While people are often intimidated by writing technical documents, they’re necessary tools for boosting sales and marketing. Without this technical documentation, products and processes will be hard to promote.
Luckily, we’ve got a few handy tips to set your technical writing in motion. Here are six easy steps to help you create technical documentation. Let’s get started!
6 Easy Steps to Help You Writing Technical Documentation that is effective
Knowing which type of technical documents are available is half the battle. A company needs to consider who can write these documents to boost its efficacy.
Once you have a designated technical writer, there are a few essential tips you can follow to ensure successful technical documentation. Here are six easy steps to help you create an effective technical document:
1. Find Out Your Target Audience
One of your research tasks needed before creating content for great technical documentation, is who you’re writing it for, who is your intended audience. Is your audience end users, development teams, project managers, are they technically inclined or non technical. That way, you can create documentation that connect to your audience better instead of sounding like a robot spewing out technical terms.
Remember that the goal is to convince your target audience and build organization support deliver the company’s message and core values. Pay attention to their needs and how you can cater to them.
2. Determine Which Type of Technical Documents You Need
Technical documentation types encompasses a broad scope, so determining which type you need helps you prepare for writing. Since there are many kinds of technical documentation, you can start by analyzing which category it falls under to establish its purpose. Additional things to look at are existing documentation.
Understanding the different categories of documentation is crucial when you write technical documentation. The more knowledge you have of these document types, the more flexible you’ll be in writing and increases your chances of writing good technical documentation.
3. Draft a Template
After determining which document type you’ll work on, it’s worth investing in templates for to help create effective technical documentation. We recommend designing at least one template per documentation to save time and improve your writing mastery.
You’ll also be able to exhibit consistency in your content if you have readily available templates per documentation. This will help mold the company or organization’s identity towards its customers and clients.
4. Content Writing
Once a template is ready, you’ll have an easier time writing the document’s content. Work around the framework you developed and be as detailed as possible with each section.
Most Technical documentation, by its name, is meant to be technical, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to read. Don’t be afraid to look for references to pattern your writing. What matters most is delivering a clear, accurate, and concise message.
5. Evaluate the Document and Gather Feedback
Let’s say you finished writing everything down to the last sentence, and you’re deliver technical documentation. Don’t stop there. Take time to evaluate your work and gather feedback from other team members.
You’re not just trying to impress and satisfy yourself but also your target audience. What better way to do that than considering them in the review process?
6. Always Keep the Documents Up-To-Date
If you think your job’s done once the technical documents are published, then you’re mistaken. Your target audience’s needs, compliance requirements, and other trends change over time. On that account, consider ensuring up to date information is part of the documents to see if they’re still relevant.
Products and services can also improve, so we recommend keeping their supporting documents up-to-date.
Create a simple, logical navigation structure
Creating a simple, logical navigation structure when creating technical documentation is crucial to ensuring that readers can easily find the information they need. Here are some steps you can follow to create an effective navigation structure:
Identify the main topics: Start by identifying the main topics that your technical documentation will cover. These topics should be broad and cover the major areas of the documentation.
Organize the topics into categories: Once you have identified the main topics, organize them into logical categories. For example, you might have categories for Getting Started, Installation, Configuration, Troubleshooting, and so on.
Create a table of contents: Using the categories you have identified, create a table of contents that lists all the topics in your documentation. This will serve as a roadmap for readers to navigate your documentation.
Use headings and subheadings: Within each topic, use headings and subheadings to break up the content into smaller, more manageable sections. This will make it easier for readers to scan the content and find the information they need.
Use hyperlinks: Use hyperlinks to connect related topics and make it easy for readers to jump between sections. This is particularly useful when readers need to refer back to earlier sections or when they need to follow a specific sequence of steps.
Use a consistent format: Use a consistent format throughout your documentation to make it easy for readers to navigate and understand. For example, use the same font, font size, and color for headings and subheadings.
By following these steps, you can create a navigation structure that is easy to use and helps readers find the information they need quickly and easily.
Your projects must also be organized as well so they can easily be accessed. List some topics people want to learn? How many specific information is there? Hierarchy is crucial here. Therefore Planio wiki helps to define a unique structure and develop parents-child relations. Lets imagine this: How do we identify subcategories of the major categories? It will also help you find information quickly. There’s nothing like a frantic search.
What Does Technical Documentation Mean?
Companies, organizations, and businesses refer to technical documentation as detailed documentation containing product, process, user interface, version control, knowledge base, or sales and marketing-related info and data. Whether its audience target is customers, business partners, or internal teams, its goal is to help achieve the desired result.
Writing technical documentation falls under the responsibility of technical writers. While these documents may sound like overly-complicated texts for experts, writers should aim to increase their readability according to the target audience.
The more people understand the technical documentation, the more aligned the target audience will be with the company’s goals and objectives.
What Are the Three Types of Technical Documentation Categories?
Since technical documentation covers a wide range of info types and purposes, we can further classify it into three categories. Depending on the company’s needs, the documents can focus on products, processes, or sales and marketing.
These categories help determine the purpose and target audience of the specific document a technical writer needs to write. All technical documentation fall under the following categories:
Product documentation refers to documents that explain how a certain product works and how customers or vendors can use it. It also often contains everything there is to know about a product such as technical details or technical specifications and how it can help end users achieve desired results.
The goal of product documentation should be to create user documentation with the operating procedures of a product, so they can use it to their benefit. Technical documents under this category include the following:
Software development kit (SDK) documentation
Application programming interface (API) documentation
Any document that helps internal teams navigate how they should execute tasks falls under process documentation. These documents aim to create unity among internal teams so that the members can embody the company or organization’s mission and vision.
Process documentation also keeps track of important dates and progress regarding tasks and projects. Here are some examples of process-related documents:
Writing Process and Styles
Sales and Marketing Documentation
Sales and marketing documents are about winning over customers, clients, and business partners. This type of documentation involves pitching ideas and advocating product or service values to your target market and increases marketing support internally.
The more concise your message is, the more attractive the deal becomes, effectively boosting your company’s sales and marketing. These are the documents that fall under this technical documentation category:
Marketing requirements documents (MRD)
Request for proposals (RFPs) and proposals
As with any type of writing, what’s important is for people to understand its message. Great Technical documentation is only as useful as its readability, so practice is of the essence.
If you hone your technical writing skills and have sufficient knowledge of the various types of technical documents, you can easily write materials that’ll bring success to your company.