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Technical Writing

Technical writing can best be thought of as the ability to translate from "Engineer Speak" to something the user will understand. Because of this it is necessary to clearly identify the target audience before beginning the process of writing.

Some basic rules for technical writing.

  1. Don't have engineers intimately familiar with your product develop documentation. They understand it too well and will most likely leave out pertinent information.
     
  2. Test your documentation with target users unfamiliar with your product.
     
  3. Include lots of examples, even if they seem stupid and trivial to you.
     
  4. Include a lot of graphics. A good rule of thumb is one picture per procedure step, especially if the document will have a foreign audience.
     

Some truisms for technical writing.

  1. No matter how hard you try you can never get the information you need.
     
  2. No matter how hard you try you can never get a good review before the manual goes to print - only after it is printed will people look at it.
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