Technical Documentations

Technical Documentation

 


Technical writing covers many genres and writing styles depending on the information and audience.[3]:84–114 Technical documents are not solely produced by technical writers. Almost anyone who works in a professional setting produces technical documents of some variety. Some examples of technical writing include:

  • Instructions and procedures are documents that help either developers or end users operate or configure a device or program.[11]:226 Examples of instructional documents include user manuals and troubleshooting guides for computer programs, computer hardware, household products, medical equipment, mechanical products and automobiles.
  • Proposals. Most projects begin with a proposal—a document that describes the purpose of a project, the tasks that will be performed in the project, the methods used to complete the project, and finally the cost of the project.[11]:191 Proposals cover a wide range of subjects. For example, a technical writer may author a proposal that outlines how much it will cost to install a new computer system, a marketing professional may write a proposal with the product offerings and a teacher may write a proposal that outlines how a new biology class will be structured.
  • Emails, letters, and memoranda are some of the most frequently written documents in a business.[11]:117 Letters and emails can be constructed with a variety of goals—some are usually aimed at simply communicating information while others are designed to persuade the recipient to accomplish a certain task. While letters are usually written to people outside of a company, memoranda (memos) are documents written to other employees within the business.[11]:118
  • Press releases. When a company wants to publicly reveal a new product or service, they will have a technical writer author a press release, a document that describes the product's functions and value to the public.[14]
  • Specifications are design outlines that describe the structure, parts, packaging, and delivery of an object or process in enough detail that another party can reconstruct it.[15] For example, a technical writer might diagram and write the specifications for a smartphone or bicycle so that a manufacturer can produce the object.
  • Descriptions are shorter explanations of procedures and processes that help readers understand how something works.[3]:564 For example, a technical writer might author a document that shows the effects of greenhouse gases or demonstrates how the braking system on a bike functions.
  • Résumés and job applications are another example of technical documents.[11]:284–285 They are documents that are used in a professional setting to inform readers of the author's credentials.
  • Technical reports are written to provide readers with information, instructions, and analysis on tasks.[11]:141–143 Reports come in many forms. For example, a technical writer might evaluate a building that is for sale and produce a trip report that highlights his or her findings and whether or not he or she believes the building should be purchased. Another writer who works for a non-profit company may publish an evaluation report that shows the findings of the company's research into air pollution.
  • Case study is a published report about a person, group, or situation that has been studied over time; also : a situation in real life that can be looked at or studied to learn about something.[16] For example, an individual's challenging situation at his or her workplace and how he or she resolved it is a case study.
  • White papers are documents that are written for experts in a field and typically describe a solution to a technological or business challenge or problem.[11]:644 Examples of white papers include a piece that details how to make a business stand out in the market or a piece explaining how to prevent cyber-attacks on businesses.
  • Websites. The advent of hypertext has changed the way documents are read, organized, and accessed. Technical writers of today are often responsible for authoring pages on websites like "About Us" pages or product pages and are expected to be proficient in web development tools.[17]:484–504
  • Datasheets are the document that summarize the features, key specifications, technical characteristics, application circuits and some other important information about the product, machine, equipment, software, application, system in brief.
  • API guides are written for the developer community and are used to explain the application programming interfaces.
  • Help systems are online help centres that provide users with technical information about products and services. They provide content as web pages that are viewed in a browser. The content may be created in help centre software, such as Zendesk, or in help authoring tools or component content management systems that can create a help centre as an HTML output.


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Technical Documentation Tools

Technical Documentation Toola

The following tools are used by technical writers to author and present documents:

  • Desktop publishing tools or word processors. Word processors such as Scrivener, Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and LibreOffice Writer are used by technical writers to author, edit, design, and print documents. Since technical writing is as much about the page's layout as it is the written language, enhanced desktop publishing tools such as Adobe InDesign and LyX are also used by Technical Writers.[18] These programs function similarly to word processors but provide users with more options and features for the document's design and automate much of the formatting.[19]
  • Help authoring tools are used by technical writers to create the help systems that are packaged with software products, delivered through web browsers or provided as files users can view on their computers. When writing instructional procedures to describe mechanical, electrical or software programs; technical writers will use these tools to assist them in simplifying assembly, operation or installation processes.
  • Component content Management Systems are also used by technical writers to create help systems and documents. Component Content Management Systems (CCMS) allow writers to create similar outputs as help authoring tools, but they also provide content management features such as version management and built-in workflows.
  • Image editing software. Often, images and other visual elements can portray information better than paragraphs of texts.[3]:306–307 In these instances, image editing software like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP are used by technical writers to create and edit the visual aspects of documents like photos, icons, and diagrams.
  • Collaborative software programs. Because technical writing often involves communication between multiple individuals who work for different companies, it can be a collaborative affair.[3]:57 Thus, technical writers use Wiki Systems and shared document work-spaces to work with other writers and parties to construct technical documents.[3]:74
  • Web development tools. Technical writers' jobs are no longer limited to just producing documents. They must now also produce content for company's corporate and other professional web sites.[17]:485 Web Development Tools like Adobe Dreamweaver are standard tools in the industry that technical writers are expected to be proficient in.
  • Text editor programs such as Microsoft Notepad, TextEdit, or Wordstar, allow technical writers to edit plain text. Text editors can be used to change files such as configuration files, documentation files and programming language source code. Text editors are widely used by technical writers working with online content.
  • Graphing software. In order to portray statistical information like the number of visits to a restaurant or the amount of money a university spends on its sporting programs, technical writers will use graphs and flowcharts.[3]:306–307 While programs like Microsoft Excel and Word can create basic graphs and charts, sometimes technical writers must produce incredibly complex and detailed graphs that require functions not available in these programs. In these instances, powerful graphing and diagramming tools like Microsoft Visio are used to effectively organize and design graphs and diagrams.[20]
  • Screen capture tools Technical writers commonly use Screen Capture Tools like Camtasia and Snagit to capture their desktops.[21][22] When creating instructions for computer software, it's much easier for a technical writer to simply record themselves completing a task than it is to write a lengthy series of instructions that describe how the task must be performed. Screen capture tools are also used to take screenshots of programs and software running on user's computers and then to create accompanying diagrams.

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