Which Technical Writing Principles Are Most Important?
Technical Writer Tom Johnson over on I’d Rather Be Writing provides a nice, 10-item list of technical writing principles he considers most important to him in his day-to-day work. Probably most of us have never really taken the time to think much about what guides us, let alone put it in writing. But having an orderly process that’s proven to work for you is always a good thing, especially helpful in preventing getting side tracked and for maintaining a consistently high-quality level of deliverables.
Johnson’s list includes what seem to be some fairly common observations, like “Developers almost always overestimate the technical abilities of their audience” to common sense, “Balance text with visuals,” to things we might know, but often forget, like “Examples clarify complicated concepts more than almost anything else.”
In any event, 10 technical writing principles to live by is a pretty good read, in our opinion, and a good starting point for any technical writer wanting to give some serious thought to developing his or her own personal list of guiding principles. Some great comments have been added to the piece, too.
What are your thoughts on the principles Johnson identifies as most important? What would you add or remove from his list, and why? We’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment.