Technical documentation requires total attention, specific details, and knowledge of every aspect. It must be clear and understandable for users while informative and full. To get the best result possible, many professionals prefer to use technical documentation tools. Here are the basics of how to improve your skills and make competitive technical documents.
Description of Technical Documentation
Technical documentation is the information written for end-users by manufacturers that contains details on the work dynamics and architecture of the product. It comes with any technical product, including all modern gadgets and tools. Apart from the description, documentation must contain instructions on its use.
Details of Documentation
You have to learn what parts are included in technical documents before you create them. While the additions may vary, the basics are usually common. These are major parts you have to make sure that users read:
- Table of contents for advanced use;
- Instructions on how to use the tools;
- Glossary or index.
Pieces of Document
There are different components of the document. Yet, you need to include them all if you want to receive professionally made technical instruction. Usually, it requires lots of learning about every aspect of the product. Pay attention to the fact that you don’t need to add the page number to the front page.
Don’t make your front cover too bright or messy. It must contain specific information. Check the basic requirements:
- Brief title;
- Version and number of the document;
- Product title;
- Release date and version of the product;
- Date, statement of copyright, and related data;
- There may be an image of the product;
- Logo of the manufacturer;
- Statement of the trademark for other brands that are mentioned in the documentation;
- Website and contact numbers of the company;
- Disclosure and the disclaimer of the document (optional).
You have to be sure that this table is accurate. It will be the first thing that the user might open. So, the information on this page should be helpful for the user. You may place the page number there. Check out how many pages the front cover has, and place the following number on the table of the contest. Now, follow the next steps:
- Name the chapters. Write down these titles in the right order. Check the number of the page with this chapter. Write it down across the name in the table of contests. If there are sub-sections, you have to mention their names and pages as well. All the chapters must have page numbers for users to find them;
- You have to include the list of figures and tables if there are some. You can add other lists, like bibliography and so on. There may be an appendix, glossary, index titles, and addendum after you add the list of figures;
- Glossary has 2 columns for a description of the item and its name. It may contain abbreviations, acronyms, and technical terms that are included inside the technical documentation.
Think about the back cover as the ability to remind users about the manufacturer and how they can contact the support. This is the place for a logo, copyright statement, date of release, and contacts. Make it clear. Don’t use too many words there.
Tips to Improve Technical Documentations
Technical documents are usually made by engineers and researchers. These two professions usually do not require great communication skills. However, technical documentation must be understandable for users who don’t know anything about engineering.
Unfortunately, this becomes a problem since specialists in engineering don’t have many skills in creative technical writing. Big companies prefer to hire technical writers for this job.
If you want to master your skills in this field, you have to learn several professions at once, including engineering and writing. You can also consult with engineers of the company to create a helpful passport for the product. The following recommendations are the keys to success.
Learn the audience
You have to find out which is the target audience of the product. Based on this knowledge, you will know which writing style to pick. Usually, the audience that reads technical documentation relies on the information in this guide completely. You have to be as specific as possible. Don’t confuse anyone. Pay attention to whether the readers are professionals or amateurs.
Learn the product
You have to see the product yourself. Check out all the features you describe. Don’t rely on other people’s opinions. After you see the product, you may create the perfect concept. If you need, you can contact your client and ask about extra features of the item. You may contact independent experts and read similar research. Don’t write the document until you gather enough information. Yet, don’t forget to write down everything you heard about it.
Create logic structure
The structure must be easy to understand. If the user reads the documentation, perhaps he/she already has a problem with the product. To avoid unnecessary searching and time-wasting, make everything visible. Imagine yourself as a customer and ask yourself: which functions you want to know in the first place, which problems may bother you the most. Mention other sections with similar info near your answers.
Users have to navigate the technical documentation without any preparations and extra reading. It must not be confusing. The proper layout is what helps to make the search simple and advanced. The reader must not read the entire manual to find the information about a small detail.
If you want to separate one part of the text from another or clarify the description of the tool, use illustrations. They are catchy, and readers will see them in the first place. You can add illustrations of the product’s parts. Use diagrams, charts, and tables inside this documentation to highlight the important pieces of data. You can also use schemes with names for each part of the product.
Technical Document You Want to Use
Although technical documentation may not seem like the most interesting thing to read, you can significantly ease the life of users with it. The manufacturer will be thankful if this document is helpful enough to avoid constant explanations with clients. If the user does not need to call the contact center after reading the document, you’ve done your job perfectly.