Technical Writing Aid

Common Terms Used By Technical Writers

Like all specialized industries, technical writing has a language specific to the craft. Technical writers use terms that might be unfamiliar to those not in the industry.

For example:

  • Content Management System (CMS) - This is a computer program that tracks and manages the content and workflow of a technical text. A CMS makes it possible for the project manager to track progress from the outset of the project. This is important because many different people work on a technical documentation project. Collaborators need a way to communicate and find other aspects of the project. A CMS can store word processing files, images, and Web content. It provides templates and automates the approval process from different collaborators (writers, engineers, computer programmers, etc.) on the project.
  • Information Design - This is how a technical writer conveys information to the audience. Information must be presented in a way that makes it possible for the audience to understand even complex concepts.
  • Usability - This refers to how easy something is to use. Technical writers strive for usability in their final products. To assess usability, creators look for the following:
    • Learnable - Can users learn the system?
    • Efficient - How long does it take a user to perform a function?
    • Memorable - Can the user remember how to perform a task?
    • Recovery - Does the system help the user recover from errors?
    • Satisfaction - Is the user satisfied with the system?

    Technical Writing - Main


    Last Updated: 07/29/2014

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