Posts Tagged ‘ www.bwtechwriting.com.au ’

Tools used in Tech Writing

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Writing, editing, designing, and publishing skills form the foundation of technical writing, but these skills are just get you started. You need to know how to use help authoring tool, graphic package, publishing tools and web designing packages. Recently WritersUA conducted a survey on tools used in technical writing. The survey concluded that some of the most popular tech-writing tools are Adobe Acrobat, Madcap Flare, Adobe Framemaker, Adobe Captivate, Dreamweaver, Snag IT, Microsoft Visio, and Camtasia Studio.

Though tech writers write various kind of documents, design website and deliver various multimedia training tutorials – publishing program are the basic tool of tech writing industry. Some of the most popular publishing tools are Adobe FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, InterLeaf, and Adobe PageMaker.

Tech Writers are not expected to be experts in graphic artists, but they are expected to have basic graphics knowledge. If you plan to do any kind of documentation, you need to know how to capture screen and edit them manually with the help of tools. Some of the best screen capturing and editing tools are Adobe Illustrator, PhotoShop, Microsoft Paint, Snag IT, and Corel Draw.

Tech writers need to learn at least one Help authoring tool. To create one self-contained Help doc, you need to know how to compile complex document into a usable format. Just ensure that document is completely functional within the limited scope of your project. There are many Help packages available, you can download any help authoring tool and get started. Some of the  most used help tools are Adobe RoboHelp, ForeHelp, HelpnDoc, and DocToHelp.

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Document Development Life Cycle (DDLC)

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DDLC is a complete cycle of documentation. It is a structured set of various steps involved in creating any kind of document. To achieve success in the field of documentation, a technical writer should at-least have a conceptual knowledge of DDLC.

Following are the various phases of DDLC:

Requirement Analysis:

Requirement analysis is the first and one of the most important phases of DDLC. In this phase, technical writers analyze the project requirement, tools that will be used in this project, and audience knowledge level. Analysis of project enables technical writers to know about the type and need of the technical document.

Project Designing:

This phase includes the content representation and content collection i.e. how the content should be presented, in which format the document should be presented, how much page should be covered to script the requirements, and so on. Technical writers should make an effort to gain as much as knowledge about the technology and audiences from SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and Internet. A good bunch of information helps a technical writer to prepare an information rich document.

Developing the content:

In this DDLC phase, the actual content is scripted on the basis of project designing and planning. Graphics and illustration are prepared in this phase.

Editing or Proof Reading:

In this phase, the document is thoroughly checked for consistency and errors such as spelling and grammatical errors.

Publishing:

Parent authority publishes documents created by tech writers. Generally, tech documents are published either in hard copies or in digital formats. Several publications options can be used based on the client’s requirement.

Maintenance:

In this phase, a backup of the document is taken for the future use. It also includes collection of further updates and modification of the document.

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