Technical communication
Technical communication is a method of researching and creating information about technical processes or products directed to an audience through media
Media (communication)
In communications, media are the storage and transmission channels or tools used to store and deliver information or data...

. The information must be relevant to the intended audience. Technical communicators often work collaboratively to create products (deliverable
Deliverable is a term used in project management to describe a tangible or intangible object produced as a result of the project that is intended to be delivered to a customer . A deliverable could be a report, a document, a server upgrade or any other building block of an overall project.A...

s) for various media, including paper, video, and the Internet. Deliverable
Deliverable is a term used in project management to describe a tangible or intangible object produced as a result of the project that is intended to be delivered to a customer . A deliverable could be a report, a document, a server upgrade or any other building block of an overall project.A...

s include online help
Online help
Online help is topic-oriented, procedural or reference information delivered through computer software. It is a form of user assistance. Most online help is designed to give assistance in the use of a software application or operating system, but can also be used to present information on a broad...

, user manual
User guide
A user guide or user's guide, also commonly known as a manual, is a technical communication document intended to give assistance to people using a particular system...

s, technical manuals, white paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

s, specifications, process and procedure manuals, industrial video
Industrial video
An industrial video is a video that targets “industry” as its primary audience. An industrial video is a type of sponsored film which prioritizes pragmatism over artistic value...

s, reference card
Reference card
A reference card or quick reference card is a concise bundling of common syntactic rules and idioms of a particular formal language. It serves as an ad hoc memory aid for an experienced user....

s, data sheets, journal articles, patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s, training, business papers, technical reports, and forms and documents
Form and document creation
Form and Document Creation is one of the things that technical communicators do as part of creating deliverables for their companies or clients. Document design is “the field of theory and practice aimed at creating comprehensible, persuasive and usable functional documents.” These forms and...


Vocational education
Vocational education or vocational education and training is an education that prepares trainees for jobs that are based on manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic, and totally related to a specific trade, occupation, or vocation...

 domains can be of any kind, including the soft and hard science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

s, high technology including computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

s and software, consumer electronics
Consumer electronics
Consumer electronics are electronic equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment, communications and office productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver...

, and business processes and practices.

Technical communication jobs include the following:
  • Technical Writer
    Technical writer
    A technical writer is a professional writer who designs, creates, and maintains technical documentation...

  • Technical editor
    Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, visual, audible, and film media used to convey information through the processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate, and complete...

  • Technical illustrator
  • Information architect
  • Usability
    Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, or anything a human interacts with. A usability study may be conducted as a primary job function by a usability analyst or as a secondary job...

  • User interface
    User interface
    The user interface, in the industrial design field of human–machine interaction, is the space where interaction between humans and machines occurs. The goal of interaction between a human and a machine at the user interface is effective operation and control of the machine, and feedback from the...

  • User experience designer
  • Technical trainer
    Trainer (business)
    Trainers work in many different areas, mainly educating employees of companies on specific topics of workplace importance.Some trainers are in-house, and others work for training companies....

  • Technical translator
  • API writer
    API Writer
    An API writer is a technical writer who writes documents that describe an application programming interface . The primary audience includes programmers, developers, system architects, and system designers.- Overview :...

Content creation

Technical communication is sometimes considered a professional task for which organizations either hire specialized employees, or outsource their needs to communication firms. For example, a professional writer may work with a company to produce a user manual. Other times, technical communication is regarded as a responsibility that technical professionals employ on a daily basis as they work to convey technical information to coworkers and clients. For example, a computer scientist may need to provide software documentation to fellow programmers or clients.

The process of developing information products in technical communication begins by ensuring that the nature of the audience and their need for information is clearly identified. From there the technical communicator researches and structures the content into a framework that can guide the detailed development. As the information product is created, the paramount goal is ensuring that the content can be clearly understood by the intended audience and provides the information that the audience needs in the most appropriate format. This process, known as the 'Writing Process
Writing process
The Writing process is both a key concept in the teaching of writing and an important research concept in the field of composition studies.Research on the writing process focuses on how writers draft, revise, and edit texts...

', has been a central focus of writing theory since the 1970s, and some contemporary textbook authors have applied it to technical communication.

Technical communication is important to engineers mainly for the purpose of being professional and accurate. These reports supply specific information in a concise manner and are very clear in their meaning if done correctly.

The technical writing
Technical writing
Technical writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of writing used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology....

 process can be divided into five steps:
  1. Determine purpose and audience
  2. Collect information
  3. Organize and outline information
  4. Write the first draft
  5. Revise and edit

Determining purpose and audience

All technical communication is done with a particular end in mind. The purpose is usually to facilitate the communication of ideas and concepts to the audience, but may sometimes be used to direct the audience in a particular course of action. The importance of the audience is in the notion that meaning is derived from the audience's interpretation of a piece of work. The purpose may be something as simple as having the audience understand the details of some technological system, or to take a particular action using that system. For example, if the workers in a bank were not properly posting deposits to accounts, someone would write the procedure so these workers might have the correct procedure. Similarly, a sales manager might wonder which of two sites would be a more appropriate choice for a new store, so he would ask someone to study the market and write a report with the recommendations. The sales manager would distribute the report to all parties involved in making that decision. In each of these instances, the person who is writing is transferring knowledge from the person who knows to the person who needs to know. This is the basic definition of technical communication.
Dont use this ide for an electronic device typically includes diagrams along with detailed textual explanations. The purpose should serve as a goal that the writer strives toward in writing.

The identification of the audience affects many aspects of communication, from word selection and graphics usage to style and organization. A non-technical audience might not understand, or worse, not even read a document that is heavy with jargon, while a technical audience might crave extra detail because it is critical for their work. Busy audiences do not have time to read an entire document, so content must be organized for ease of searching, for example by the frequent inclusion of headers, white space
White space (visual arts)
In page layout, illustration and sculpture, white space is often referred to as negative space. It is that portion of a page left unmarked: the space between graphics, margins, gutters, space between columns, space between lines of type or figures and objects drawn or depicted...

 and other cues that guide attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

. Other requirements vary on the needs of the particular audience.


In Government:

Technical communication in the government is very particular and detailed. Depending on the particular segment of the government (and not to mention the particular country), the government component must follow distinct specifications. In the case of the US Army, the MIL-spec (Military specification) is used. It is updated continuously and technical communications (in the form of Technical Manuals, Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals, Technical Bulletins, etc.) must be updated as well.

The Department of Defense utilizes Technical Manuals regularly and is a core part of the agency's responsibilities. Although detail oriented in their requirements, the DoD has deficiencies in technical communication. The following paper discusses those deficiencies and identifies the major contributing factors.

Collecting information

The next step is to collect information that is needed for accomplishing the stated purpose. Information may be collected through primary research, where the technical communicator conducts research first-hand, and secondary research, where work published by another person is used as an information source. The technical communicator must acknowledge all sources used to produce his or her work. To ensure that this is done, the technical communicator should distinguish quotations, paraphrases, and summaries when taking notes.

Organizing and outlining information

Before writing the initial draft, all the ideas are organized in a way that will make the document flow nicely. A good way of doing this is to write all random thoughts down on a paper, and then circle all main sections, connect the main sections to supporting ideas with lines, and delete all irrelevant material.

Once each idea is organized, the writer can then organize the document as a whole. This can be accomplished in various ways:
  • Chronological: This is used for documents that involve a linear process, such as a step-by-step guide describing how to accomplish something.
  • Parts of an object: Used for documents which describe the parts of an object, such as a graphic showing the parts of a computer (keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc.)
  • Simple to Complex (or vice versa): Starts with the easy-to-understand ideas, and gradually goes deeper into complex ideas.
  • Specific to General: Starts with many ideas, and then organizes the ideas into sub-categories.
  • General to Specific: Starts with a few categories of ideas, and then goes deeper.

Once the whole document is organized, it's a good idea to create a final outline, which will show all the ideas in an easy-to-understand document. Creating an outline makes the entire writing process much easier and will save the author time.

Writing the first draft

After the outline is completed, the next step is to write the first draft. The goal is to write down ideas from the outline as quickly as possible. Setting aside blocks of one hour or more, in a place free of distractions, will help the writer maintain a flow. Also, the writer should wait until the draft is complete to do any revising; stopping to revise at this stage will break the writer's flow. The writer should start with the section that is easiest for them, and write the summary only after the body is drafted.

The ABC (Abstract, Body, and Conclusion) format can be used when writing a first draft. The Abstract describes the subject to be written about, so that the reader knows what he or she is going to be told in the document. The Body is the majority of the paper, in which the topics are covered in depth. Lastly, the Conclusion section restates the main topics of the paper.

The ABC format can also be applied to individual paragraphs, beginning with a topic sentence that clearly states the paragraph's topic. This is followed by the topic, and finally, the paragraph closes with a concluding sentence.

Revising and editing

Once the initial draft is laid out, editing and revising can be done to fine-tune the draft into a final copy. Four tasks transform the early draft into its final form, suggested by Pfeiffer and Boogard:

Adjusting and reorganizing content

During this step, the draft is revisited to 1) focus or elaborate on certain topics which deserve more attention, 2) shorten other sections, and 3) shift around certain paragraphs, sentences, or entire topics.

Editing for style

Good style makes the writing more interesting, appealing, or readable. In general the personal writing style of the writer will not be evident in technical writing. Some changes are made by choice, not for correctness, and may include:
  • adding headings, lists, graphics
  • changing passive-voice sentences to an active voice
  • defining terminology
    Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words that in specific contexts are given specific meanings, meanings that may deviate from the meaning the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language. The discipline Terminology studies among other...

  • rearranging paragraphs
  • shortening paragraphs
  • shortening sentences

Technical writing is a discipline that usually requires a technical writer to make particular use of a style guide
Style guide
A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field...

. These guides may relate to a specific project, product, company or brand and in general they ensure that technical writing is devoid of a personal style.

Editing for grammar

At this point, the document can be checked for grammatical errors, such as comma usage and common word confusions (for example, there/their/they're etc.).

Edit for context

Determining the necessary amount of context is important. There needs to be a balance between exuberance, which may lead the audience to take unintended additional meaning from the text, and terseness, which may leave the audience unable to interpret meaning because of missing words.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.