In the first chapter of the Technical Communication book, Mike and Selber (2018), defines technical communication as a vast field encompassing different forms of communication exhibiting one or more of these characteristics; first, communicates about specialized or technical topics like medical procedures, computer applications, and environmental regulations. Second, it communicates through the use of technology like help files, web pages, and social media platforms. Third, gives instructions on how to carry out various things regardless of how technical they are. The significant value delivered by technical communication is that it makes information more accessible and usable to multiple individuals in need of the specific information hence advancing the goals of the organizations and companies employing them.
One of the significant pieces in this book that has greatly influenced me is the technical writing about the characteristics of technical documents. A technical document refers to any document which has been designed to help in learning how to create, operate, or maintain a product. One of my experiences with a piece of technical writing was with writing user documentation type and especially for the description types of user documentation focused on how to use a Smartphone. My primary aim for writing the description document was to give useful information on the services offered by the phone as well as the system requirement. It was hard for me to know whether the end-user would be able to make decisions, whether that was the right system they wanted by just checking the introductory manual.
After writing the description document, I later came to realize that there were various features of technical documents that were missing in my technical writing. Some of the missing characteristics included; my document lacked design features, and this made it less attractive. Additionally, my document had not been produced collaboratively because I never involved my associates or friends in creating the document. Still, instead, I did it alone, and this made it lack some of the technical answers required by most of the end-users. However, the book by Mike and Sieber (2018) about the characteristics of technical documents has been of great help to me in various ways since it has made me know how to write a proper technical document effectively.
Some of the ways in which that piece of technical writing has positively influenced me include; I have come to realize that for a technical document to get its job done correctly, it should contain six major characteristics. For instance, the document needs to address its specific readers and ensure that it is well structured and detailed with proper vocabulary and sentence-style use to make the user understand the document with ease. It should also help the readers in solving their problems by reflecting on the organizational culture and goals. The document also needs to be produced collaboratively with the use of proper design to help to improve the use of readability and words or both words and images, both static and moving, should be appropriately used to make the document more appealing and interesting.
Reading chapter one of the Technical Communication book has equipped me with proper skills in technical writing, and this has effectively improved my ability to write appropriate technical documents. If I had these skills the first time I was writing my description document, I would have avoided some of the major mistakes I made, like failing to use design features in my document as well as failure to involve my associates and friends during the technical writing. However, as for now, I can effectively use the characteristics of technical documents described by Mike and Sieber (2018) and come up with a proper description document technical writing.
Markel, M. & Stuart A. S. (2018). Technical Communication, Bedford/St. Martin's.
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