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Best practices in Technical Writing

Best practices in Technical Writing



Best practices in Technical Writing by Atinder Sodhi in the TWB Alumni knowledge sharing session.

Best practices in Technical Writing by Atinder Sodhi in the TWB Alumni knowledge sharing session.



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    Best practices in Technical Writing Best practices in Technical Writing Presentation Transcript

    • By: Atinder Sodhi
    • Technical writing is writing on a specific subject for aspecific purpose to a specific audience.Technical writers can be considered as a bridgebetween people who know technology and people whouse it.They understand the complications of technology andput it in simple words that help the user understand anduse the technology. User Manuals, Online helpfiles, Reports, Proposals, Procedures, Release notes, Brochures, etc.
    • Audience analysis is most important consideration inplanning, writing, and reviewing a document.To write effective documentation that suits the users, we must understand their needs.In other words, do not create a 300-page manual when a quick reference guide will do.
    • Technical writing is full of complex information.Do not confuse readers with heavy information.Write document to audiences readability level.Document should help the readers to complete their required task.
    • Use active voice to ensure that your readers and usersclearly understand your documentation.It is commonly held that passive voice is acceptable intechnical writing.However, overuse of passive voice,or use of passive voice in long andcomplicated sentences, can causereaders to lose interestor to become confused.
    • In technical writing, an advance organizer is a bulleted listat the beginning of a chapter that provides an overview ofthe chapter.The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows.Advance organizers help users process and retain information based on what they already know.
    • Break your documentation into smaller portions using bulletedlists, shorter paragraphs, and cross-references.Chunk your documents according to topics—one topic per chunk.Chunking keeps the readers attention, providing them space to stop and absorb what theyve read.
    • Too much text crammed onto a page intimidates readersand turns them away.In technical writing, always use white space around the text to break up pages.Too much text can tire the eyes.
    • Use cross-references to link related information that isdescribed elsewhere in the document.Cross references are not essential to the current discussion.In online documentation, provide adequate hyperlinks to cross-reference related information.
    • Step/action tables provide a practical way to separateprocedural steps from other descriptive information.This is a very important aspect of information mapping.Procedures contained in step/action tables are easy to read and follow, increasing document effectiveness.
    • A quick reference summarizes the most common userprocedures, which is very helpful to users.A quick reference help readers get started without having to comprehend a large amount of information beforehand.