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You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ') ORDER BY comment_date ASC' at line 3 A Technical Writer Guide To Understanding Readers A Technical Writer Guide To Understanding Readers - Article Marketing

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A Technical Writer Guide To Understanding Readers

By: sherrywolas | Total views: 110 | Word Count: 502 | Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 - 1:58 AM

Technical writers today have multiple challenges. First there is the challenge of technical writing. It's not creative writing or writing meant to be persuasive. It's not writing meant to inspire or motivate. Technical writing is writing accomplished to convey information. Technical writing in a general sense provides instructions, summarizes actions, organizes data or outlines steps to assist people in an activity.
Another challenge to today's technical writer is the difficulty in clarifying requirements for a particular project. Requirements definition and management seems to be a growing problem in business today. Too much time is spent on project scheduling without sufficient time spent clarifying the project. For example, when undertaking a large technical writing project such as a user manual for a piece of equipment, spend adequate time with the customer establishing the scope of information to be included in the document, a thumbnail sketch about the intended audience, the intended outcomes for the document, and the measurement for success of the project. Then and only then, begin project management activities such as a project schedule and configuration management plan.
So if one of the critical factors in technical writing is writing to the intended audience, how exactly can this be accomplished? In general, today's readers follow these practices, (1) they prioritize what's available to read, (2) they are strongly predisposed to like or dislike a piece based on visual impressions, (3) they skim and scan, (4) they want to know the how and why of a document before they read the details and (5) they totally judge a technical writer by the content and writing quality.
When creating a thumbnail sketch of a reader for a document to be written by a technical writer, keep the above points in mind. But more importantly, do your homework on the specific audience that will be the end users of a technical document. Technical writing is by it's very nature, is about conveying information. Technical writing involves telling the reader what they want to know. Technical writing answers questions like who, what, when, where, why and most importantly, how. The answer to a how question is the bread and butter of technical writing.
So when approaching a technical writing project, take the time to think about your reader. Keep that thought in mind as you write. When it's time to review and edit, renew your vision of the reader. Maintain a mental picture of the reader in your mind while you edit. Eliminate everything that's unnecessary. Write to their level, not above or below it. Writing to the wrong level, either too elementary or too haughty has caused many projects to flop miserably. Don't do it. As much as possible, put yourself in their shoes. Be aware of what the reader needs to know about the particular topic and answer all of their questions with your writing. Write clearly and without fluff.
Knowing your reader isn't magic. It doesn't take a crystal ball. It just takes thought, a little research, and good judgment.

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