Have a product? Need a technical manual written for the effective use of your product? Want a professional copy written for it complete with clear notations and illustrations?
Creating effective technical documentation is driven by the writer’s analysis of three elements that of a particular project: audience, purpose, and context.
We 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. To reach this goal, our writers try to understand how your audiences use and read documentation. An audience analysis at the outset of a document project helps define what an audience for a particular document requires.
When analyzing your audience our writers typically asks:
Accurate audience analysis provides a set of guidelines that shape document content, design and presentation (online help system, interactive website, manual, etc.), and tone and knowledge level.
Our writer analyzes the purpose to understand what a document must accomplish. Determining if a communication aims to persuade readers to “think or act a certain way, enable them to perform a task, help them understand something, change their attitude,” etc., guides the technical writer on how to format their communication, and the kind of communication they choose (online help system, white paper, proposal, etc.).
We analyze the context of the physical and temporal circumstances in which readers use communication—for example: at their office desks, in a manufacturing plant, during the slow summer months, or in the middle of a company crisis. Understanding the context of a situation tells the technical writer how readers use the communication. This knowledge significantly influences how our 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.
We take our time to design the document component of technical writing that affects readability and usability. According to one expert, technical writers use six design strategies to plan and create technical communication: arrangement, emphasis, clarity, conciseness, tone, and ethos.
We consider the order and organization of visual elements so that readers can see their structure—how they cohere in groups, how they differ from one another, how they create layers and hierarchies. When considering arrangement technical writers look at how to use headings, lists, charts, and images to increase usability.
We Emphasis how a document displays important sections through prominence or intensity. When considering emphasis technical writers look at how they can show readers important sections, warning, useful tips, etc. through the use of placement, bolding, color, and type size.
The writer makes it clear to “help the receiver decode the message, to understand it quickly and completely, and, when necessary, to react without ambivalence.” When considering clarity the technical writer strives to reduce visual noise, such as low contrast ratios, overly complex charts or graphs, and illegible font, all of which can hinder reader comprehension.
We make the design concise free of
visual bulk and intricacy —for example, the number of headings and lists, lines and boxes, detail of drawings and data displays, size variations, ornateness, and text spacing. Our writers consider all these design strategies to ensure the audience can easily use the documents.
Our writer’s fine tune the Tone and feel of a document. Document type and audience dictates whether the communication should be formal and professional, or lighthearted and humorous. In addition to language choice, our writers set the tone of technical communication through the use of spacing, images, typefaces, etc.
Our writers strive to create professional and error-free documentation to establish credibility with the audience.
To create a technical document, our 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.
A technical publication’s development life cycle typically consists of five phases, coordinated with the overall product development plan:
- Phase 1: Information gathering and planning
- Phase 2: Content specification
- Phase 3: Content development and implementation
- Phase 4: Production
Phase 5: Evaluation
The document development life cycle typically consists of six phases (This changes organization to organization, how they are following).
- Audience profiling (identify target audience)
- User task analysis (analyze tasks and information based on target audience)
- Information architecture (design based on analysis, how to prepare document)
- Content development (develop/prepare the document)
- Technical and editorial reviews (review with higher level personnel—managers, etc.)
- Formatting and publishing (publish the document).
Contact us for more information.