Technical writing is commonly described as the process of conveying technical information in simple language so that readers can perform operations that require certain technical expertise.In other words, a technical writer is the one who makes the expertise possessed by professionals in a certain field accessible to the general public. This article will introduce you to technical writing examples.
With this definition in mind, it is safe to say that technical writing has been around since the dawn of history. As soon as humanity started to accumulate knowledge, the need to spread it arose. In this sense, we can go as far as to call a textbook an example of technical writing since its goal is to make knowledge in a certain field accessible to students.
It is also clear that such an approach towards the topic allows to single out a lot of technical writing categories. In this article we will take a look at the most relevant for modern society ones. Those of you who are looking for a new career in technical writing will find these examples useful and telling.
Although the broad definition of tech writing mentioned above allows for a variety of interpretations, a manual is the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the phrase “technical writing.” It is necessary to mention, though, that manuals do not comprise a homogenous category. Thus, they can be divided into several types that have their peculiarities.
These documents focus on step-by-step instructions explaining the user how to achieve the desired goal. This aim usually revolves around solving some problem. Therefore, the key message of a software manual is the explanation of a routine that has to be set in order to solve the particular problem with minimal effort and maximal efficiency.
The example above sets a routine for performing an action with software. Special attention is paid to troubleshooting as the steps to be taken if the initial instructions have not been followed are explained in detail.
The basic principle of writing a manual remains the same. It is a step-by-step instruction that enables the user to conduct necessary operations. However, it goes without saying that operating machinery differs from running software. As a result, the manual written for machinery will be significantly different from the instructions on how to use a computer program. The key peculiarities of a machinery use manual can be described as follows.
- The focus of this document is on the safety of the user. Industrial machinery must be approached with caution and attention. Technical documentation surrounding such equipment can never do too much to warn the reader against carelessness.
- Detailed specifications of the machine are listed.
- Maintenance procedures are explained in detail. This point is important because the users are interested in keeping the machinery as well as themselves intact.
- In case maintenance procedures have not been followed up to scratch or any unexpected occurrence happened, the manual contains instructions on how to repair minor damages.
- Additional tools required for operating the machine are listed as well.
The points outlined above lead to the conclusion that a machinery manual is likely to be written in a highly technical language using jargon almost at will. After all, it is expected that specialized machinery will be used by professionals in the respective industries.
Manuals for consumer electronics
Unlike machinery, consumer electronics is likely to be used by people with little or no technical expertise at all. The manuals written for this type of products must take this issue into account. Therefore, a manual written for consumer electronics will most likely possess the following characteristics:
- It is free of jargon or any terms that may confuse the reader.
- The focus is on describing the way things should look and feel when operating properly instead of precise technical characteristics.
- The installation and first launch of the product are described in as much detail as possible.
- Safety concerns are mentioned as well since modern complex electronics can be dangerous when not handled properly.
Other examples of technical writing
As we already mentioned, technical writing is all around us. Its application is not limited to writing a manual for a particular product. At the same time, even minimalist examples of tech writing retain its key function: they explain difficult concepts in understandable terms. The following documents or short messages can be technical writing examples you probably never considered.
- Used conventions
As evident from the example above, user conventions is the manual on how to read and understand the rest of the document. It is a technical document because it simplifies understanding of the requirements for the reader.
The example above is written as precisely as possible to avoid any possible misunderstanding between the seller and the buyer of a product. It falls into category of technical writing because it enables the buyer who is likely to lack knowledge of the product compared to the seller, to have clear pictures on what is being purchased and how the product is expected to operate.
- Intended use is a section of the manual that restricts the user in the opportunities to apply the product. It is crucial in the sense that it clarifies the rest of the manual by putting it into context.
The list is not exhaustive. You are welcome to pay a little attention to your surroundings and notice how most of the messages you receive fall into technical writing categories.
Why pay attention to technical writing examples?
Unlike fiction or publicist writing, there is virtually no room for individual style in tech writing. This fact may seem disappointing at first. However, it brings the wealth of opportunity associated with the use of samples freely available online.
Once you understand the type of technical document you need to create, nothing stops you from finding an appropriate example and using it as a template that can be filled with the information relevant for your task at hand. This strategy is especially useful when you are new to the field and your technical writing skills are still to be improved.
Types of technical writing assignments
As we have provided some particular examples of technical documents above, let’s combine them in comparatively wide groups. It seems reasonable to single out three wide categories of technical writing assignments.
These documents are used to clarify the expected rules of conduct within a workplace and ensure the conformity to them. The scope of training manuals includes company policies concerning the organization of work, internal communication, and the scope of responsibilities assigned to each position within the organization.
Operations guides (manuals)
As already mentioned, these documents provide detailed instructions on how to use pieces of software or equipment to solve a problem. Depending on the product and the environment in which it is used, the style of guides may vary from extremely professional to oriented on being without any experience using the product.
Promotional brochures stay at the intersection of marketing and technical writing. On the one side, the writer informs the reader on how to use a product. On the other side, the brochure is designed to entice the audience to try using the product.