At the end of this learning unit, you will be able to:
So we talked about designing the content plan, writing objectives, and creating as assessments to test these objectives. What else should I keep in mind while writing the instructions for learners so that they can understand the content easily and effectively?
For this, some basic guidelines of technical writing are very useful. Let us first see what exactly technical writing is and what are these guidelines.
Writing style is a way of writing, a way of expressing your thoughts and feelings in words. Writing style does more than just communicate the information. It communicates a lot of information about the author, such as the author’s outlook towards people and life. To understand this statement, compare the following sentences:
Notice that the first sentence sounds pompous and flowery with literary pretensions. The second sentence is simpler. Notice the term “no more’. It indicates a little sentimentalism. The third sentence is a plain brief statement of fact. It does not express any feelings.
The same fact can also be communicated in colloquial language. In all these sentences, the fact communicated was same. However, the way it was said completely affected what was said. This is what writing styles can do.
Writing styles differ from author to author. Writing styles also differ depending on the purpose of communication. For example, a typical news report in a newspaper has a distinct style, which differs in style from a book review or a feature article. Contrast that with the writing style used in the installation manual of a software.
Before defining technical writing style, let us first have a clear understanding of what is technical writing.
Technical writing is writing about any technical subject. The term technical implies any area of expert knowledge that is not widespread or well known by many people. Therefore, technical writing is not limited to writing about computers or electronic appliances. It can be about quality, medicine, or even environment.
Another very important aspect of technical writing is its purpose. Technical writing aims to deliver technical knowledge to its readers in the way that is moulded to their requirements and their background. If the audience is known to be experts in the area, what you write will be very different from what you write for a beginner in the field.
That is a challenge for a technical writer and this focus on the audience needs is indeed very different from any other form of writing. To meet this purpose, technical writing style is much more structured than any other writing style.
Due to the rapid changes in technology, technical writers play an important role of translating technical information to non-technical persons. This is what defines the technical writing style.
|Use simple language||Choosing and naming topics for your content should always be aligned with the end-user experience in the application you are documenting with ClickLearn Studio.||Topic names in the content created with the ClickLearn Studio should align with the tasks performed by end-users of the application.|
|Avoid colloquialism||This is no big deal.||This is not a serious issue.|
|Avoid sexist, ethnic, and cultural bias||Once a user has created one or more books, he may add the books into a Shelf.||After creating one or more books, a user can add the books to a Shelf.|
|Do not use contractions.||In this course, you’ll learn the process of creating content with ClickLearn.||In this course, you will learn the process of creating content with ClickLearn.|
|Write short sentences.||ClickLearn Studio is the authoring application. Install on a client PC (or virtual machine) with Windows OS, and with access to the client application(s) you wish to record business processes and create work instructions for.||Install ClickLearn Studio on a client PC or virtual machine with Windows OS. The PC should have access to the client application(s) you wish to record business processes for.|
|Avoid redundant phrasing||This is expected to change in the near future||This is expected to change soon.|
|Use active voice||If the information has been lost, please contact our support desk (email@example.com||If you have lost the information, please contact our support desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|Avoid noun stacks||Correct installation and configuration is essential for optimum use of the ClickLearn application.||Installing and configuring ClickLearn correctly is essential for the optimum use of the software application.|
|Avoid using nouns as verbs||The contribution of the Technical Support function is mainly for providing prompt support for technical issues.||The Technical Support function contributes mainly to provide prompt support for technical issues.|
|Use positive statements||To keep all documentation and training materials created with ClickLearn in a strictly uniform and templated way, you cannot mix steps recorded with various resolutions in the same recording.||To keep all documentation and training materials created with ClickLearn in a strictly uniform and templated way, you need to record all steps in the same resolution.|
|Do not ask rhetoric questions||Would you like to learn more about it? The next section describes it.||The next section describes it in detail.|
|Retain keywords when paraphrasing||Deciding on a general resolution to use in all recordings, also makes your documentation appear more professional, and helps your audience, whether customers or end-users, easier consume your materials.||Deciding on a general resolution to use in all recordings makes your documentation appear more professional. It also helps your audience, whether customers or end-users, to easily use your training materials|
In this learning unit, you learned to:
For the larger part of the work instructions the writing is handled automatically by ClickLearn. But authors do need to include additional information to describe the process that is being taught. The guidelines listed in this learning unit will help me and my team of authors in writing the instructions for specific learners as per their technical knowledge.
Yes, you are absolutely right.
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