the documentation review process more efficient and make workflows more cost-effective. Knowledge of review goals and accomplishing what should be done ensure the readiness to provide high-quality documentation. Not everyone involved in the review process will necessarily agree with the goals and objectives.
Creating a customized workflow will be a major step toward achieving such readiness. As far as cost reduction is a vital growth element for the business bottom line, in-house documentation review software will be a stress-free and cost-effective option. In such instances, investing in the right documentation workflow software is a wise choice.
End-to-end workflow automation
Build fully-customizable, no code process workflows in a jiffy., what to look for during a documentation review: making the review a win-win .
The goal of a documentation review is to make the document more accurate, complete, consistent, clear, compliant, accessible, and timely. A few criteria to look for when reviewing a document are:
- Accuracy: Ensure that the information provided in the documentation is correct, complete, and up-to-date. Providing reliable information helps build fair trust relationships among your customers.
- Completeness: Check to see whether all the necessary information has been included and if nothing is missing. The organized flow of sentences drives the tone of the document and makes it structured. This boosts the user’s readability, resulting in enhanced quality.
- Consistency: Ensure that the documentation is consistent in terms of formatting, language, style, and tone. Adherence to such specific aspects in a consistent manner will help reach your intended audience with ease.
- Format & Clarity: Check to see if the documentation is organized in a logical and easy-to-understand format. Ensure that the language used in the documentation is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
- Compliance: Check to see if the documentation complies with relevant standards, regulations, and policies. This check is mandatory when you review legal claims, finance documents, and contracts.
- Accessibility: Ensure that the documentation is accessible, i.e., it can be viewed and understood by its intended audience. Using custom review software can aid easy accessibility of the document to the intended audience and restrict access in cases of shared databases.
- Timeliness: Check to see if the documentation is delivered on time and update it regularly to keep it relevant and useful. Updation is a vital part of the documentation as it vanguard users in various ways.
Being transparent about the goal of the review, the review kind, what’s to be done while reviewing documents, and available review tools gets you there. Reviewing documents for privilege, confidentiality, and relevance will never let your sensitive data lose its security or quality standards.
How to Identify The Right Documentation Software
Choosing a document review software can be a daunting task as there are many options available on the market. Knowing the unique features and technological functions of the tool will be the deciding factor. Here are some queries that will help you choose the best document review software:
- Purpose: Determine why you need document review software and what features you are looking for. Do you need it for legal review or regulatory compliance purposes?
- Ease of use: Is the software easy to use and understand? Is it user-friendly? Does it have a user-friendly interface?
- Security: Never sacrifice your stand on security. Look for software that has data encryption and multi-factor authentication. Ensure that the software protects your data and files.
- Collaboration: Does the software allow multiple users to collaborate on a single document? Can they view, comment, and edit documents in real time?
- Cost-effectiveness: Consider the price of the software and whether it fits within your budget. Look for software that offers a free trial period or has a demo version available.
- Customer support: Look for software that offers excellent customer support or resources such as tutorials, FAQs, and community forums.
- Compatibility with the trend: Ensure that the software is compatible with your existing systems or software. Invest in advanced cloud-based software to propel your documentation workflow without any hurdles.
Businesses that value data security and a quicker turnaround consider investing in advanced software which has high cost and security advantages. Automated solutions like Cflow foster better streamlining of business procedures while maintaining better document control throughout all stages of the review process.
As businesses thrive, all the key business processes are up for expansion and improvement. And whenever processes expand their scope, the data volumes handled by them also increase. The solutions that scale will be the realistic option to invest in to achieve sustainable document management. Rising organizational pressure to reduce ad-hoc costs should not impact spending on document review solutions .
Be wise to choose a solution like Cflow that scales to bring routine document review in-house. This facilitates your business’s ability to maximize the utilization of resources, thereby offering huge savings and security benefits. Modern documentation tools help organizations pivot their spending to more complex and high-risk areas of productivity.
Level up your review process with Cflow – Experience frictionless document management by signing up today !
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How to review documents in 5 easy steps
September 14, 2023
From marketing to legal teams, document reviews are essential. They help to make sure your content is accurate and free from embarrassing mistakes. And in some cases, they can even prevent costly legal proceedings.
The trouble is, document review in Google Docs or Office 365 is a nightmare for everyone involved. These documents evolve with each edit, spawning new versions every few minutes. This makes tracking the journey of your document review feel like a mission impossible – especially once a comment is marked as resolved.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! With an organized document review process in place and the help of document review software , everything becomes much more straightforward.
In this guide I’ll deep dive into the document review process, explaining how it works, what to look for in document review, and how tools can simplify and help you consistently review files.
Supercharge your document reviews
Share content, get feedback, and manage approvals with Filestage.
What is a document review?
A document review is the process of checking a document to make sure it’s ready to be used or published. This usually involves reading the document, checking the sources, and making sure any data points are accurate.
Traditionally, people would leave their feedback on documents using pen and paper. But this can get messy when multiple people need to take part in a single document review. Not to mention impossible when you’re all working in different places and you need to be able to review relevant data remotely. That’s where an online document review process comes in.
What is a document review process?
A document review process is a series of steps and stakeholders that your document needs to go through before it’s ready to be used or published. When it’s set up just right, a lot of this process can be automated, giving you peace of mind that your work will be reviewed and approved by all the right people.
One way to set up your process is with Filestage’s document review software. You can invite people to different steps in your document review process – for example: marketing, product, or legal teams. Then you can upload relevant documents and collaborate on new versions until everyone’s happy.
How to review documents using a document review platform
With Filestage, the document review process is broken down into five easy steps:
- Upload your files to a review platform
- Invite people to review your files
- Collect feedback and collaborate in the comments
- Keep versions organized and easy to find
- See the status of all your files at a glance
1. Upload your documents to a review platform
Before you start, you’ll need to sign up for a free trial of Filestage. Once you’re up and running, you’ll be able to create a project, give it a name, and start uploading your files.
When it comes to uploading files, Filestage works like WeTransfer and Dropbox – you just drag and drop them into your project.
But that’s where the similarities end.
Filestage is a complete review software for document feedback, collaboration, version management , and approval. As you’ll discover over the next four steps, it brings everything together and speeds up your review rounds so you can finally focus on creating your best work.
Filestage supports everything from PDFs to PowerPoint files (plus all your other file formats)
Here are all the document formats you can upload and review with Filestage:
- DOC (Microsoft Word)
- DOCX (Microsoft Word Open XML)
- XLSX (Microsoft Excel Open XML)
- PPTX (Microsoft PowerPoint Open XML)
You can also import live Google Docs and Office 365 files as live website reviews. But that’s not all! Filestage also supports a wide range of other file types, including videos, images, audio, and interactive HTML. So whatever you’re creating, you can review it with Filestage.
2. Invite people to review your files
Once you’ve uploaded your content, it’s time to share files with the reviewers. That’s where review steps come in.
In Filestage, a review step is a group of people who need to review your document before it’s used or published. They’re a handy way of keeping feedback focused on specific topics, instead of getting bombarded by everyone all at once.
Here are some of the most common review steps review teams use in Filestage:
- Account management
- Legal document review
And once you’ve set up your review steps, you can use the same process for all relevant files in your review projects. All you have to do is drag and drop the next document into your project, then it’ll be shared with all the right people automatically.
Set due dates to send automated feedback reminders
Tired of chasing stakeholders for feedback and approval? Then you’ll love Filestage’s due date feature!
You can set a date and time that you need feedback for every file and review step. This helps your review team prioritize their document reviews and work out what to focus on next. And if they forget to give feedback, Filestage will send them a gentle nudge to help keep your document review moving forward.
Ah, isn’t the future a wonderful place?
3. Collect feedback and collaborate in the comments
Now for the fun part!
Filestage is packed with features to help you collect and review comments and collaborate on documents with teammates and clients. This helps to make feedback more engaging for your reviewers while saving you a tonne of time collecting everyone’s comments.
Here are all the great ways you can give feedback and collaborate in Filestage:
- Zoom, rotate, and drag to hone in on every detail of your file
- Click anywhere to create a marker and add review comments
- Highlight text and add comments to give feedback on a specific word or sentence
- Strikeout text to show which parts should be deleted
- Draw annotations to make feedback clearer and more visual
- Add references and important assets as attachments, or edit comments for a clear and straightforward feedback
- Tag and add people in a comment thread to bring them into the conversation
- Post team-only comments and replies to talk privately with your teammates
Click on a comment to jump to that part of your document
Ever had a piece of feedback over email on a complex file like a legal document, and wondered what on earth they were talking about? With Filestage, all you have to do is click on the comment to highlight the exact word or sentence.
No more getting the wrong end of the stick.
No more calling meetings to clarify comments.
Just clear, consolidated feedback – all in one place.
4. Keep versions organized and easy to find
When you use tools like Google Docs and Office 365 for document reviews, one big issue stands out above all the rest: version control .
Wondering which version is the latest.
Getting feedback on an old version.
Reviewers making copies, editing the content directly, and sharing them with the marketing, product, or legal teams as if your version never existed.
Filestage puts those problems in the past by keeping an automated version history of all your reviewing documents – complete with every comment and annotation.
You can access previous versions at any time from your project dashboard or file viewer. And you can even export review reports if you need to audit a document’s end-to-end approval journey.
Compare versions side by side to see what’s changed
For stakeholders, one of the most important parts of the document review process is making sure their feedback has been met.
Filestage makes this easy by letting them view any two versions side by side, along with all the comments. So instead of searching through email chains or trying to find old comments in Google Docs and Office 365, they can review the latest version faster.
Learn more about file comparison software .
5. See the status of all your documents at a glance
Last but not least, you need to get your documents approved.
In Filestage, your reviewers have a choice between two buttons every time they finish reviewing a file:
- ✓ Approve
- ↻ Request changes
This instantly changes their status indicator to green or orange, depending on the choice they make after they’ve finished reviewing the document. So you can easily see which shared files need more work and which ones can move on to the next review step. This is particularly helpful if you’re reviewing a financial or a legal document with a strict deadline.
Make stakeholders accountable to keep quality high
Gone are the days of wondering who’s approved what or losing track of which documents you still need to review.
In Filestage, every approval is timestamped and connected to a specific version. So if something gets published that shouldn’t have, you can go through your document’s review history to see where it all went wrong.
Et voila! The document review process in five simple steps.
What should you look for when reviewing a document?
Whenever you review a document, you’re usually looking out for anything that could cause your brand or business harm.
Here are a few examples:
- Typos and spelling mistakes: These can cause a lot of embarrassment for brands and marketers, especially if your misspelled headline is plastered across the country.
- Fact-checking: If you’re reviewing a document that includes statistics or data points, you should double-check the sources and numbers to make sure they’re accurate. In the worst cases – especially when reviewing medical, financial, or legal files – publishing false information can lead to huge fines.
- Context: For individual files like product brochures, it’s important to make sure the copy and images work together. After all, you don’t want an image of a suit next to a line of text about a dress.
How to ask someone to review a document
To ask someone to review a document in Filestage, simply invite them to a review step in your project. They’ll immediately have access to all the files in that review step, including the full version history. You can also send them a link to the document review by email or chat – like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
The following steps will help you to get the most out of the document review:
1. Make it clear why you’re asking them to review the document
Do you want reviewers to verify your sources? Are you trying to get feedback on the design aspect of the document? Or if you’re happy with the majority of the content and just want a specific paragraph checked, let your reviewers know.
When asking someone to review a document, make it clear exactly what you want them to review to prevent them from providing feedback on parts that you’re already set with.
2. Give reviewers an easy way to review files
By email, it can be hard for people to fully explain themselves. Screenshots, long-winded descriptions, hand-drawn illustrations – it can get confusing!
With online document review services like Filestage, reviewers can provide their feedback in a clear and visual way. Here’s how:
- In-context comments: tap anywhere on the file to leave a comment in real time
- Annotations: draw on videos, images, and files to bring comments to life
- Attachments: attach files to your comments to share references, company logos, and anything else your review team may need
3. Ask follow-up questions to get to the root of the feedback
If you aren’t quite sure what a comment means, or you need a little more guidance, Filestage makes it easy to collaborate and follow up. You can reply directly to comments, highlight specific aspects of the document, and ultimately find a stress-free solution.
What’s specific about a legal document review?
There are various types of document reviews, and all of them have some specifics. But one pretty unique type of review is the legal document review. Whether you’re working in an international law firm or in a small legal team, your legal experience must have taught you about how rigorous and tedious the legal process is.
All legal files require incredible amount of attention to detail from a document reviewer. Because of the tight deadlines, and risk of losing cases by missing small details in their documents, law firms often hire document review attorneys to go over all privileged documents and assure accuracy.
For that reason, it’s even more important that law firms implement a repeatable review protocol helping their legal teams keep all files organized and reviewed in time.
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve learned a lot about how to review documents and why the document review process is so important.
From company policies to marketing copy, document review tools make the feedback and approval process better for everyone. If you’d like to give it a try with Filestage, request a trial and take it for a spin!
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What is a document review process (and how to do one)
Catherine mcnally, gathercontent contributor, writer, 9 minuteread.
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For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Plain Writing Act in the U.S. make it a requirement to translate legalese into plain language. But doing so without help from your legal and compliance teams is dangerous and puts you and your company at risk.
This is why forging strong relationships with your company’s legal and compliance specialists is important. By collaborating with them, you can ensure your content meets legal requirements and regulations while also being easily understood by your customers.
It’s also extremely helpful to use a tool like GatherContent to manage your document review process. This ensures every stakeholder gets a chance to review and sign off on your document and reduces the chance critical steps could get skipped.
Keep reading to find out how your legal and compliance teams can help you during your document review process, including the best questions to ask them when crafting your content.
What is a document review process?
When creating content such as legal contracts and terms, a document review process means that piece of content goes through stages of review. Each review stage is typically completed by a stakeholder or subject matter expert. In this case, that includes your company’s legal and compliance teams.
The goal of the document review process is not to make creating content tedious. Instead, it’s to ensure the final product is accurate and meets quality standards.
Why is a document review process important?
It’s always risky to create a legal document without a review process in place. This is especially true after the addition of regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which made it a requirement for legal content like contracts, notices, and policies to use plain language.
“This was to ensure that customers can read and understand legal agreements given to them by companies before they made a purchase (or opted into allowing cookies),” says Frances Gordon, co-founder of Simplified , a consultancy that trains professionals to meet plain language requirements required by consumer rights laws. “This enables your customers to make informed decisions.”
Despite requirements for plain language, many online contracts are still unreadable for everyday consumers. The site Terms of Service; Didn’t Read (ToS;DR) even goes so far as to claim that “I have read and agree to the terms” is the “biggest lie on the web.”
The site acts as a plain language translator for the terms of service belonging to popular websites like Facebook, Amazon, and PayPal. It also provides a grade for each site’s terms of service, with a better grade signifying a terms-of-service contract that respects consumers’ digital privacy.
After looking at the ToS;DR site, it’s evident most businesses don’t write these policies in a way that’s friendly and understandable for their audience. Further studies support that thought. Visual Capitalist noted that Microsoft’s service agreement would take over an hour to read , while the shortest agreement (Twitter’s) would take 24 minutes.
Learn more: Watch Frances Gordon’s webinar with GatherContent
How to do a legal document review
As a writer, meeting with different stakeholders —including legal and compliance—is key to conducting a legal document review. This not only helps you maintain the integrity of the document, but ensures it meets the needs and expectations of all stakeholders.
Here are the main stages of a legal document review and what’s involved with each step:
1. Meet with your subject matter experts
When writing or rewriting a legal document, your company’s legal team is likely your main source of subject matter experts. It’s a good idea to get them involved early in the document review process so your content meets any specific legal requirements they’re familiar with.
It may even be best to sit down with them before you start writing so you can understand what the contract says first. This step also applies if you’re writing content related to a contract or policy, for example, a customer service message that refers to your company’s cancelation policy.
Questions to ask your legal team
When you meet with your legal team, remember their goal for contracts and policies is to remove legal risk for your company. To dig deeper and develop a better understanding of how the particular legal document or content that refers you’re writing can remove risk, Gordon recommends starting with these questions:
- Who is the contract between? Is it a contract between a customer and one single company or a group of companies? You should also understand whether the contract is for consumers or a business, then further define who it’s for. This could be a contract for users of a website, customers who purchased a service, subscribers of a service, and plenty of other possibilities.
- What kind of exchange takes place? This is the “nexus” of the contract, and it should describe what the contract parties agree to. For example, the nexus could be, “We are giving access to an app and you are paying a monthly fee for using the app .”
- If there has been litigation, ask what litigation has occurred and whether the contract could help mitigate any risk .
- When is the contract agreed to? Is it agreed to when the service is used, the website is accessed, or when a button is clicked to give consent?
- What are the main risks this contract should protect against? This could include arbitration or class action waivers, for example.
Next, you’ll also want to gather info about the scope of the legal document from your compliance team.
Questions to ask your compliance team
Generally, your compliance department wants to ensure any legal content complies with laws and regulations that promote fairness and transparency. To help ensure your legal documents meet those goals, here are some questions to ask:
- What regulations apply to these types of contracts? You should know what kind of contract you’re crafting after speaking with your legal team, but if not, be sure to ask.
- Why was this regulation created? Understanding the why behind certain regulations can help you decide the best way to present the information.
- Is there anything we need to emphasize according to the regulation? If yes, why and what is the intention behind it? How does emphasizing this protect consumers?
- Do any of these regulations impact how we communicate our terms and conditions? For example, a need to use plain language.
- Does the existing contract contain everything we need, or is there anything else we need to include? Do we need to rewrite any parts of the existing contract because they risk going against regulations?
- Is there a prescribed format or any prescribed content? For example, a prescribed format could be how interest rates are represented, while a prescribed format could be a requirement for a durable medium, enabling the consumer to store information in a way that’s accessible for future reference.
Gordon notes that, for the last question, it’s good to get specific. You should ask if any aspects of the contract need to be emphasized and whether that means you need to use bold, italics, or upper case—or all three styles.
2. Editor review
Next, have your editor review your draft and ensure it’s grammatically correct and well written.
But don’t worry about translating into plain language just yet. You’ll tackle that in the next step with help from your legal specialist.
3. Stakeholder review
At this point, you’ll want to check back in with your legal team for a stakeholder review. While your initial chat gave you info about the foundation and intent of the contract or policy, this chat is intended to help you translate the document into plain language.
Change legalese to plain language
One trick Gordon recommends is to first look at the legal document and circle any words that might be confusing to you or to consumers. After you’ve gone through the whole document, add the circled words to a drafting table like the one below.
Once you’ve added all the circled words to the drafting table, sit down with your legal and compliance teams to fill in the rest of the info, including:
- What’s the common use of this word or term, if it has a common use?
- Does this word or term have a specific legal meaning? If so, what is it?
Then, decide whether to keep, replace, or completely remove the word or term from the document. If you choose to replace it, make sure your compliance and legal specialist agree on the replacement word or term.
It’s also a good idea to use this time to look for the following issues and update them based on the principles of clear writing as shared by the Office of the Federal Register, including:
- Change passive voice to active voice
- Replace nominals, or nouns with verbs inside—for example, “give consideration to” becomes “consider”
- Replace “shall” with “must”
- Use present tense
- Be consistent with the words you use
Write out definitions
If you and your legal team decide it’s best to keep some legalese in the document, you can help your customers better understand what it means by adding definitions. This step is also important to tackle alongside your legal specialist to ensure the definition you include matches the legal meaning of the term or phrase.
When writing out your definitions, Gordon recommends considering these four parts:
- The term that’s being defined
- The general group that the term belongs to
- The unique characteristics that distinguish the term from all others in its group
4. Compliance review
After your legal team signs off on the document and all edits made for plain language, it’s time to pay your compliance team another visit.
Your compliance specialist needs to ensure the contract or policy meets regulations set by the industry, a governing body, or even your own company. These can include:
- The Plain Writing Act (US.)
- Industry regulations (for example, Treating Customers Fairly for financial institutions in South Africa)
- CCPA, California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), and Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA)
- Consumer Rights Act (UK.)
According to Gordon, these regulations usually require your document to meet the following guidelines:
- Your customers can explicitly accept your terms, and those terms must be in plain language
- The terms can’t be too long, but also shouldn’t leave out important information
- Your terms must pull important information to “the front of the experience”
- All information must be consistent at all stages of the customer’s experience—for example, you can’t say “fee” in one place and then say “rate” in another
- Your terms must help your customers make informed decisions
Your compliance team also has plain language regulations in mind and will help you spot any missed opportunities to translate legalese into text that’s easier to understand.
What is a document review checklist?
Also called a document control checklist or a single source of truth, the document review checklist includes items each reviewer should look for. The checklist ensures your legal agreements and policies are consistent, compliant, and meet quality standards.
Your document review checklist should include the following elements:
- The name of the document or project
- Document or project sponsors
- The workflow—what’s the next step, or who’s the next reviewer?
- Any guidelines the reviewer should follow
- The intended audience of the document
- The goals of the document
As far as checklist items for your reviewers to keep an eye out for, these are a great place to start:
- Correct dates and consistent date formats (for example, 1/12/2023 and 12/1/2023 are the same date but in different formats)
- Correct references are noted, and links point to the correct page and aren’t broken
- Correct spelling is used (for example, council versus counsel)
- Table of contents matches the structure of the document
- Clear communication and plain language are used
- Definitions are included where necessary
- All acronyms are spelled out on first use and an acronym list is included
- Structure or format matches the correct template, if a template is available
- Consistent terminology is used
A critical part of producing and updating legal policies and agreements, the document review process involves multiple steps and stakeholders. Each stage of the process helps ensure your document removes risk for your company and meets any requirements set by industry, brand, or government regulations.
On top of that, the document review process helps you as the writer ensure you can safely and accurately translate legalese into clear, easily understandable language.
While all these steps and requirements may seem cumbersome, content production software like GatherContent can help streamline your review process. It acts as your single source of truth, template database, and communication and approval hub. Learn more and start a free trial of GatherContent today.
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Rigorous thinking | plain language writing | always reader focused, 5 steps for effective document review.
Get a free document review here .
You’ve slaved away for weeks on an important document. You’ve researched and talked to people. You’ve worked hard to understand your audience, their needs and how they will use your work. You’ve carefully structured the content into sensible chunks and you’ve used plain language techniques as you’ve crafted the text.
But, will the document work? Will it achieve the goals you had in mind?
It’s time for the document review and test phase. Time to find out what other people think of your work. Or perhaps time to send it ‘upstairs’ for sign-off.
Too often authors simply e-mail the document around to colleagues in the office with a message like “I’ve written this. What do you think?” If they don’t hear anything back they assume it’s all OK. But a review process like this rarely provides confidence that the document will communicate effectively. In fact, such a sloppy document review process could be reckless writing . (Our writer training course can reduce costly review churn.)
All communication products should be tested well before release, just like any other product. ( Why don’t we test information products? )
So, when you ask people to review a document focus on assessing how well the document will achieve purpose . Try these five steps:
1. Develop thick skin.
People may suggest improvements to your writing (and, by implication, improvements to your thinking). It’s easy to become defensive about the structure and words you have used. Don’t be. If someone finds your message is unclear then you need to improve it.
2. State your purpose clearly; explain your audience.
People can only provide useful review comments when they know what the document is intending to do, and who it is aimed at. When asking for review, explain who the document is for, and how you would like people to respond to your document. Judge the feedback you receive in the light of your purpose and audience.
3. Identify real users.
Representatives of your target audience are the best people to tell you how well your document will work. Anybody else is guessing (although experienced reviewers usually guess well).
4. Prepare document review questions.
Questions helps reviewers engage with the material. For example:
- Does this document contain information or ideas that are important to you?
- Can you easily find the information you need?
- Once you find the information, can you understand it?
- Does it tell you too much? Does it tell you too little?
- Is the information correct? Could it be misleading?
- Does it comply with the law (if relevant) and our internal standards (if they exist)?
- Do you know what to do now that you have read this?
5. Make feedback easy
Tell people how to get their comments to you. Do you want them to talk to you about the document, email you some ideas, or insert their comments in your text? And tell reviewers when you expect their comments.
You don’t need to act on all the review comments. Exercise judgement – some comments will be helpful, some will not. Use feedback to improve your writing, but don’t be bullied by it. After all, it’s your document, so take ownership of it.
If you would like to prove your document has been written plainly, see PlainLanguagePro .
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Document Review Process, Guidelines & Best Practices: 9 Steps to Prepare Your Workflow
Many people understand what document review is and when it needs to be performed. But do you know how to prepare for a review before it begins? To make a document review successful, it’s important to proactively prepare your workflow and stick to guidelines that can inform and expedite your process.
If you are aware of the complexities involved in the document review process, then it will be easier to avoid common pitfalls. However, too many case teams ignore expert advice and take perceived “shortcuts” to the process. This can add additional expenses and lengthy delays to the review.
Document Review Process Best Practices
Here are 9 key points all legal teams should consider prior to starting the document review process:
1. Is “native review” or “image review” being performed?
Litigation review platforms have different functionalities available to reviewers. The capabilities used depend on the type of document review being performed. You need to know the difference between native file and image review functionality in your chosen review platform. This is particularly important when it comes to tasks, such as printing.
Native review is the review of ESI content in its current native source format. Almost all software companies develop their applications and native file viewers around other technologies (ex. Oracle Stellent or QuickView Plus). End-users can view native file content in one single platform, without having to launch the original source file application.
It is important to note that PDF files are considered native files by almost all litigation review platforms, not images. This common misconception about PDF files has been known to cause challenges during review and/or production.
Native files do not have set page counts. Individual computer settings will determine page counts when a file is opened in its native source application. Page counts can change from computer to computer, which is one of the many reasons legal teams choose to convert ESI to image format.
The process of converting ESI to image format for review is considered image review. Imaging has become a means of consistently “preserving” the formatting of a native files. Imaging all ESI prior to document review used to be a fairly standard practice. Now that data volumes have increased significantly, this practice has become outdated and costly.
Tip: Start with native review, and only request responsive images (and/or redacted documents). This is a much more cost-effective and efficient approach.
2. What is the overall goal or objective for this review?
Is it a standard document review for production? Is it a review for an investigation? Is the case team reviewing for privilege? Is the case team preparing for depositions or preparing witnesses and experts? The overall end-goal for the document review being performed will determine the workflows legal teams will need to set up.
3. How many reviewers will there be and what level of review needs to be performed?
In other words, how in-depth does the analysis of the data need to be for this particular matter? Will there be different review teams with different tasks? (i.e. first level review, second level review, QC review, attorney level review).
The level of review required will determine how many reviewer groups and access permission levels there are to set up. Some options are as follows:
- Full administrative rights
- Reviewer rights only with limited editing capabilities
- Administrative rights with less restrictive permissions
Controlling user permission levels makes maintaining an organized workflow easier.
4. What specific coding information are reviewers required to capture during review?
This requires planning by legal teams ahead of time. Custom fields specific to the matter and document review can be set up prior to starting review.
Some popular items for capture include the following:
- Hot doc status
- Document request/RFP number
- Deponent name
- Expert name
5. Do you need custom workflows or database administration tasks to be performed?
These processes can take place prior or during a review depending on individual need. Some examples of things to consider for your workflow:
- Batching implemented
- Reviewer batch sets created
- Custom quality control
- Custom workflow searches
- Search terms applied and search term reports created
- Key terms highlighted
All of these tasks take additional time and should be considered as part of the workflow.
6. Will external or non-party reviewers need to access the review database?
Will the legal team need to share documents with co-counsel, experts, or consultants? If so, plan and have detailed discussions on what other parties are allowed to see, access and edit. External parties require stricter permissions, which must be managed properly. Keep this in mind when determining appropriate levels of access to the work product of the other parties sharing the database.
7. Will advanced technologies be used to expedite document review?
There are many advanced technologies available for document review. You should understand your technology options and their unique functionalities in order to determine which tool to implement. Some of these technologies to note are:
- Near-duplicate detection
- Email threading
- Predictive coding
Workflows must be planned and review teams trained prior to starting review. This will help keep everyone on the same page throughout the process.
8. How many documents need to be reviewed?
Document review can take hours, days, or even weeks to complete. It is typically the most expensive part of the eDiscovery process. Keep the data volume in mind before and during the review to help reduce costs along the way.
9. Have you budgeted time to accommodate for unforeseen variables?
It’s critical to do this before establishing a discovery deadline. You need to know what variables can negatively impact the process. It is common for issues like, limited client budgets, limited resources, complicated review workflows and lack of planning to derail a review. If something wasn’t properly set up or considered at the beginning of a matter, you could run into delays or missed deadlines. Ensure you remain within your timeline by keeping the big picture in mind and planning accordingly.
Document review itself is not complicated. However, it does require significant strategy, thought and preparation from legal teams. Each of these steps are critical for efficient and cost-effective workflows. Case teams should be realistic about what they need to accomplish. Ask yourself, or the legal team, the questions above to ensure you’re prepared. It is imperative for everyone involved to take a step back and look at the big picture before beginning review.
Don’t be afraid to utilize experienced Managed Document Review consultants who can provide guidance from beginning to end. Experts will help eliminate the need for deadline extensions and other inconveniences. Consultants can also help you customize your workflow to fit the needs of your case.
Check out LHH’s currently available Document Review Jobs and apply today!
Maximizing Efficiency and Accuracy: A Comprehensive Guide to Building an Effective Document Review Process
by Conor Looney | CEO | Jun 19, 2023 | Document Review Process , eDiscovery
In today’s digital landscape, reliance on digital documents has become paramount for businesses’ day-to-day operations. To maintain accuracy and relevance , it is imperative to establish an effective document review process. Such a process is the backbone of organizational efficiency, guaranteeing that all documents are legally compliant, correct, and up to date .
A meticulous examination of all documents is essential within an efficient document review process, encompassing those that are newly created, edit ed, or updated. This comprehensive approach ensures that every document is precise, current, and aligns with the pertinent laws and regulations governing your industry. Moreover, a successful document review process should incorporate mechanisms for tracki ng changes and versions and a robust archival system to retain historical documents.
By prioritizing implementing an effective document review process, businesses can uphold the highest accuracy, compliance, and relevancy standards in their documentation. It fosters a culture of meticulousness and attention to detail, empowering organizations to navigate the complexities of today’s business environment with confidence and proficiency .
Benefits of building an effective document review process:
1. Improved Accuracy: An effective document review process helps ensure document accuracy. It allows several reviewers to review the documents and provide feedback before they are finalized . This makes it easier to make sure the documents are accurate and current.
2. Streamlined Compliance: Processes for reviewing documents aid in ensuring adherence to rules and guidelines. Organizations can make sure that all papers comply with the most recent laws and regulations by having them examined by several people. This s aves time and money by avoiding costly penalties for non-compliance.
3. Improved Efficiency: Processes for reviewing documents can help to make the review process more effective. Documents can be examined swiftly and effectively by several reviewers. This ensures that documents are completed on time, speeding up the approval process.
4. Quality Assurance: An efficient document review procedure aids in ensuring the documents’ quality. Organizations can ensure that records are correct, thorough, and up to d ate by having multiple reviewers. This makes it easier for administrators to ensure the documents adhere to the organization’s criteria for quality.
5. Improved security: Potential risks and vulnerabilities are reduced when documents are examined and vali dated . Reviewing documents can be used to reduce the risk of data breaches and other security concerns and identify potential issues. This may be particularly crucial for a company that manages sensitive data, such as medical or financial information.
How to build an effective document review process:
1. Identify Clear Objectives: Any organization must establish an efficient document review procedure to ensure document accuracy and quality. Establishing the goals of the document review is crucial before b eginning the process. What do you aim to achieve through the review process? Are you trying to guarantee accuracy and completeness? Do you want to ensure the paperwork complies with the company’s standards? Are you looking to improve the overall quality of the documents?
Understanding your objectives is the first step in creating a good document review process. Instead of using a general strategy, it enables you to design a process that is customized to your needs. Once your objectives have been determined , you must create a review process that meets them. This includes defining roles and responsibilities, establishing review criteria, and developing a review timeline.
Overall, thorough planning is necessary to create a good document review procedure. The best place to initiate the review is by defining clear objectives .
2. Define Criteria and Guidelines : Determining criteria and rules is essential to ensuring that the review process, a vital phase in the document writing process, is carried out correctly. Once you are clear on your goals, you should establish criteria and guidelines to help make certain t hat the review process is efficient and that all documents are adequately examined. This should include who should review the records, what documents should be reviewed, and how long the review should take.
Developing criteria and guidelines upfront can h elp ensure that all documents are reviewed thoroughly, and the process is efficient. It can also help identify potential problems before they become issues and ensure that the review process is conducted in a timely manner . By taking the time to establish criteria and guidelines for the review process, you can ensure that all documents are reviewed efficiently and that the review process is effective.
3. Implement a Workflow: Document review is an essential part of the document lifecycle, and establishing an efficient and effective workflow is key to ensuring that documents are reviewed on time.
Each step of the review process should be clearly defined in the workflow, including who will evaluate the document, approve changes, and notify when changes are m ade, or papers are authorized. This will make it easier to ensure that every document receives the attention it needs and that no steps are skipped. Additionally, it will contribute to the review process’s effectiveness and efficiency, reducing the time re quired to review documents.
You should define a timeline for the review process and the workflow. This timeline should outline when documents should be reviewed, and changes should be approved. Setting up a schedule will make it easier to ensure that the document review process is finished timely and that documents do not sit around for an excessive amount of time before being authorized.
4. Monitor and Evaluate : Document review is critical to any business process. It assists in ensuring that documents ar e correct and reflects the most recent information . However, it’s important to remember that regular monitoring and evaluation of the document review process is essential to ensure it remains effective.
For example, you should track the progress of review s and look for areas where improvements can be made. This can involve figuring out how to improve the process’ effectiveness or efficiency. It also entails assessing how quickly documents are reviewed, how well they are comprehended , and how they are acces sed.
The purpose of regular monitoring and evaluation of the document review process is to ensure that it runs as smoothly and effectively as possible. This can help save time and money and provide accurate and up-to-date documents. Businesses should ensu re they get the most out of their document review process by frequently measuring and assessing it.
5. Continuous Improvement through Technology: When dealing with many documents, manually reviewing them can be exhausting and time-consuming. Businesses sh ould use technology to enhance their document review process to ensure that these processes are as effective and efficient as possible.
Modern document review using technology can improve process effectiveness and efficiency in several ways. Automation so lutions can shorten the time required for manual document review while also assisting in making the process faster and more accurate . By using automated tools, businesses can also reduce the manpower needed for the process, thus saving money in the long ru n .
Technology for document review can also aid in finding potential errors and inconsistencies in the documents. This can lessen the chance of causing expensive errors and help to verify that the documents are accurate and compatible with the relevant reg ulations.
In conclusion, having a professional document review team can be extremely helpful in various legal situations. They can not only help save time and money but also give essential insights into legal matters and support the maintenance of compliance with the relevant regulations.
We at LDM Global have a team of experienced document reviewers offering a range of invaluable benefits to you and your business. Our team of experienced professionals is knowledgeable in document review’s lega l and technical aspects. We are equipped with advanced technology and sophisticated software to ensure the accuracy and consistency of document reviews.
Furthermore, we provide cost-effective solutions to our clients, saving them money on document review projects. Finally, LDM Global offers a transparent and secure workflow that makes managing review projects easier. With the comprehensive services LDM Glo bal provides, you can rest assured that your document review projects are in good hands .
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