Document design a guide for technical communicators pdf

Individuals in a variety of contexts and with varied professional credentials engage in technical communication. These individuals use a set of methods to research, document, and present technical processes or products. Whatever the definition of technical communication, the overarching goal of the practice is to create easily accessible information for a specific audience. Technical communicators generally tailor information to a specific audience, which may document design a guide for technical communicators pdf subject matter experts, consumers, end users, etc.

Technical communication is a task performed by specialized employees or consultants. For example, a professional writer may work with a company to produce a user manual. Some companies give considerable technical communication responsibility to other technical professionals—such as programmers, engineers, and scientists. Often, a professional technical writer edits such work to bring it up to modern technical communication standards. To begin the documentation process, technical communicators identify the audience and their information needs. The technical communicator researches and structures the content into a framework that can guide detailed development.

As the body of information comes together, the technical communicator ensures that the intended audience can understand the content and retrieve the information they need. 1970s, and some contemporary textbook authors apply it to technical communication. Technical communication is important to most professions, as a way to contain and organize information and maintain accuracy. All technical communication serves a particular purpose—typically to communicate ideas and concepts to an audience, or instruct an audience in a particular task. Technical communication professionals use various techniques to understand the audience and, when possible, test content on the target audience. Similarly, a sales manager who wonders which of two sites is better for a new store might ask a marketing professional to study the sites and write a report with recommendations. The process is not one of knowledge transfer, but the accommodation of knowledge across fields of expertise and contexts of use.

This is the basic definition of technical communication. Audience type affects many aspects of communication, from word selection and graphics use to style and organization. A non-technical audience might misunderstand or not even read a document that is heavy with jargon—while a technical audience might crave detail critical to their work. Other requirements vary according to particular audience’s needs. Technical communication in the government is particular and detailed. Technical communicators must collect all information that each document requires.

Technical communicators must acknowledge all sources they use to produce their work. To this end, technical communicators typically distinguish quotations, paraphrases, and summaries when taking notes. Before writing the initial draft, the technical communicator organizes ideas in a way that makes the document flow well. After organizing the whole document, the writer typically creates a final outline that shows the document structure. Outlines make the writing process easier and save the author time. After the outline is complete, the writer begins the first draft, following the outline’s structure. Setting aside blocks of an hour or more, in a place free of distractions, helps the writer maintain a flow.

Most writers prefer to wait until the draft is complete before any revising so they don’t break their flow. Typically, the writer should start with the easiest section, and write the summary only after the body is drafted. The abstract describes the subject, so that the reader knows what the document covers. The body is the majority of the document and covers topics in depth.

Lastly, the conclusion section restates the document’s main topics. The ABC format can also apply to individual paragraphs—beginning with a topic sentence that states the paragraph’s topic, followed by the topic, and finally, a concluding sentence. Once the initial draft is laid out, editing and revising can be done to fine-tune the draft into a final copy. In this step, the writer revises the draft to elaborate on topics that need more attention, shorten other sections—and relocate certain paragraphs, sentences, or entire topics.