Successful technical writing is one of the hardest writings to achieve. It is because success in technical writing is never measured. Not even by how great the heading or writing manner is done. Document writers may think that their material would be beneficial to users. When it actually makes it harder for them to understand everything.
How product documentation becomes successful technical writing
Success in technical writing is about leading the readers to read on the benefits or other better ways to use the product. Some document writers would focus more on pointing out about the Legal and Disclaimers sections of the product. Of course it is important. The protection of the company is critical. But some readers will not bother to take a look at it. Achieve successful technical writing. Document writers should write about the other benefits of the product.
For example, in formatting documents. Most power users of Microsoft Word ™ use “styles,” rather than manual formatting. This tool which is very helpful is available in most word processors. However, new and casual users have no idea that it exists. Word’s User Documentation does not provide any input to let users know about styles.
Achieve successful technical writing in Word’s User Documentation. Encourage users to read the additional material. Example: “It is easier to format any document by using ‘styles.’ See Chapter X to know more about ‘styles.’
Difference of poor and successful technical writing
Here are other examples of poor and successful technical writing in product documentation:
Example Number 1: Gas Barbecue Safe Shut Down
Poor technical writing: “How to Turn Off Your Gas Barbecue.”
Successful tech writing: “You Must Have Shut Off Your Barbecue the Wrong Way: Here’s How to Do It Safely”
Your readers will always read the headline first. So, you have to make sure that it is written creatively. Most readers know how to shut off a barbecue. They will never read the material. Provide important and convincing headlines. They will read on until the last sentence of your material. Successful technical writing is not just about being too analytical in discussing about the product. There should be a great combination of creativity and technicality. This introduces the product effectively.
Success in technical writing is about getting the users read on important material in your product documentation. Think of a personal and creative way. Engage the readers to notice what you have written.
Example Number 2: The use of “See Also” Sections
Poor technical writing: “See Also Styles, Chapter XX”
Successful technical writing: “We highly recommend that you use ‘styles’ in formatting longer documents. See Chapter XX to know more about ‘styles.’”
You don’t want to have the impression that the document writer was too lazy to discuss about important topics in the product documentation. Remember that you want to achieve successful technical writing. So, encourage users to read the material. Successful tech writing does not always have to look like you are trying to sell. But it has to have the impact that you are endorsing the product through product documentation.
Successful technical writing is also about imparting knowledge to the readers through the documents. Success in technical writing reflects when the users get customer service by reading through the manuals when they need help. It does not always have to center on the legal and disclaimer statements because it will not get the attention of readers.
It is the user or the reader who has to get all the benefits of successful technical writing. It is because successful techn writing is about providing assistance to users when they are looking for ways on how the product works. The product documentation should contain all necessary information about the product which states that “it is there to help the user.” With this, the material will have the impression that the product guarantees customer satisfaction after the sale has been made. And if the customer is satisfied and repeatedly read on the manual, then successful technical writing is definitely achieved.