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Technical Writers Bridge the Gap Between Technology and Everyday People

2nd December 2011 Posted in Blog, Documentation, Technical Writers 0 Comments

When it comes to technical documentation, most people would rather ignore the fine print and hope for the best. But when residents are faced with new regulations in their town, it seems that a different approach is needed. The students at Texas Tech in Texas decided to take their technical writing skills and create a user-friendly document for local residents. And isn’t that what technical writing is all about?

Helping Residents Understand

According to locals, the Lubbock Water Report has been a difficult subject with residents for years. While citizens want to learn more about their water supply and how it’s being handled, the dense materials in the report made that nearly impossible for anyone not already involved with creating this report. Students at Texas Tech’s 2011 Document Design course took the 2011 report and made it more readable. As a result, 70,000 residents were able to receive a new water report that was simple to read and easy to understand.

The Challenges of User-Friendly Documentation

While it makes sense to create a document that’s easier to read, when you’re handling a document from a government agency, there are more rules to follow. Students at Texas Tech had to make sure that the document also followed legal guidelines and regulations, allowing the document to be approved for residents to read. The main focus of the students was to answer the question – is my water safe to drink? And instead of hiding the answer in technical writing details, they created easy-to-skim headers that allowed readers to quickly find the answer: a resounding Yes!

Examples of technical documentation show up where you might least expect them? Can you offer additional examples? Please leave a comment.

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