Technical Communication

Planning Communication

PURPOSE

  1. Write a 1-2 sentence purpose statement. This may be the first few lines of the first draft.
  2. Write the desired response from the reader. The response statement may not go directly in the document.

AUDIENCE

The goal as a writer is to make it easy for the audience to consume your information.

  1. Write down what is known about the audience: educational/technical background, what question do they need to answer for themselves, what decisions will they make.
  2. Focus on the decision makers.
  3. What is your audience trying to accomplish

Types of readers

General readers and managers need to be assured that all important information is present in the document, and that they are able to understand it.

Personas

Technique: create detailed personas that represent classes of persons in the audience.

RESEARCH

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

Delivery Media

ETHICS

Intellectual Property

Copyright only protects word for word copies.

Don't assume that content is free.

Fair Use

Ethics vs. Legality

They don't always match up.

Warnings and Cautions in documentation may have legal implications

Leave legal crap to the lawyers

DOCUMENT ORGANIZATION

Write different parts of the document for the different types of readers. The larger the document, the less likely that anyone will read all of it. Most readers will read the introduction, conclusion and any section specifically tailored to them. They will then return to read or reread other sections as needed.

Emphasis beginnings and endings: make it easy for the reader to find necessary information.

Because no one will read the entire document, important information must be repeated in different sections.

Abstract

Body

Conclusion

The conclusion should repeat the major results of the document and suggest a response or decision by the reader.

Collaboration

Collaboration In Writing

Teamwork

Visual Design

Page Design

Navigation

Fonts

Graphics

Always determine the purpose of a graphic before spending resources producing one.

Always refer to and explain graphics in the text. The information must be relevant to the topic of the text if it is to be useful.

Illustrations

Photos

Tables

Pie Charts

Bar Charts

Line Charts

Flowcharts

Misuse Of Graphics

Computers In Visual Design

Letters, Memos, And Electronic Communication

General Correspondence

Positive Correspondence

Negative Correspondence

Neutral Correspondence

Letters

Memoranda

E-Mail

Definitions & Descriptions

Definitions

Descriptions

Descriptions provide more information than a definition.

Process Explanations & Instructions

Reports

In General

Informal Reports

Formal Reports

Common Report Types

Proposals

Informal Proposals

Formal Proposals

Presentations

General format:

  1. Introduce Yourself
  2. Tell your audience what you are going to tell them. Outline the presentation and hint at the conclusions that will be drawn. Give a time frame for the presentation.
  3. Give the presentation
  4. Conclusion: tell the audience what you told them. Re-iterate major points.

The Job Search

Researching Companies

Correspondence

Letters

Resumes

Interviews

Preparation

Performance

Follow-Up Letters

Style In Technical Communication

Writing Clarity

Concision

Accuracy

Active Voice

Sexism

Plain English & Simplified English