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.



Quick-Start Guides Require a Minimalist Mindset

The point of a quick-start guide is, as the name says, to help the users get on their feet as fast as possible. This requires the writer to ask, “What is the absolute minimum that someone needs in order to get started?” The next best question is “What is the user going to do the most often?”

Minson, Benjamin. Gryphon Mountain (2008). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Quick Reference


Quickly Coming Up With Text for Error Messages and UI Labels

Coming up with text for error messages and user interface labels isn't always easy. This post looks at a way to quickly come up with that text.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>TC>Technical Writing>Help


'Read Rage' Over Instruction Books

"Read rage" is sweeping the UK - as consumers become fed up with the often incomprehensible language used in many of the instruction manuals produced by manufacturers.

Channel 4 (2008). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>United Kingdom


Real Costs Of Technical Publications   (PDF)

This workshop shows a technical publication manager or rising professional how to work in the following technical publishing/financial areas: project management, operating budget preparation and management, and quality control.

Caernarven-Smith, Patricia. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Publishing>Technical Writing>Project Management


Realistic But Hypothetical Examples

One of the reasons that technical communicators ought to know the business processes of their users (or at least the reasons they’re using the product) is to generate effective examples in the documentation.

Minson, Benjamin. Gryphon Mountain (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>User Centered Design


Recruiting Spree for Technical Writers

I had a chance to interview three technical writers in Pune, the oasis of technical writers. All of them were techies doing technical writing. I am into EDA technical writing these days (one of the toughest areas of technical writing—this is rocket science, buddies!) and naturally technical acumen is a strength. All of them were new to technical writing (and perhaps even writing) as was evident from the fact that none of them brought in writing samples.

Kamath, Gurudutt R. IT People (2003). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>India


Le Rédacteur Technique

Grâce à lui, vous saurez programmer votre magnétoscope, régler votre téléviseur, utiliser toutes les fonctionnalités de votre téléphone et de vos logiciels. Un technicien le lira pour réparer un avion ou un train... Grand pédagogue, spécialiste de la langue, son savoir-faire vous ouvrira les portes de la technologie. Ses armes : un langage clair, simple, précis et structuré.

Studya (2010). (French) Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>Technical Editing


Reflections of a GTA on the Teaching of Technical Writing

Though I have a degree in technical communication and have worked as a technical writer for four years, I still had no idea what should be taught in a technical writing classroom, or how one should go about teaching it. Before I ventured into the arena as an instructor, I wanted to find out what goes on in a technical writing classroom. Two types of practical research that I thought would provide some insight into technical writing instruction were: an observation of different technical communication classrooms; and a survey of various textbooks available for technical communication courses.

Anderson, Ginger. Michigan Tech University (1998). Articles>Education>TC>Technical Writing


Reinventing Audience through Distance   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

People who work in technology centers like Austin, Palo Alto, and the Research Triangle have likely heard little to nothing about Bowling Green State University. So, with few technology workers to train, our S & TC program wanted to offer something more recognizable to the business writers that physically and professionally inhabit the area from Columbus to Detroit, an area that roughly corresponds with the I-75 corridor. Thus, our challenge included thinking of courses that would apply more generally to professional writers of all stripes. Because our goal was a graduate certificate program, and not a full-blown online graduate degree (we already had a resident graduate program in S & TC), it was easier to create a more generalized program.

Edminster, Jude R. and Andrew Mara. WAC Clearinghouse (2009). Academic>Education>Online>Technical Writing


Reinventing the (Professional Writing) Major

I have been dwelling for some time with ideas for rethinking the professional writing major in response to phenomena that aren’t going away, such as the inadequacy of the university for life-long learning and the unsustainable way that public education is funded.

Grabill, Jeffrey T. WIDE Research Center (2009). Articles>Education>Technical Writing>Blogs


Removing Unnecessary Words

Using an extended example, this article shows how it is possible to reduce the number of words in a text and at the same time increase readability.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2003). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Minimalism


Renaming Publishing Folders with Current Time

This tip shows how you can use Publishing Profiles and an after publish batch file to rename the publishing folder with a unique name - the current date and time.

Blunck, Hamish. HamishBlunck.com (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Author It


Review: Reporting Technical Information   (members only)

When I first picked up Reporting Technical Information, I thought from the title it was going to be a primer on writing technical reports. Instead, this book turned out to be a basic, though somewhat better than average, textbook on technical writing.

Coleman, Colleen. Technical Communication Online (2002). Articles>Reviews>Reports>Technical Writing


Requirements Gathering and Analysis: Assumptions, Dependencies, and Constraints

In the world of requirements, even if you do a great job gathering and analyzing requirements, there will still be a couple of gray areas. There may be a couple of reasons for this. The main reason is that this is a new system that you are developing to replace an old one (or a system of workflows), therefore, there will be some unknowns. When writing requirement documentation, you want to ensure that you capture those and present them to your client. These are known as assumptions, dependencies, and constraints.

Polastre, Shevonne. Chicwriter (2010). Articles>Documentation>Requirements>Technical Writing


Requirements Gathering and Analysis: User Requirements

The easiest way to explain user requirements is to say that the these are the requirements that detail how the end-user expects the system to behave. Even though this sounds easy, it is probably the hardest requirements to collect. The reason is that you are relying on users to explain their wants and needs. As you probably already know, a person telling another what they want is not the easiest thing to do.

Polastre, Shevonne. Chicwriter (2010). Articles>Writing>Requirements>Technical Writing



Here you'll find links to various resources on the Internet and elsewhere that have to do with technical writing, tools, technical information, and occasionally absolutely nothing at all.

Write Thinking. Resources>Directories>Writing>Technical Writing


Resources on Technical Writing

A categorized collection of links to technical writing resources and organizations.

Shankar, Kiruba. Kiruba.com. Resources>Directories>Writing>Technical Writing


Resume Power Tip: Think Technical Writing

The most effective and powerful resumes provide analytical, precise detail about your background and achievements. In fact, resume writing has a strong correlation to technical writing in that both styles demand extreme precision. In fact, most readers of your resume will assume that what you show on paper correlates strongly to what you can do for your next employer.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Careers>Resumes>Writing>Technical Writing


Rethinking the Usefulness of Your Documents

There’s so much you can do with a user guide or a technical document if you’ll just give it a chance. I see technical documents and other materials as fantastic marketing opportunities and potentially great platforms for nurturing customer relationships. They can help establish your business as a leader in your field, they can make your customers proud they chose your business, and they can make your potential customers go “Wow.”

Kerschbaum, Bill. Bill Kerschbaum (2010). Articles>User Centered Design>Documentation>Technical Writing


Reveal Bugs in Release Notes, Not User Guides

Really, I think documenting the software the way it works with bugs is making more work for myself, so that’s probably the main reason I avoid it. I’ve got enough to do without changing the doucmentation whenever a bug is fixed. Release notes are easier—a much smaller deliverable whose focus is what’s changed and what’s still not quite right.

Minson, Benjamin. Gryphon Mountain (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing


Revisiting the Basics

There are some fundamentals tenets of our profession that are widely accepted. One being that you always need to know your audience before y can begin to understand their needs and so produce the information that they require.

McLean, Gordon. One Man Writes (2008). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing


Reviving Technical Writing at a Liberal Arts College: Writing a "Non-Technical" Technical Writing Course Description   (peer-reviewed)

I am asking my program to incorporate more of the liberal arts into the course's title and course description to better appeal to (and serve) students in a liberal arts college. The course will have one or two new sophomore level iterations: as a technical/research writing course in which students complete a semester long service project, researching and writing a final report while focusing on writing, research, and mathematical skills, and/or as a technical writing/document design class where students focus on the document design and writing skills needed to produce items such as a resume, flyers, brochures, posters, and more.

Sehmel, Heather. CPTSC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Education>Writing>Technical Writing


The Rhetoric of Critical Procedures

One important aspect of technical writing is the production and use of procedures. Though technical writing serves a variety of purposes, teaching, informing, persuading, and even questioning, one of its primary and most common purposes is the 'how-to' function of providing procedures. There is a great deal of information available on writing procedures, the vast majority of it focusing on software documentation and product documentation.

Boelter, Walter H. Orange Journal, The (2003). Articles>Documentation>Rhetoric>Technical Writing


Rhetorical Context and Process of Professional/Technical Communication

In professional/technical communication, the writer's purpose often relates to helping readers understand, evaluate, or use technology.

Henson, Darold Leigh. Southwest Missouri State University. Articles>Writing>Technical Writing



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