Editor’s Note: This article was written by a future expert from the TCloc Online Technical Communication Master’s course. If you have any questions or wish to find out further information about the course, you’ll find a link at the end of the article to access the website. Enjoy!
When it comes to writing technical information, it becomes essential to have good technical writing skills. Indeed this knowledge has to get its point through in a clear and precise way. However some technical information gets more understandable than other. And some content gets more appealing than other. That is because some people have understood that technical writing demands essential skills.
Technical information may be heavy for the reader. Therefore technical writing skills need to be developed to be useful. Here are five essential elements to improve your writing skills and so your technical writing skills.
1. You Are Writing for Human Beings
Never forget this point. Even if robots may have a great influence on the future of your content, people remain the main target audience. Always orientate your technical writing towards people.
Readers Are Different from You
You have to think about who you are talking to. Are you addressing to experts or people who don’t have a lot of knowledge on the topic? Depending on this, you will have to adapt your writing, otherwise your readers may not understand. For example, it may be better to use simplified technical English in your documents.
Adapt Your Content to Different People
Imagine your readers: they will have more or less different profiles. Some will master the topic more than others. To make sure everyone can access your technical information, try to go through your product guessing whether every profile would understand everything easily or not. This is something that can definitely make a difference when creating customer-friendly technical information.
2. Get New Perspective on Your Technical Writing
The more opinions you get, the more improvements you will achieve. Indeed, it is difficult to take a step back on your own technical writing skills because you created it yourself.
Go Back and Forth to Your Production
Avoid writing your technical content at once if you can. Technical information needs to be really clear and precise. And it is easy to lose yourself in the process of writing and think that everything is clear. But the contrary is likely to happen, at least in one part of your content.
What is advised is to take a step back and also leave the content for some time before getting back to it. This way, you will perceive it under a new light and make it better.
Get External Opinions to Improve Your Writing Skills
New points of view can come from the outside. Other people will perceive the output of your technical writing skills another way. Getting these new visions will contribute to improve your writing skills.
3. Make Your Message Clear and Precise
How to improve your writing skills? Your main goal has to make the information consistent and straight to the point.
Avoid Obscure Terms
Sometimes, you will think that one word expresses an idea in a great way. The problem is that people may not understand this word, or the notion behind it. Therefore, even though you are working on a technical topic, you should try to use clear words as much as possible.
Cut Out Superfluous Words
Technical information is not the easiest thing to understand. How can it make it easier when there are many details? When tackling technical writing, you have to go straight to the point. Otherwise, the readers may lose the train of thought and get lost.
Use Time-Independant Information
Your technical content is likely to get around for some time. Thus you have to be careful if you ever use time information. Because depending on when it will be consulted, this kind of information could make no sense. So make sure you use time-independent information.
4. Optimise the Format of the Text
You are sure that technical writing has no secret for you, because you think first of the people you give a message to and also about creating clear and precise technical information. But do you pay enough attention to the looks of your content?
Space the Text and Play with the Font
Text is composed of main words and of grammatical words. You should put stress on the important words to make them striking.
Here are two recommendations to do so:
- no blocks : avoid paragraphs of more than two or three sentences. No information will be lost in a sea of words.
- italics and bold type : emphasizing the main words of your information is essential to technical writing.
Enhance Crucial Information
There are more ways to enhance important elements in technical writing, so that information is understood perfectly. Here are three must-do:
- bullet lists : they are very practical to explain the steps of a process for example.
- headings : it is important to find essential information quickly. Headings are more visible than the rest, so make the mos of them!
- tables : they definitely help to organise information, depending on the data you have.
5. Create a Visual Article
Linked to the previous point, visuals and multimedia can really help to get your information through. This type of content represent a great backing for your technical writing skills. Visuals are something to remember if you are thinking of gamification marketing.
Get Visual with Photos and Videos
Let’s say it : technical information can be boring and be tedious for the reader to go through. If you want to make your technical writing efficient, think of visuals as a backup. Use images, photos and videos to make your content more alive and less abstract.
Including Graphics is Part of Technical Communication
In addition to photos and videos, you can illustrate information with concrete data. It will help the readers to visualise the information you give and make it clearer.
Bonus: Get a Technical Writing Certification to Improve Your Writing Skills
One great way to improve your writing skills is also to study! You can try to get the tekom certificate, which is highly reputed in the technical communication field. Just know that you can get this certificate and a diploma if you enroll into the TCLoc master’s degree, which will teach you a lot about technical writing. Follow us on our Facebook page or on our LinkedIn profile to get more posts about technical communication and more!
Thank you for reading, we hope you found this article insightful.
Click HERE to visit the homepage.
Thanks from the Tcloc web team
Tracy Osborn, Five tips for improving your technical writing and documentation, August 26, 2016
Nicole Legault, 5 Tips to Improve Your Technical Writing Skills Tom DuPuis, 9 Technical Writing Tips Every Writer Needs to Know, Septembre 27, 2017