A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).

Technical Writing

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Technical Writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of formal writing and business communication, used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Good technical writing clarifies technical jargon; that is, it presents useful information that is clear and easy to understand for the intended audience.

 

576.
#32188

Potential Position Descriptions for Information Engineering Professionals

This article defines the tasks and responsibilities for up to seven levels of information engineers, plus two levels of management.

Capri, Steve. TechCom Manager (2007). Articles>Management>Information Design>Technical Writing

577.
#38015

Predicting Tech Comm’s Future for Mobile

Given that we have more than 350,000 iPhone apps right now, and the market for technical documentation for mobile apps hasn’t flourished, why should we think mobile will factor heavily into tech comm’s future? I do think mobile will play a larger role, but several things will need to change before mobile becomes a prominent playing field for technical writers.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Mobile

578.
#30090

Preparing to Teach Technical Writing    (PDF)

To teach technical writing effectively, technical writing teachers should know enough about their students' fields to understand what their students write and help them learn how to write appropriately for non-academic audiences. This paper discusses the need for additional preparation to teach technical writing. It presents the results of an informal survey of science and business faculty, identifying resources teachers can use to learn basic concepts in science and business. Also, the paper considers the value of such a survey in developing writing assignments and rapport with faculty whose majors take technical writing courses.

Samson, Donald C., Jr. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Education>Writing>Technical Writing

579.
#33497

Principles of Technical Writing

Technical writing is nonfiction writing meant to make the complex simple. It informs, instructs, and persuades. And it can take many forms -- manuals, references, instructions, correspondence, reports, and proposals, among others. Whatever form is used, technical writing's focus is to ensure that readers can make informed choices, understand complex information, and follow complex procedures. In this class, technical writing is treated rhetorically: We will build on lessons of rhetorical analysis, organization, and style learned in previous classes, but we will apply those lessons to concrete real-world problems.

Spinuzzi, Clay. University of Texas (2009). Academic>Courses>Writing>Technical Writing

580.
#29622

A Process Model For Creating Accessible End-User Documents   (PDF)

Electronic information products can be made accessible to blind and low-vision individuals. This is easier to accomplish with thorough planning and execution. This paper describes a five-step model for creating accessible documentation. The steps are (1) Preparing a source file (2) Producing accessible output, (3) Testing output for accessibility, (4) Modifying a source file if needed, and (5) Modifying a production process if absolutely necessary.

Herring, Richard D. STC Proceedings (2005). Presentations>Documentation>Writing>Technical Writing

581.
#35544

The Process of Technical Writing

The technical writing process consists of four main phases. These are planning, writing, delivery, archiving. These phases are not necessarily set in stone and some variations do exist. Every writer is different and they each have their own way of writing that is distinct.

Hunt, James M. Technical Writer Blog, The (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing

582.
#27497

The Process of Writing a Technical Manual

Whether you are doing the whole job, have been assigned a critical part of the project or are managing the production of the technical manual, you need to know the process involved.

Kurtus, Ron. School for Champions (2005). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing

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#20359
584.
#24004

Professional and Technical Writing

According to the university catalog, the subject matter of WRT 307, Professional Writing, is: professional communication through the study of audience, purpose, and ethics; rhetorical problem-solving principles applied to diverse professional writing tasks and situations.

Murray, Joddy. Morrismurray.net (2002). Academic>Courses>Writing>Technical Writing

585.
#13052

Prototypes in Technical Writing: What are They?

A prototype is, generally speaking, a preliminary model of a larger, more detailed object. In technical writing, a prototype might be a full table of contents (with summaries for each major section) and one or two complete chapters. If conducting a survey is an important part of your project, your prototype might be a complete survey of a small number of subjects, designed to iron out the kinks in the questions you want to ask. A good prototype will help you identify flaws (such as incomplete research or mistaken assumptions) before you have multiplied their harmful effects by investing additional effort in them. A sculptor makes a scale model in clay -- a prototype -- before chiseling away at a full-sized chunk of marble. It it much easier to fix major mistakes in clay than it is to throw away a ruined chunk of marble and start over again.

Jerz, Dennis G. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (2000). Articles>Writing>Online>Technical Writing

586.
#24238

Providing On-the-Job Writing Training to Nonwriters   (PDF)

Professional communicators today must often work with writing done by coworkers who have little or no formal writing training. This situation opens a long-term opportunity for professional development–from negotiating with management to developing tactful-buttruthful mentoring methods for the nonwriters. The mentor will develop skills in goal setting, curriculum development, and possibly even classroom-style teaching. This interactive workshop will lead participants through a 10-step process for becoming a successful writing skills mentor and give successful tips and techniques for evaluating and attacking writing problems. This workshop is an expanded version of the 90 minute workshop given last year to rave reviews.

Edgerton, Rebecca J. and Jill Nicholson. STC Proceedings (1999). Careers>Mentoring>Writing>Technical Writing

587.
#24325

Providing On-the-Job Writing Training to Nonwriters   (PDF)

Professional communicators today must often work with writing done by coworkers who have little or no formal writing training. This situation opens a long-term opportunity for professional development'from negotiating with management to developing tactful-but-truthful mentoring methods for the nonwriters. The mentor will develop skills in goal setting, curriculum development, and possibly even classroom-style teaching. This interactive workshop will lead participants through a 10-step process for becoming a successful writing skills mentor and give successful tips and techniques for evaluating and attacking writing problems.

Edgerton, Rebecca J. and Jill Nicholson. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Mentoring>Writing>Technical Writing

588.
#38202

The Proximity Problem for Technical Writers

I’m not convinced that proximity is essential to keeping up with project information. I’m not persuaded that there aren’t equally viable ways to gather the same data and interact, because if nothing else, the Internet has shown us how remotely distributed people can be closely connected with each other. The Internet has pulled us loose from our physical relationships, distancing us from those immediately around us and drawing us closer to others whom we never see or speak with.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Articles>Workplace>Collaboration>Technical Writing

589.
#20699

Published Tech Authors Only Need Apply

It seems Microsoft is foregoing technical writers for technology writers. Apparently they want technology journalists writing the online help for the next version of Windows.

Creative Tech Writer, The (2003). Careers>Documentation>Writing>Technical Writing

590.
#20547

Putting the "Technical" in "Technical Writer"   (PDF)

Owens explains how technical writers can bolster their credentials as technically knowledgeable employees. He provides brief introductions to technologies that technical writers are most likely to encounter on the job: programming languages, databases, and Web server technologies.

Owens, David. Intercom (2003). Articles>Writing>Information Design>Technical Writing

591.
#27655

Putting the "Technical" in "Technical Writer"

By becoming more technical, you can interact more efficiently with software developers and qualify for a greater variety of software documentation projects. This article outlines ways to learn more about three prevalent technologies: programming languages, databases, and Web server technologies.

Owens, David. WritersUA (2004). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing

592.
#21990

Putting the Writer Back Into Technical Writing

It is one thing to complain about the shortcomings of technical writing but quite another to actually set forward a reasonable solution.

Extropia. Articles>Writing>Technical Writing

593.
#30560

Quality Time Well Spent   (PDF)

ISO is a quality system that all companies interested in global competition must subscribe to. ISO certification includes hidden benefits for the technical writing area, which will improve the day-to-day operation of that area. Not only will these benefits help technical writing management in project and contingency planning, they will also help in performance appraisals. Most importantly, the final result is an overall definition of technical writing's role in the company.

Jahnke, Jean M. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Standards

594.
#31091

The Question No One Asked Me at the Career Advice Panel, Thank Goodness

Tonight I participated on a career panel for technical writing majors at Utah State University. In preparation, I tried to think of answers to questions they might ask. The one question that I was sure some student would ask is this: 'If you were to do it over again, would you choose technical writing as your career?'

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

595.
#35804

Quick Reference Guides Are More Useful Than a 150-Page User Doc

I’m working on a project to boil a 150-page software user document down to a one-page reference guide that can be tacked to a CSR’s cube wall. Our goal with the one-page reference guide is to give the CSR a description of all the navigation elements and application functionality so they can quickly navigate to where they want to go without first having to trudge through the complete 150-page user doc.

Creel, Ron. Your Writing Dept (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Quick Reference

596.
#34252

Quick Reference Guides: Short and Sweet Documentation

In this article, my colleague and I provide strategies, tips, and approaches we’ve learned in creating quick reference guides for software documentation projects.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Quick Reference

597.
#38295

Quick Reference Guides: Short and Sweet Documentation

Users often want documentation in a format that will give them the basics and get them on their way as fast as possible. Quick reference guides provide a short version of a manual, condensed from dozens or hundreds of pages down to just one double-sided sheet of paper. Despite the brevity of quick reference material, the thought process involved in creating, organizing, and laying out the content is time consuming. The format requires you to assess the content and decide the most important information the user needs to know. You must describe with extreme concision and clarity processes that usually require dozens of pages to explain.

Johnson, Tom H. and Benjamin Minson. Writers UA (2010). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Quick Reference

598.
#34382

Quick Reference Guides: Short and Sweet Technical Documentation   (PDF)

Users often want documentation in a format that will give them the basics and get them on their way as fast as possible. Quick reference guides provide a short version of a manual, condensed from dozens or hundreds of pages down to just one double-sided sheet of paper. Despite the brevity of quick reference material, the thought process involved in creating, organizing, and laying out the content is time consuming. The format requires you to assess the content and decide the most important information the user needs to know. You must describe with extreme concision and clarity processes that usually require dozens of pages to explain. This article provides an overview of the strategies, tips, challenges, and benefits we have learned in using quick reference guides for our documentation projects.

Johnson, Tom H. and Benjamin Minson. Gryphon Mountain (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Quick Reference

599.
#31880

Quick Reference Guides: The Poetry of Technical Writing

How many times have you written a 75+ page guide and heard the customer say, This is great, but can you give us a condensed version? After the third or fourth time I’d heard this, I decided to actually try it.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Academic>Documentation>Writing>Technical Writing

600.
#32817

The "Quick Web" for Technical Documentation   (PDF)

So how did the wiki become a seemingly permanent fixture in the landscape of today’s Web? Which wikis have succeeded as technical documentation, and how can we replicate their success?

Gentle, Anne. Intercom (2007). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Wikis

 
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