7 Tips for Better Documentation Infographic
Basic writing skills are not something that should be taken for granted. Time and time again, I read poorly written manuals, instructions, and articles. Whether you write for a living or it is simply an annoying add-on to your real job, it is your responsibility to effectively communicate through the written word. If you do not understand basic writing best practices, you will fail. Take a few minutes to follow these 7 simple steps and your readers will thank you for it.
- Speak to your audience. Use terms that your audience will understand. Technical terms and jargon can be intimidating and misunderstood.
- Be clear, concise, and consistent. Avoid using long and complex sentences and paragraphs.
- Use bullet points. Putting information into a bulleted list is a great way to make information more clear, break up blocks of text into digestible chunks, draw attention to important information.
- Use active voice. For example, write “The Save As window opens,” instead of writing “The Save As window will open.”
- Use articles. Use the, a, and an. Technical documentation doesn’t eliminate articles. Articles actually make your writing more clear.
- Grammar does matter. Know and use parts of speech correctly.
- Create task oriented steps. When you are writing a procedure put it into task oriented steps with only one action per step. Don’t write “Align the top edges, put the screw into the holes, and tighten the screw.” That sentence should be written as three small, individually numbered steps.