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A Guide to Writing Excellent Technical Documents

March 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

Start by developing a good plan for the technical document. The plan needs to list the types of technical documents required and define what audience is targeted for each. Are they end-users with limited technical knowledge well-versed technical staff? Also make a list of who will develop, who will approve and the estimated date for starting and finishing the document.

Do a review of existing information on the topic you are to write about. Seek information from the subject matter experts about the subject. This can help you shorten the time you will need to develop the technical documentation.

Additionally, conduct interviews with users so as to get non-technical information on the topic that's being written about. An example of this is a technical document about software. Here, the users' thoughts can help you know how to convey information to them about the specific software.

Next, you'll need to develop an outline. This is the structure for how the document will be written. This should follow a logical sequence, indenting outline items so that related or similar items all fall on the same level. Also be ready to make future revisions if need be.

Start writing the document. Make sure that you keep the document clear and simple. This should be done especially where your target audience involves people who are non-technical. You can use the play script writing style for task oriented technical documents. This is the style where an item is written like the script of a play where there is a detailed step-by-step instruction detailing who performs each action. This system is very easy to understand. Insert all the relevant references in the document.

Make use of graphics. These break up the written technical information and make it easier to read. A commonly used form of graphic to consider is a flow chart which shows relevant items. Examples of what to put on a flow chat are the steps that are involved in a specific procedure. Other graphics that may apply may include product photos showing different views of the product.

Right now you have reached a very important step. Get a competent editor and proof-reader who is knowledgeable in the field being written about to check your work. Be very open to their suggestions. If the audiences targeted are end users, give an end user the document to read through and give you reviews. The end user will help you tell if the product is easy to understand.

Finally, publish the document and let it be distributed to the target audience. You can either print and photocopy yourself or outsource the document. Retain a soft copy which can also be distributed by email. These steps make it easy for anyone who is interested in writing technical documents.

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Source: EzineArticles
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