The technical writers we provide have experience producing user guides for software, online Help, API guides for programmers, equipment-operating instructions, and other kinds of content we describe, below. The quality of the instructions technical writers deliver varies widely. In this article, we tell you what the deliverable from a good one looks like.
What Happens When a Programmer Writes the User Instructions
If your company makes software (for end users, network engineers, security personnel in data centers), you want a professional Technical Writer to explain how to use your product.
When companies let a software developer write the customer instructions, the Programmer explains how he or she built the software, its parts, sections, architecture, and underlying architecture. A user in a hurry with a job to accomplish could not care less how you built your system.
Your customers want to know how to DO various things using your software. A good Technical Writer, one of ours, produces a job aid with tasks customers want to do. We call these task topics. On the job, we first determine the important actions customers need to take using your application. We then write short, direct, numbered steps: 1., 2., 3., 4., 5. that they can follow to have success, painlessly.
What Our Technical Writers Do on the Job
We only give you writers who have written user instructions for high-tech products for 10 years or more. We think of technical writing as a craft, like glass blowing. It’s that specialized.
It takes that many years to master the craft of good technical writing: sharp, clear, to-the-point directions. Many years of experience as a Technical Writer, along with mentors, has taught them to find out why your customers bought your product, and what those customers want to do in it. We call this research `finding the task topics.`
Our writers only write about tasks your customers want to do. You will not see long paragraphs of text—only task topics followed by accurate, numbered steps. (Our tech writers also self-test the steps they write.)
Today`s Version of the User Guide
For many years now, tech writers no longer produce hard-copy manuals written in FrameMaker. They’re now experts at producing on-screen Help using Madcap Flare, RoboHelp, or raw HTML5. With these tools, customers can Google the directions they need and read the results on an iPad or smart phone. Our writers know the tools and techniques to use to bring this convenience to your customers.
A Technical Writer may also write internal, employee procedures, or job aids, for completing a process correctly. They know how to put instructions and directions on SharePoint or onto a Confluence wiki. No more looking for a manual to find out how to do something in the office!
Tech Writers Who Write to Developers
We have operated our staffing service for technical writers in Silicon Valley for many years. Our customers often sell APIs (application program interfaces)—code. They ask us for technical writers who understand Java, .Net, Python, or another programming language, and we have such writers. Over the years, we have built up a substantial database of technical writers who can read, interpret, and even write code. These specialized writers know what a developer wants to know about an API (classes, libraries, etc.). We have writers familiar with code in New York City, Boston, Austin, and may other cities.
Machines Big and Small
Often, a company needs a technical writer who has written directions for machine operation, such as pumps, robotics, wafer-processing tools, or a medical device. We have also found and placed hardware (machine) operation writers in most states. Similar to our software user-guide writers, these technical writers have learned to:
- Determine what tasks a user wants or needs to do with the equipment
- Write short, clear, numbered steps for successfully completing each task
We give you a Technical Writer who writes only A. and B., above, with no long paragraphs of text.