Creating User-Friendly Technical Documents

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  • 0:00 Write for Your Target Audience
  • 0:32 Make Information Easy to Read
  • 1:58 Use Simple Language
  • 2:34 Stay on Topic
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sean Kennedy

Sean has 8 years experience as a supervisor and has an MBA with a concentration in marketing.

Many users may have difficulties reading technical documents. In this lesson, we will discuss ways to present information that can be easy to read for your target audience.

Write for Your Target Audience

Are you wondering how to start writing a technical document? The first step of the process is to determine who your target audience is. The target audience are the people who will be reading the technical documents and utilizing the information presented in the reports. All the information in the documents should be geared towards their wants and needs. Using a table of contents will help the target audience determine what information they need and where to find it.

Make Information Easy to Read

The document should be easy to read by using lists, short sentences, and spacing so valuable information can stand alone. Make sure before the document is written, there is an outline with all the information that will be included. An outline will help you create a document that is clear and concise. The document should be written in a style that will allow the user to be able to pinpoint information. Paragraphs should be short, and if there is any complex information, it should be defined within the text.

Remember that your target audience will not be familiar with technical terms, so if technical terms are included, it is vital to define what they mean. Using technical words that are not defined will just confuse the reader. Highlighting text in bold and italics for important parts will help the information stick out to the reader.

For instance, suppose you work at an advertising firm and are explaining to the reader the entire process of advertising. You decide to start off by giving the definition of what advertising is. The best way to make the information stand out would be to make the word 'Advertising' bold, and then give the definition, such as, 'Advertising is the profession of creating information for commercial products or services'. Using bold text with a definition helps highlight that this is an important piece of information, and it will draw the reader to the topic.

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