Who do you write for? This is a problem for many technical writers, especially if you don’t get to meet or interact with your readers. Essentially, you’re writing in the dark. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve the usefulness of the documents. Far from it.
Technical Documents: How to be more accurate
For example, you can work on improving the accuracy of the document in the following three ways.
- Provide Context – have you provided enough background information for the reader to understand the concept you’re about to describe? Context provides direction. Think of signposts on a map. Give sufficient information so that the reader can find their bearings and know where this piece of information fits into the bigger picture.
- Remove Ambiguity - check if each phrase, term, and defintion is clearly explained. In addition, clarify any points, for example, a type of network setting, that for you is obvious, but for the reader needs to be clarified.
- Complete – make sure that you’ve included all items that need to be explained. It’s easy to overlook one item if you’ve focussed too heavily on another area. For example, if the focus during peer reviews was on specific parameter settings, you may have overlooked the database table settings.
These are three ways to get started. What else would you add?