I spend most of my time on this blog trying to give tips and tricks on how to improve as a technical writer. But at times, we simply need examples of what not to do. Today, we continue the story of the worst technical writing coworker I’ve ever dealt with. Out of respect for those involved, names have been changed. Out of respect for you, everything else is told exactly as it occurred. The six-part series continues here.
Plain and simple: offices should have a standard look and feel for their documents. This gives documentation a recognizable identity and communicates to the audience that what they’re reading is updated and relevant. Ideally, this is achieved by developing and maintaining templates for office use. These templates could be for memos, procedures, meeting minutes, or any other documentation. So if you’re starting from scratch, how do you put together templates that are useful?
In order to create documents with a consistent look and feel, offices should have a style guide in place. So what is a technical writer to do when there is no official style guide? Write your own of course. This article will take you through the research and creation of an office-specific style guide.
When entering a new position, there you have a limited amount of time to get a lot of information. The knowledge base you form within the first week will determine the first months on the job. It will also affect how well you perform your job and function in the office as a whole. So which documents should technical writers ask for when they walk in the door?