Technical writing is a great profession to belong to but it can be frustrating job if you don’t stick to a set pattern in creating the documentation. Here are few technical writing tips and tricks to help with your technical writing.
Know the target audience. It is important that a technical writer knows who the end user of the documentation will be. Are they going to be technical or non technical? They are two totally different audiences. One will understand technical information whereas the other will not. You have to ensure that the content is specifically written so the end user can easily understand it
What is your writing goal? You must make sure that your writing makes sense. Will the end user understand what you have written? It is no good if you have written a very detailed technical manual if your intended audience cannot understand it. It is a good idea to review your writing to make sure you are writing for the correct audience.
Use illustrations and graphics. By using illustrations and graphics it allows the intended audience to understand the information a lot quicker and easier. An illustration or graphic will be far more descriptive of something than words can ever be. I believe it was Confucius who first said: “a picture paints a thousand words.
Use examples. It’s OK for you to understand what you have written but don’t assume that your reader will. If it is a technical document you are writing then it is a good idea to provide the reader with some examples. But, make sure the examples are relevant to the subject and that the end user can understand them.
Proofread your work. You must proofread what you have written. It can be very embarrassing if the documentation you have produced is distributed with errors. Even some of the tabloids and magazines have errors in them. So, make sure that all your documentation is proofread to make sure all errors are found and corrected.
Have a peer review of your work. A peer review process allows you to get a second opinion on what you have written. This is a good idea because there is every chance you might have missed something which would give a totally different meaning to what you have written.
Use headers. By strategically using content relevant headers throughout your document will allow you to break up the content and it will make reading a long manual a lot easier.
Stay in the present tense. When writing, use the present tense instead of future tense – it makes it a lot clearer and concise. By using the present tense it allows you to be specific and to the point and the end user immediately knows and understands what to do.
Give your resources credit. If you have used information from a reference source then make sure you give that source the credit it deserves. If the information has enhanced the quality of your document then you must acknowledge the part the resource has played in improving the quality of your document.
If you implement these technical writing tips and tricks into your technical writing your writing will improve and you will produce better quality technical documentation that the end user will appreciate and more importantly read.
Filed under: Technical Writing
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