With the technological growth we witness every day, it has become essential to stay shoulder to shoulder with as many developments as possible. Be it a new microwave oven or a new blue ray disk, you try to operate things using the manual that comes with the product. This manual explains the product’s technicalities in a clear and easy manner and this is what technical writing is all about. It is the most widely read form of written communication around. Copernicus, Hippocrates, Newton and Leonardo da Vinci engaged in rather complicated forms of technical documentation while writing explanatory notes to demonstrate the use of their inventions. However, technical writing was simplified during World War II to help soldiers understand the usage of new weapons better. With the advent of computers, the internet and high technology inventions, technical writing was further simplified to suit lay users. This is how technical writing gained momentum. With the perpetually increasing number of technology users, the need for technical writing is further accentuated. Read on if you wish to know some tips that can help you with technical writing.
Tips On Technical Writing
Know Your Audience
Before you get cracking, you must know your audience. Writers who are aware of their audiences are better placed than others at suggesting and implementing answers to problems. They serve as mediators between groups of people possessing specialized knowledge and groups requiring such knowledge. Technical writers do not merely translate knowledge into easily comprehensible terms, they do it with full knowledge that readers will depend on the accuracy of what they have written.
Identify Your Writing Goal
A technical writer must not get lost in the details of the system being described and explained. This can confuse the readers and make it difficult for them to assimilate the required details. While explaining a system or a software functionality, you must stay focused and if need be, you can incorporate a comment or two to remind the user of their final goal in reading the documentation.
Equivocating or using ambiguous and unclear language in your writing utterly defeats the purpose of technical writing. Technical writing is all about studying technically cryptic things and explaining them in ways people can understand and relate to. Writing is not the same as talking wherein you can repeat explanations umpteen number of times. Writing requires you to understand something thoroughly in order to be able to write even more thoroughly for the audience.
Showing Ideas Graphically
You must have heard that a picture can tell a thousand words. If you can show an idea graphically, you are done with a major chunk of explaining. Visual communication of ideas makes the most puzzling of things easy for readers to comprehend. Use of images to supplement your writing does a good deal in making the explanation clearer to the users.
A common mistake that technical writers do is explaining an idea without tangible and pertinent examples. This way, you do not strike a chord with your readers who can neither gauge nor appreciate the practical use and application of the software or system. You can repeat aspects that help the reader understand the current idea in relation to its practicality and usage. You can make the reader relate to your idea base by exemplifying your write-up.
Ease With Technology And Developments
If you have chosen to be a technical writer, you must be equipped with the potential to get the drift of related advancements. Complacency must be erased from your dictionary as this job keeps you on your toes for as long as you pursue it. Your curiosity about things can make you learn technologies you do not understand which can bring a great sense of achievement, knowledge and self-confidence in you.
Interaction With Subject Matter Experts
Always remember that you are partly an investigative reporter and partly a journalist. If you are high-handed and disinclined to interact with subject matter experts (SMEs), it can adversely affect your writing. You need to approach SMEs to extract information and seek clarifications. In the process, you might even come up with interesting perspectives and insights.
With businesses today relying extensively on technical writing, we hope that these tips have helped you in gearing up your skill-sets. Of course, these tips are mere pointers; your performance would largely depend upon your interest, ability and experience.