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A technical writer is a professional writer who designs, writes, creates, maintains and updates technical documentation including online help, user guidance, white papers, design specifications, system manuals and other documents. A technical writer’s key undertaking is to come up/write technical documentation for technical, business and consumer audiences.
Technical writing can be on any topic or subject that requires an explanation to a certain or particular audience. Therefore it requires the technical writer to research on the necessary topic or subject and come up with accurate and comprehensive documents. When creating a document a technical writer collects information by studying existing and interviewing the subject matter experts. The technical writer also needs to study the audience in order to understand their technical level.
A technical writer should possess good research techniques, good sound of language and excellent writing skills. Apart from this one needs to have the following.
1. Information design
In this case a technical writer is required to design the information in a manner that users can get what they want from the stuff and understand it when they get there. In technical terms information design means creating an information structure for certain information meant for a certain type of audience.
2. Information architecture
Information architecture is the art of expressing a model or concept of information used in activities that require specific details of complex systems. These activities include things like web designing, library information, database development, interface designing among others.
3. Training material development
A good technical writer needs to make a well elaborate training manual for the particular topic he is writing on. He needs to have enough skills on how to write a simple and easy to understand and follow manual. The manual should be made in a manner that is step to step. In case of any technical terms used clarification should be given for the audience to understand.
An illustration is visualization such as a drawing, photograph or a painting or any other art work that helps to elaborate on the subject matter. I.e. it stresses the subject matter more than form. The purpose of illustration is to explicate or beautify textual information by providing visual representations that are attractive. Therefore a technical writer should be good at this.
This is the art or technique of arranging typefaces, point sizes, line length or rather line spacing, arranging spaces between words and paragraphs e.t.c. this is similar work done by typesetters but it is a skill that a technical writer should have in order to produce excellent documents.
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