• Have Wright posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Take some tips from technical writing that will make your ideas clear and persuasive in the new reading environment of the net.

    Print media puts the reader in the passenger’s seat. Imagine if you don’t want a character to die? Imagine if you don’t like the direction the story has had? Traditional reading is linear–you start at chapter one and you go to the end, with no detours in between.

    Instruction manuals have always been different. Who reads instruction manuals from starting to end? Instead you dip into it, try something, and if that doesn’t seem to work, flip several pages backward or forward and try again.

    Now the internet has become a huge manual where the reader can move around at will–technology has stolen authorial control. You must expect your readers to jump around. To be successful, anything you write for the net has to follow exactly the same three rules that technical writers use:

    Write in Chunks

    Readers pick and choose. Understand that your audience is not expecting a story–they have specific goals. write for us technology have to be self-contained and clearly marked to help them find what they’re looking for and move on. Respect your reader’s time–don’t make sure they are eat the sundae when all they need is the cherry.

    Follow a Structure

    You can structure your content by category, rank, location–but there must be a structure. By organizing your details you are giving your reader a tool that lets them find what they’re searching for and skip what they don’t need. If you cannot find a structure that works, it is advisable to define your points more clearly.

    Connect it Together

    You can’t force your reader to follow the road you’ve set for them, but you can give them access to information that supports your message. Don’t be afraid to link, both to resources outside your document and to pages inside it. Your role is to help them achieve their goals; point them towards resources that help them do this.

    Like technical writing, the internet is approximately helping people find information. Adopt a few of the principals of technical writing is likely to work to make it get results.