A Manual for Writers and Librarians. Edited by Diane L.
Accessibility testing A technical writer may apply their skills in the production of non-technical content, for example, writing high-level consumer information. Usually, a technical writer is not a subject matter expert SMEbut interviews SMEs and conducts the research necessary to write and compile technically accurate content.
Technical writers complete both primary and secondary research to fully understand the topic. They may specialize in a particular area but must have a good understanding of the products they describe. Their information sources are usually scattered throughout an organization, which can range from developers to marketing departments.
According to Markel good technical documents are measured by eight characteristics: Roles and functions[ edit ] To create effective technical documentation, the writer must analyze three elements that comprise the rhetorical situation of a particular project: Audience analysis[ edit ] Technical writers strive to simplify complex concepts or processes to maximize reader comprehension.
The final goal of a particular document is to help readers find what they need, understand what they find, and use what they understand appropriately. An audience analysis at the outset of a document project helps define what an audience for a particular document requires. When analyzing an audience the technical writer typically asks: What are their demographic characteristics?
How does the reader feel about the subject? How does the reader feel about the sender? What form does the reader expect? What factors influence the situation?
Accurate audience analysis provides a set of guidelines that shape document content, design and presentation online help system, interactive website, manual, etc.
Purpose[ edit ] A technical writer analyzes the purpose or function of a communication to understand what a document must accomplish. Context[ edit ] Context is the physical and temporal circumstances in which readers use communication—for example: This knowledge significantly influences how the writer formats the communication.
For example, if the document is a quick troubleshooting guide to the controls on a small watercraft, the writer may have the pages laminated to increase usable life. Document design[ edit ] Once the above information has been gathered, the document is designed for optimal readability and usability.
According to one expert, technical writers use six design strategies to plan and create technical communication: Document type and audience dictates whether the communication should be formal and professional, or lighthearted and humorous.
In addition to language choice, technical writers set the tone of technical communication through the use of spacing, images, typefaces, etc.
Qualifications[ edit ] Technical writers can have various job titles, including technical communicator, information developer, technical content developer or technical documentation specialist.
In the United Kingdom and some other countries, a technical writer is often called a technical author or knowledge author. Technical writers normally possess a mixture of technical and writing abilities.
They typically have a degree or certification in a technical field, but may have one in journalism, business, or other fields. Many technical writers switch from another field, such as journalism—or a technical field such as engineering or science, often after learning important additional skills through technical communications classes.
Methodology document development life cycle [ edit ] To create a technical document, a technical writer must understand the subject, purpose, and audience.
They gather information by studying existing material, interviewing SMEs, and often actually using the product. They study the audience to learn their needs and technical understanding level. Information gathering and planning Phase 2: Content specification Phase 3: Content development and implementation Phase 4: Evaluation The document development life cycle typically consists of six phases This changes organization to organization, how they are following.
Formatting and publishing publish the document. This is similar to the software development life cycle. Well-written technical documents usually follow formal standards or guidelines. Technical documentation comes in many styles and formats, depending on the medium and subject area.Technical Writing for Software Documentation Writers A Textbook on Process and Product By Elizabeth Warnke A capstone project submitted in partial fulfillment of the.
Writing Style. The most important thing here is to get a style guide, and stick to it. The Chicago Manual of Style is an old standby for American writers, and can be a good choice for its level of detail and general acceptance.
Also for American writers, American Heritage Dictionary is probably a good guide to spellings, capitalization, and the like. A technical writer is a professional information communicator whose task it is to transfer information (knowledge) between two or more parties, through any medium that best facilitates the transfer and comprehension of the information.
Technical writers research and create information through a variety of delivery mediums (electronic, printed, audio-visual and even touch). This is a much improved over Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications Version 3.
It's well layed out and it much more up-to-date (the previous version was 8 years old.). The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
A technical writer is a professional information communicator whose task it is to transfer information (knowledge) between two or more parties, through any medium that best facilitates the transfer and comprehension of the information.
Technical writers research and create information through a variety of delivery mediums (electronic, printed, audio-visual and even touch).