By Mike Gregory MISTC, July 2019
Technical Communicators provide users with easy to understand, step-by-step, guides, that provide relevant information in a helpful and engaging manner. This can provide benefits to the organisation and to users.
Benefits to organisations
Technical communication is necessary because it can provide a more efficient working environment. If a worker is set a task that they are unfamiliar with, which also has a deadline, they do not want to spend hours trying to find the relevant information to learn how to use it. This is where the Technical Communicator is vital.
Benefit to the users
If the Technical Communicator has done their job properly, this will benefit the user in several ways:
- Help the employers and employees’ complete tasks more successfully
- During the product design stage, identify and prevent potential problems with the design and manufacturing of the product
- Allow users to work more efficiently
- Prevent information overload
We live in a world where we are bombarded with information. This can lead to oversaturation and confusion about what is factually correct and what is hyperbole. This is where Technical Communicators are so important for employers. The Technical Communicator will be presented with a mine of content, and they will extract the relevant nuggets of information required.
The key to this process is an approach to writing called “minimalisation”. Minimalisation removes all unnecessary information, so that information is clear and brief. This approach results in a user guide that has a task-orientated focus, which means that users can complete the job as efficiently as possible.
Consistency and standardisation
The work of the Technical Communicator is often standardised. This means they use a set of guidelines and assign information to labelled sections. This approach makes it easier for the reader to scan, locate and recognise information. Many Technical Communicators use “information types” to organise the information. The main “information types” are:
- Tasks – These are the steps and results of a procedure.
- Concepts – Information presented conceptually for beginners to understand more theoretical information. These can also include illustrations and diagrams.
- References – This is “look-up” information, such as the correct air pressure rates for tyres.
Technical Communication can take on many forms, depending on the procedure, including:
- Software manuals
- Online instructions
The purpose of a Technical Communicator is to create content that must be easy to understand, focused. The value of this is that it instils a sense of confidence in the user, allowing them to complete the task as efficiently and effectively as possible.