Don’t Get Technical With Me: Making Technical Content Accessible

Posted on June 23, 2013 by John C

How to Write About TechnologyTechnical writing is all about building a bridge. A technical writer takes complex information and explains it in simple language so that a wider audience can grasp that information. Making technical programs and terminology accessible to wider audiences is an ongoing need in industries such as medicine, engineering and computer science. Technical writers fill the role of translating that technical language and crafting understandable content.

Every technical writer who provides a ghostwriter service should make it a goal to create content that is designed for people who are not industry insiders. Unlocking the door to highly technical worlds becomes possible when you give your audience the right keys.

Creating technical content in plain language requires following a few common sense guidelines.

Be a Tour Guide

Define your goal before you start writing. What do you want your audience to learn? What purpose will your content serve? Once you have answered these questions, approach the content with a tour guide mentality. Offer every detail that will be relevant to your audience. That means if you are writing about repairing a lawnmower engine, you need to explain each step to take the engine apart and put it together again. Anticipate questions and present answers to those questions throughout your content.

Make a Plan

Plan out what you are going to write before you actually start writing. It can be tempting to sit down and just spill whatever is in your head onto a piece of paper or your computer screen. Taking that route creates a ton of unnecessary work and can cause you to neglect important details or leave other details unclear. Create an outline before starting an article. This can help you organize key information and decide where it fits naturally into the content. Present one idea at a time instead of trying to do everything all at once. Fully explain crucial points associated with one idea before moving on to the next one.

Define Industry Jargon

Terminology in some industries can read like a foreign language to the average person. It is a job of the technical writer to shed light on what those terms mean. Never use industry jargon without defining what it means. Unfamiliar terms can breed unfamiliar concepts and leave your audience in the dark when it comes to understanding your content. Create a glossary that includes all terms, acronyms and abbreviations used in your content and offer quick definitions for each of these items.

Integrate Visual Media

Words alone are not sufficient to explain some concepts. Graphics, illustrations, video and other visual media can help flesh out some ideas and make it easier to grasp important information. Visual aids help make technical content more engaging. If you are writing an instruction manual, for example, a reader can see how things are done instead of just reading about how they are done. This can make content feel inclusive to readers who internalize concepts better on a visual level.

John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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