Tips for Technical Writing


What is technical writing? The definition of technical writing is to present complex and high-level detailed information in an uncomplicated, user-friendly way to a target audience. The process of technical writing can be difficult, whereas the outcome of such writing is simple and clear. Technical writers meet a number of challenges to work with complex information that has to be converted into a ready for use written communication by using different methods. Technical documents are used for policies, instructions, scientific journals, etc.

We have prepared essential tips on unmistakable, action-oriented strategies to improve your technical writing skill, when creating documents. What does a technical writer need to do?

Focus on your target audience

The target audience you are writing for is your core. The first step of your writing should be identifying your target audience and understanding what information the reader needs. Get to know your audience (age, gender, educational background, hobby, level of knowledge, etc.). Do some research and focus on this persona. After having your paper ready you might want to try to review it with this persona in mind.

Everything in your writing document should be clear

The reader should get to the point of your writing quickly. Be specific. The reader might get confused if it’s difficult to read or understand and will stop reading the paper at all if it’s too confusing. Always apply your reader’s thinking, when writing. Do not use ambiguous words in technical writing (such as, never before, none at all, and many more, etc.). State specific number when writing a technical paper, so the content will be clear to the reader. Try to achieve a technical goal in every new information you apply to in your writing paper. If information is too difficult it could be described with words, pictures, graphics focused on the reader to illustrate your message. The audience knowledge shouldn’t be overestimated and kept at a basic level.

Try to avoid using the first-person pronouns and do not worry about word count

As stated before, in technical writing the main goal is to communicate with the target audience and using the first-person pronouns (I, we, etc.) can be daunting.

Do not try to be precise with the word count. Keep in mind the main goal of the writing is to communicate with the reader and make the paper as much understandable to the reader as possible regardless of how many words you need to use in order to deliver the message clearly. 

Plan your writing

Planning should take half of the preparation of your document. Well-planned and organized work with details and all the relevant material will make the writing easy. You can always return to the plan if the writing seems difficult. 

During the writing process, the content of the document can grow. And the writer should keep in mind the main goal of the document. If you decide to add more details to descriptions or anything, check if it is really necessary. If not, cut the content or consider separation into an additional document.

Sometimes, the writer needs to include dates and timelines or to avoid including temporary information since he/she is passing the information for the readers now and in the future, and it should stay relevant.

Use proper English and bullet points

In professional writing, slang should be avoided. English is an international language and technical documents are read globally. Using regional slang, idioms can confuse the reader and the information might be misunderstood.

Structuring your document into a format with bullet points, consistent headers, sub-headers, sub-sub-headers makes the information easier and clearer to adopt by the reader.

Accept feedback

Show your work to your peers, teachers. Collaborate with experts that have a skill set and experience to write different types of technical writing texts or those who know a product you are referring to in your paper. They might have technical writing examples for you to study. Let them review your writing and mark all possible mistakes that you might miss out. Test your work on real users as well and see how it is clear and functional. Accept their comments and let yourself grow as a writer.

Maybe you'd be interested to read about the sentence structure of technical writing.

17 July, 2018