Creating Technical Writing that Works

Duration: 3 Days

This course will teach you how to use the tools of clarity, concision, and consistency in a technical writing context. The course focus is on tools that you can apply to any type of technical writing, using examples from across the field. KPL can modify this course, at no extra cost, to include examples pertinent to your business or organisation.
On completion, you will be able to use a detailed end-to-end writing process to design, draft and improve your technical documentation. You will use tools and templates that you can take away for immediate use back at work.

How can I attend my course?

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Produce effective technical documents that are:
    • Easy to read
    • Easy to understand
    • Easy to act upon
  • Recognise the key international standards in technical writing
  • Identify the most commonly used applications in technical writing
  • Use fonts, graphics and page layouts to effectively convey information and enhance the look and feel of your documents
  • Explore writing content for multiple platforms
  • Give editorial feedback to help your team improve their performance
  • Identify current standards for technical writing (including DITA)


Course Outline

Defining Tecnical Writing

  • Activity: Using instructions

Why Readers Don't Use Technical Writing

  • Five Key Reader Problems
  • Clarity, Concision and Consistency
  • Why Consistency is So Important

Writers’ Problems with Technical Writing

  • The Main Cause of Ineffective Writing
  • Standards for Technical Writing
  • Tools for Technical Writers
  • Image Creation Tools for the Technical Writer

The Writing Process

The Technical Writing Process
  • A Process to Achieve Consistency
  • Planning your time
Project Managing Your Writing
  • Timing Your Writing Project
  • Planning, Drafting, and Rewriting
  • Activity: Your First Writing Assignment
  • Setting Document Objectives
Writers’ Problems with Technical Writing
  • The Main Cause of Ineffective Writing
  • Standards for Technical Writing
  • Tools for Technical Writers
  • Image Creation Tools for the Technical Writer

Analysing Your Readers

Performing Audience Analysis
  • Identifying your Scope
  • Scenario Analysis
  • Understanding Your Readers
  • Four Key Audiences
  • Activity: Audience Analysis
Using Personas
  • Writing for a Global Audience
  • Identifying the Audience You Don’t Support
  • Adding Audience Detail
  • Communication Style Issues
  • Activity: Communication Styles

Structuring Your Document

Defining Structure and Content
  • Creating a Body of Knowledge
  • Information Building
  • Structuring With Sections
  • Introductions and Conclusions
Topic Based Authoring & DITA
  • Topic Generation Techniques
  • Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)
  • Activity: Generating Topics for a Structure
The LATCH Principle
  • Activity: Structuring with LATCH
  • Outlining Tools
  • Activity: Creating an Outline
Creating Headings that Work
  • Six Golden Rules for Writing Headings
  • Creating Effective Headings:
  • A Three-Step Process
  • Strengthening your Headings
  • Applying the Noun and Verb Filters
  • Activity: Writing Better Headings
  • Testing your Structure
  • Signalling with Headings
  • Activity: Signalling with Headings
The Building Block of Content
  • Basic Sentence Structures
  • Topic Sentences and Controlling Ideas
  • Writing a Clear Topic Sentence
  • Establishing the Topic and Controlling Idea
  • Activity: Writing a Topic Sentence
Creating Effective Paragraphs
  • Structuring a Paragraph
  • Linking Paragraphs to Help Readers
  • Creating Effective Paragraphs
  • Activity: Creating an Effective Paragraph

Clarity in Technical Writing

The Trouble with English
  • Unlearning English
  • Language Customs
  • Common Writing Styles
  • Simplified Technical English
Grammar Issues Affecting Technical Writers
  • Four Key Grammar Problems
  • Pronouns, Modifiers, and Synonyms
  • Activity: Pronouns, Modifiers, and Synonyms
  • Do Now: Spot the Error
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Split Infinitives
  • Ending Sentences with a Preposition
  • Activity: Clarify This!
Making Your Writing More Concrete
  • Creating Cohesion
  • Parallel Construction
  • Transitions and Parallel Construction
  • Do Now: Parallel Construction
  • Top Tips For Tip Top Text

Consistency and Correctness

Standards for Technical Writing
  • Company Style Guides
  • What Is In the Style Guide?
  • Corporate Standards
  • External Standards
  • Useful Sources of Information
  • Types of Style Guides
  • Example Style Guide Content
  • Activity: Creating a Style Guide
The Importance of Consistency
  • Achieving Consistency
  • Typographical Errors
  • Spelling Forms
  • Numbering
  • Capitalisation
Punctuation Standards
  • Punctuation Basics - Commas
  • Punctuation Basics – Colons, Semi-colons, Ellipses
  • Punctuation Basics - Hyphens
  • A Guide to the Apostrophe
  • Apostrophes in Action
Document Integrity
  • Headings and the Table of Contents
  • Other Tables and Lists
  • Captions and Graphics
  • References and Notes
Copy Editing and Proofreading
  • Copy Editing vs Proofreading
  • Marking Up Proofs
  • Using Proof Correction Symbols
  • Activity: Checking your Text

Presenting Information with Graphics

Designing the Page
  • Processing the Page
  • Chunking the Page
  • Basic Rules of Graphics
  • Using Layout Grids
  • Controlling Layout with Tables
  • Using Tables to Control Layout
  • Typography: Using Fonts – Do and Not Do
  • Activity: Communicating with the Page
Expressing Information Graphically
  • Using Infographics
  • Visual Patterns and InfoGraphics
  • Pictograms: Images as Metaphors
  • Using Pictograms in Documents
  • Activity: Creating Pictograms
Graphical Devices
  • Photographs
  • Drawings
  • Screenshots
  • Tables and Lists
Using Charts and Graphs
  • Telling the “story” of Data with Charts and Graphs
  • Rules for Charts and Graphs
  • Activity: Presenting Data Visually
Tools of the Trade
  • Tools of the Trade: Online
  • Other Resources
  • Recommended Books

Crafting Readable Documents 

Defining Readability
  • Building Readability into your Structure
  • How People Take on Information
  • Working With How the Brain Works
  • Reducing Inferential Load
  • Checklist: Readability for Creating Effective Content
  • Activity: Putting It All Together
  • Activity: Capstone Exercise
Writing for Multiple Platforms
  • How Readers Scan a Page
  • Activity: Identifying What Must Be Written
  • Building The Inverted Pyramid
  • Headings, Menus, and Links
  • Writing Effective Menus

My Course Notes

You will receive a full set of course notes and all supporting materials for your course. Hard Copy Delivered to your premises or Downloaded to a chosen device.
 

     OR  

To book this course please call +44 (0) 1444 410296 or email at Info@kplknowledge.co.uk

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