Technical Writing Tips & Tricks

Ideas and advice to help good Technical Communicators become great Technical Communicators.

Best Technical Writing Tips and Tricks from the TechWhirl Email Discussion List

In 2012, Techwhirl’s email discussion list was alive with opinion, facts, recommendations, suggestions, and ideas on technical writing, job hunting, planning and production of content intended to help users. As we close out the year, we thought it would be worthwhile to mine this vast expertise and provide you with some wide-ranging tips and tricks you can use in 2013 and beyond. Continue reading ...

Tips and Tricks: 10 Heuristics for Evaluating Documentation Usability

Summer Replay: We aim to produce documentation that is useful to users. That is, we want our users to find the right topics and use them to achieve their goals with the software. I use ten Documentation Usability heuristics, or rules of thumb, to design, evaluate, and course-correct technical content before the ship date. Using these heuristics can help content developers catch most structural errors, and provide insight into the actual user experience with the documentation. Continue reading ...

Tips and Tricks: Getting from Obvious to Valuable Technical Content

Users complain that they are only getting information they already know—and they’re not particularly interested in consuming this “obvious” content. Unfortunately, in the name of rapid production, much content that is written describes the obvious about features, and doesn't do justice to content that is truly valuable to those who want to consume it. Getting away from obvious content is at the heart of producing valuable technical content. Here are five tips to getting to valuable technical content. Continue reading ...

The Changing Landscape of Technical Communication: Tips and Tricks for Staying Relevant

If there’s one thing that all technical writers can agree on, it’s that we never always agree on anything. Agreed? Moving from that logical quagmire into another one: I think we can also all agree that this rapid rate of technological change is having a large impact on our professional lives. What kinds of technological change am I talking about? Mobility, speed and bandwidth and connectedness from the use of social media. Time to develop good strategies for adapting to technology and workplace changes. Continue reading ...