Technical writing involves the entire process of information gathering to publishing and maintenance of documents. Therefore, it can be rightly said that the journey of technical documents begins way before it is documented.
Technical writers thoroughly follow the document development lifecycle (DDLC) to ensure an effective documentation process. We will look into DDLC to understand the journey of technical documents. The phases of DDLC are:
- Requirement Analysis
The right approach to complete each of these phases is essential for maintaining the quality of technical documents. For this purpose, technical and structured documentation service providers, such as Metapercept, leverage years of experience for adhering to premium quality standards. An expert team of technical writers can assure that consistency in quality is maintained throughout the journey.
Phases of technical documentation
As mentioned above, the phases of DDLC will help in understanding the journey of technical documents.
In the first phase of the journey, information is gathered that will be added to the document. In this phase, you need to understand the requirements and the product. You can list down all the information under MUST, SHOULD, and COULD.
Mutual will have the information which is inevitable for the document.
Should include information that helps the user to understand and use the product more effectively.
Could section is for all the extra information that can be added to the document if other factors, such as space, permit.
The structure and template of the document play a key role in building understanding among the users. Therefore, in the second stage, you are required to focus on outlining the structure of the content based on heading levels, tables, etc. You can also work on the type of infographics to be used. Ensure that the content is structured according to the template, maintaining brand consistency.
In the development phase, technical writing begins in a real sense. Here, the content is finally added for documentation purposes.
Editing and proofreading are imperative to maintain the quality of the document. For this purpose, both technical and language review is to be done. You should move to the publishing phase only after making changes suggested in this phase and getting it approved by seniors, peers, and/or SMEs.
By now, the technical document is ready to be published. In this phase, the necessary steps are to be taken based on publishing requirements. Owing to the inclination towards multi-channel publishing, technical writers might need to publish the same documents across multiple channels or for different target audiences with minute differences.
Documentation maintenance ensures that the updates are added when a new version of the products is released. In most cases, version control systems are implemented for maintaining documentation for different versions of the product. This, in turn, mitigates the burden on the support team and increases the user experience of products.
Technical writing might need you to add or alter a few steps based on the project demands and your expertise. However, the overall journey of technical documents remains the same.
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