I know, I recognize. Times are difficult. You must make due with the stuff you have got. It’s a common and valid lament in the trendy administrative center. You’ve were given to do more with much less, so an apparent region to cut prices is to your documentation efforts. After all, writers and editors are a luxury in lean instances. You’re a small corporation and you may produce your documentation in-residence, proper? Think again. Hiring the proper freelancer to do the activity effectively the primary time around may want to prevent loads or thousands in help desk calls, carrier calls, record revision, and distribution. Here’s why.
1. You want a person together with your industry or product knowledge. Knowledge of your industry or product is helpful, but your writer’s capacity to speak properly each in writing and inside the spoken word is important on your documentation undertaking’s fulfillment. A right technical creator:
designs easy-to-use and smooth-to-discover documents.
Writes clean and easy-to-comply-with instructions.
Demonstrates a wide range of technical expertise which enables her or him to accumulate new technical knowledge quick. Most tech writers thrive on getting to know obscure technical statistics just as a great deal as they love discussing the deserves of the semicolon. The exceptional tech writers are amazingly quick studies.
Creates file templates with a clean, expert appearance that your enterprise can re-use.
Asks wise questions of your SMEs (difficult matter professionals) that you may not suppose to ask, making sure through insurance of the product’s features.
2. The programmers or engineers can write the documentation. Oh, certainly? Are they no longer busy sufficient already? Most programmers and engineers with whom I’ve worked detest writing. Let them do what they do satisfactory and allow a writer do what she does high-quality.
Good technical writers are electricity customers of most word processing applications, HATs (assist authoring gear), and are privy to the today’s documentation techniques so one can decorate your corporation’s professional recognition. A top technical author is savvy about layout developments and exceptional practices. Can you say this for your engineers and programmers?
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3. You want an author on the website online. Why? This is 2005. Most freelance tech writers have excessive-speed internet connections, fax machines, and cellular phones. I’ve labored with clients I’ve in no way even met or who I’ve met simply multiple times for documentation evaluation meetings. It’s excellent for the writer and it’s desirable for you while you do not have an extra frame taking on your treasured area. I have developed some of my nice professional relationships in cyberspace.
Four. Only you understand your users’ needs first-class. Yes, you do. You recognize what they need and what they need; it is why your enterprise is so successful. Consider the following questions:
Does your documentation need to be geared to the amateur person or the experienced techno-geek?
Do you know how to analyze your audience and write to that target audience?
Do you understand your target market’s basic studying fashion?
Will pics paintings higher than phrases to deliver your message?
Will a CD or HTML-primarily based online assist work better than print documentation?
How will you deliver and distribute the very last documentation product?
An accurate technical writer will perform a user need analysis and offer a documentation plan that drives your statistics structure layout. She will create a documentation plan in an effort to evolve over the course of the mission and will allow the documentation to develop as your product adjustments. With a super foundation, you might not have to reinvent the wheel with each new generation of your product.
5. You already recognize a way to use MS Word. That’s extremely good and it is crucial.
Are you thoroughly at ease with Word’s advanced capabilities?
Do you dream in macros?
Are you familiar with FrameMaker (a noticeably un-user-friendly however effective favorite tool of tech writers that handles big, complex files that make MS Word quiver and crash)?
Have you ever designed online assist using RoboHelp?
How are your Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint Shop Pro, Quark, Visio, InDesign, and primary HTML coding talents?
Are you aware of the brand new traits in writing and grammar fashion so your organization’s message will be constant and grammatically correct?
Good tech writers deliver an intensive operating understanding of a plethora of phrase processing and graphics applications as well as standard business writing practices.
6. You can preserve up with document updates.
What is your plan for documentation model manage?
Who will write the updates?
How will you ensure your customers have the trendy and best model?
If you don’t have a model and source manage the device in the region, multiple variations of your report in numerous folders create an organizational nightmare while it’s time to revise or update.
There’s a fashion closer to unmarried sourcing technical documentation nowadays. Simply positioned, this indicates one source for all of your documentation wishes. This unmarried source may additionally incorporate fabric in your print manuals, online help, and schooling materials multi-function vicinity. In single sourcing, a creator tags specific material for a specific use. When you supply documentation, you sincerely designate the sort of documentation you want (e.G., print, online assist, consumer manual, education fabric, technical reference statistics) to create and the software does the rest. The factor is, the whole thing is in a single location, making version and source control easy. Setting up a single sourcing gadget now will save you time and destiny headaches later. A proper technical writer is acquainted with enterprise traits for unmarried sourcing and may be capable of helping you set up an unmarried sourced gadget inside your organization.
If you’re skeptical approximately hiring a technical writer, consider this. Well written conversation abilities will always be in the call for within the enterprise international. However, in the cutting-edge complex business world, just being an awesome creator isn’t always enough. A precise technical creator desires technical savvy, a sound information of dozens of software packages, and impeccable studies and writing capabilities.
Would you lease an accountant to broaden software? Would you want an engineer to reply telephones? Would you assume a copywriter to do your taxes? Probably not. So, deliver your commercial enterprise and your incredible merchandise the expert attention they deserve and recollect a technical creator for your subsequent documentation task.