Technical Writing Tools to Help You Create
Great
User Documents


 

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What You Will Get from the Course

You get complete guidance in structuring, writing and creating access to your Content.  All you need to do is use the Course tools with your word processing or Content Management System to create the User Documents that Your Product Needs and Your Users Deserve.

Click here to view the Course Main Page (Syllabus)

Here's What's in the Course:

Attitude Alignment

Everything is a matter of attitudes.  Our interests, the amount of work we will put into a project, our relations with our fellow humans and our environment are all based on our attitudes.  We start off the Course with a series of readings and audio lectures intended to get you thinking the right way about creating your great User Document.

We talk about Reality.  This is something that many companies and writers seem to ignore, at their peril. 

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.         Carl Sagan

Writing Tools

First Things to Do
What you should be doing as soon as you are assigned to the Writing Project.

Creating a Persona--an almost-real characterization of your User/Reader--based on your four dimensional analysis of your User.   You will USE this Persona to help you write each portion of the User Document.

Other tools that you will learn and use include:

Writing System

You will use a writing system based on the concepts of "Just in Time" production and agile programming.  This technique engages the entire production team, and results in a more accurate document, produced more quickly and with less stress than the classic "waterfall" writing method (create an outline, get it approved, go away and write the document, suffer all the surprises when the "completed" document gets reviewed).

Creating Great Content

We believe that the usability of any User Document is related to the Content in the Document, and the access to the Content .  For generating the Content we use these concepts:

Creating Great Access to Your Great Content

Great Content is ineffective if it is not accessible.  Once the Content is created, we enable your Readers to get access to what they need, and easily skip what is unimportant to them at the time. These are some of our access topics:

Testing Your Document

To eliminate end-of-project surprises, you will informally test each portion of the User Document as you produce it.  Once you assemble the portions to create the complete User Document, you test to ensure that the Document provides excellent access to the information in it. 

The Course describes formal document testing -- which you usually do not have time to do (Reality!).

More About the Course

The Course is insanely User-oriented.  We are concerned with how the User wants and needs to use your product.  We stress including all the information that your User might need.  Using our effective access techniques, we make it easy for the User to find the information he/she needs, and skip what is unimportant at the time.

The Course includes many real-life examples.  The names of the companies or products have been changed, but the examples are genuine.  You will learn from the mistakes that writers make (NONE of these are grammar examples).

Click here to download the Course.