Achieving Technical Writing Excellence

March 23, 2010 Hardware, Meet iFixit, Site News — Miro

Taking apart a Mac Mini for a repair guide

We strive to provide iFixit users with the best technical documentation possible. Each guide we create is evaluated by a number of staff members. The final product is published on our site only after all i’s were dotted, t’s crossed, and spells checked.

I asked one of our technical writers, Walter Galan, to share some of his methods for creating awesome iFixit repair guides and teardowns.

-Miro

1. Writing is a working process with many steps in between. Your first draft is more likely to be just that — your first draft. Don’t expect to write words of wisdom on your first attempt.  Take the time to read what you’ve written; many times you will notice that your writing may not match your train of thought.

2. Make sure to edit your work multiple times. Editing your work is at least half of the equation, and proofreading is just as important as editing. Careless grammatical errors can easily ruin an excellent piece of writing. Always proofread what you write with the utmost care. Use a dictionary if you’re unsure of a word’s spelling, and use a thesaurus to avoid repetition of one word throughout the text.

3. When developing technical documentation, you must first and foremost consider your audience. Ask yourself, who will be reading this document? What level of technical understanding do they have? You always have to be conscious of your audience, for they are the ones who will be gaining the most from your words. Write for them — not yourself.

4. Appreciate criticism. Learn from criticism. People are naturally prone to despising others’ opinions, so this takes practice and a positive mental outlook. As a writer, learn to interpret the suggestions of others into your writing. Great technical documentation is a work of many thoughts and suggestions blended into an all-in-one product.

There is always something that can be improved upon. By taking the time to evaluate your work and not being afraid to enlist the help of others, you virtually guarantee that you will become a better writer.

Thanks a bunch Walter!

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