Struggling to create clear and comprehensive guides, user manuals, online help, or training material? We can help.
Technical writing involves describing complex products clearly and concisely so that potential users understand the products and their benefits, and are actually in a position to set up and use them to their full potential. Technical writing – also known as information development, content authoring, and user assistance, to name but a few – is said to date back to the fourteenth century. The industry has seen rapid change however during the past few decades with the advent of computers and the Internet. Our writers are experienced and qualified to provide technical writing services for the IT industry. They are up-to-date with industry standards, best practices, tools, technologies, and delivery formats.
Our technical writing deliverables are based on a structured documentation plan and created using templates. The writing process itself can vary, but for product documentation typically includes the following steps:
- Gathering information about the product, for example, from technical specification documents
- Reviewing documentation about similar products offered by the client and their competitors
- Experimenting with the product, using trial and error to complete tasks
- Analysing the information needs of the target audience and planning how to meet these needs (generally by role and task)
- Compiling a list of questions and interviewing the developers or product experts to fill gaps in your knowledge
- Creating first drafts of the documentation and requesting feedback from developers or product experts
- Reviewing feedback, reworking drafts, and resubmitting for feedback until the client signs off the final versions
- Publishing the final deliverables in the required format (for example, online, print, or embedded within the product itself)
- Testing the availability of the documentation if necessary
- Getting feedback from customers on the documentation provided to integrate into the next release as appropriate
Again the list of deliverables is different for each project, as we tailor our documentation plans to the specific needs of our clients. However, all plans created for a piece of software would include some of the following:
- A glossary, or list of terms and definitions, that is used within the software itself and throughout the documentation set
- Text that appears on the user interfaces (or screens), such as field labels, on-screen explanations, and error messages
- Built-in context-sensitive help that users can refer to if they run into difficulty when performing a specific task, including frequently asked questions (FAQs) and process descriptions for example
- A quick start guide covering the main steps a user needs to follow to get started with the software
- A detailed configuration guide or upgrade guide for technical users that covers all of the detailed settings that need to be made to set up and integrate the software with the existing IT landscape
- E-learning and/or classroom training material to provide upfront learning for end users who are expected to perform certain tasks using the software
- Simulations or videos illustrating how to perform a certain task using the software
- A detailed user manual that end users can refer to on a daily basis for step-by-step instructions on how to work with the software and advice on troubleshooting
- API documentation for developers outlining how they can build on top of the software to modify or enhance it
Technical writing is our core competency. Talk to us today about your needs and find out how we could make your life easier. Remember we also offer editing and proofreading, as well as training and consulting in this area if you want to use our expertise to develop yours.