Get Started with Technical Writing: Learn to Write Software Documentation | JPDocu Services | Skillshare

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Get Started with Technical Writing: Learn to Write Software Documentation

teacher avatar JPDocu Services, School of Technical Writing

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. 01 What Will You Learn?

    • 2. 02 What is Technical Writing?

    • 3. 03 Who is Doing Technical Writing?

    • 4. 04 What is the Result from Technical Writing

    • 5. 05 The Job of the Technical Writer

    • 6. 06 What is Software Documentation

    • 7. 07 Technical Writers in the Software Development World

    • 8. 08 Technical Writing Deliverables for Software

    • 9. 09 Documentation in the Software Development World

    • 10. 10 Technical Writers in Development Team Setup

    • 11. 11 The Technical Writing Process

    • 12. 12 Exercise

    • 13. 13 The Ultimate Purpose of the Technical Writer

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About This Class

Is the ability to provide relevant information about using your software essential for your customers? Do you find yourself spending hours and hours trying to explain how to use the software? Or are you getting feedback from your clients that your documentation is hard to be followed, inconsistent or may be even.... confusing? 

If you answered with "Yes!" to any of these questions, then this course is for you! 

You will learn how to quickly prepare and deliver guidance for your users in the form of software documentation. Learn what it takes to become a technical writer today! 

In the course of the years, the core activities of the technical writing professionals have been constantly evolving. We've started off as technical writers, focused solely on technical writing. We transformed into information developers, that also take into account the graphical aspects and design of the content. 

Today, we need to bundle together the writing skills, design and graphics, video creation, multimedia, metadata and software development to meet the expectations of our users. All these assets, put together can be described together as user assistance.

For several years now, I have been delivering training on user assistance for:

- technical writers (information developers)

- information architects

- software developers 

I have personally trained hundreds of people in the classroom, online courses, several universities, and internally at a Fortune 500 company! The goal for me has always been to deliver practical information, make sure my trainees get ready for delivering real content, right after the course is over. 

What will you learn?

As this course is designed for beginner technical writers, usually students in IT,  I cover the following subjects:

- What is technical writing all about?

- What are the basics of technical writing?

By the end of this course you will be able to:

- explain what is technical writing,

- name the specific deliverables from the work of the technical writer in the software development industry,

- describe the process a technical writers follow to create software documentation for the user.

Meet Your Teacher

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JPDocu Services

School of Technical Writing


Learning technical writing is easy - after all, it's just plain docu!


JPDocu School of Technical Writing is a training company that is passionate for user assistance, technical communications and making it a positive user experience. Our e-learning courses help us shape the next generation of technical writers and information developers, by providing them with simple to follow and practical, hands-on experiences with technical writing.


Our mission


Nowadays everyone talks about the professions of the future. People are scared that are not prepared for the needs of the future of work. We believe that change is not to be feared. We believe that with the proper training, education, and practical experience, our customers will be... See full profile

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1. 01 What Will You Learn?: in this section, you will learn what is technical writing and why you need you sticking co writing to create software documentation. We will start by explaining what is technical writing and those who what is softer documentation. 2. 02 What is Technical Writing?: By definition, technical writing is simply special discipline of writing text. It is a special type of writing and you use it when you need to explain to another person things related to what your product or service is all about. In addition, you benefit from technical writing when you want to explain to this person how to do something, for example, how to stole your product, how to set it out, how to use this product, how to maintain it or dispose of your product or service. 3. 03 Who is Doing Technical Writing?: technical writing is usually performed by professionals. Most often, those professionals are called technical writers or simply orders note that taken go riding is a discipline, and what this means is that actually, the person doing this job may or may not have this job. Title Technical writer actually taken co writing is performed. Also buying maybe other types of professionals, such as technical communicators, information developers, user assistance developers, information architect, publishers, business analyst or support specialists. All of them used the techniques on Have excuse of the technical writer. But do you also other things or have other focus on top of technical writing into their job ? If you're looking to develop yourself into any of those jobs, Rose taken co writing skews and being a technical writer well out to your skill set. 4. 04 What is the Result from Technical Writing: one of the most commonly recognised result from the work of the technical writer, he's the user guide or some sort of menu instructions which help the user to achieve their goals. 5. 05 The Job of the Technical Writer: what is actually the job of the taking co writer. The technical writer needs to focus on the entire process of planning for preparing, creating, structuring, can't organizing, classifying, delivering and maintaining the information that is needed by the user to use efficiently your product or service, which means that as a technical writer, you will be involved into one. Or why not all of those processes at the same time. This will allow you to prepare those deliverables that then help the user achieve his or her goals, which is what to use your product or service. 6. 06 What is Software Documentation: Let's take a look at the software documentation. What is actually softer documentation, and why do we need softer documentation? I tried to explain it like this. Usually we give to our users some softer that they are supposed to use and work with. And they think this is a great to. I've just downloaded it or just purchased is true. I just want to use it. Yes, and now I'm going to use this great too active here. And what happens? Something goes wrong. The customer freaks out. Everybody tries to figure out what is happening here. How do I use thes? Softer the first place. The first thing that customer searching for usually is what software documentation, the set of instructions which help the user solved the particular problem that here she is facing with your software. And this is what software documentation is all about. It is one of those bundles that come together with your software software. Documentation. Is this return text that companies your software? You bring it together with the software, and thus very often, software documentation is perceived as a mandatory necessary part off your softer. Of course, it's taking co writing professionals you know, we'll be able to say that actually, software documentation is a separate deliver ago that comes together with the software, but usually for your customers. For your users, they perceived the softer documentation is integral part of the software. 7. 07 Technical Writers in the Software Development World: called the technical writers fit into the software development world. What is the actual value that the technical writers bring to this software developed? 19. They're two primary aspect in which the technical writers focus and this way deliver value to the to the world of software. First of all, developed it to technical writer brings to the customers the work of the technical writers help the user to efficiently and effectively use the software. They also assisted the users without having to be physically present there. The work of the technical writer allows the customer to feel confident and solve the problems by themselves. And, of course, this leads to a much heavier customer. Customers who have good experience with the softer again. Why is that? Because software documentation is perceived as an integral part of the software itself. So if your customers happy with the software documentation, they will also be happy with your software. This is how we contribute value to the customers. How about the software development team itself? Imagine if you have a team of 10 developers, each of them we have to invest time and energy into writing down the documentation for the software that they have developed, introduced We're off then we good at that. We're all of them. We happened into writing. Most probably not. The technical writer is the person who has excuse and the ability to collect and prepare old information needed to write down the softer documentation. And this way, this person taken co writer saves the time and the energy of the development team by taking away this heavy task of preparing the software documentation that that makes the customers happy. This way, technical writer saves the time off the developers so that they can focus on other tasks which are relevant for their jump from fire. 8. 08 Technical Writing Deliverables for Software: are there some specifics into what we deliver as technical writers in the software development world? Well, actually, I already mentioned the user guidance, the famous and most commonly perceived. It's deliverable output from the work of the technical writers in the software development world. However, we're delivering more than that. Of course, we begin with the end user guide and the menu that you can produce and deliver for the user . But in addition to that in the software development world, their situations in which you write documentation from a developer to another developer, such as the A P I documentation or you have user interfaces and writing the text on screen , he's also perceived this part of the work of the technical right. You provide some helpful instruction, and then it's displayed directly in front of the eyes of the user on the screen of the software. In addition to that, we know that already people do not want and do not like reading documentation for no good reason. Sometimes the best media to provide information to the user may be an instructional video on image on infographic, or imagine your text to be consumed by a voice instruction and relate its information to the user. Let's say by a machine like Siri, you can find any way to provide the information so that the user can find his or her way through your software. This can be the job of the technical writer in the software development world, too. And what's but definitely not least, technical writers may be involved into the creation and the consumption of meta data. This meta data then can be served to machines and enable the the search and retrieval of the classified information with this meta data. 9. 09 Documentation in the Software Development World: Where does the software documentation development fit into the overall software development process? Let's take a look at these two aspect. First of all, what is the place of this technical writer person? Indeed, Iraq Monte and also what is the process for writing software documentation? 10. 10 Technical Writers in Development Team Setup: Let's take a look at how the taking writer fits the software development. I will start first with the most important person in the world, which is our king, the customer, the person who wants to use our softer the person who purchases our software. Usually in the development world, there is a team manager. It's a team lead, a business analyst, some other persona which interacts with the customer. This person is in charge of collecting and organized and organizing older needs Older requirements for development which are raised by this person that the customer who is actually paying for off our work to happen once those requirements are relate back to the development team. We need the next part of the development, which is actually the developers themselves. They are involved into the development of the software functionality and the testing of the implementation that they have prepared. Another important person on the team can be the user experience expert. The person could takes care, for example, to design the user interfaces or the overall customer interaction with the software. And here is our taking co writer. The technical writer takes care to write and prepare the stock imitation deliverables we talked about so far. The taken co writer takes care to review the string state appear on the screen or to create proposals for such forms of embedded information directed in the software. The Deccan co writer also takes care to prepare the instructional videos or some form of help graphics images infographics, which help this customer the user to find his or her way through the content of software. 11. 11 The Technical Writing Process: Now that you know where you are inside the development team, let's take a look at what you actually are supposed to do. It's technical writer. Where do you start and where do you finish? I tried here to sketch the overall technical writing process of how it actually happens. As a technical writer, you first start with researching and collecting information. What are the needs of the customer? Who are the customers? What is the software that we're going to provide? What will be the functionality that we will be providing with the software to the user? In this face, you do a research and you collect older, necessary information. Once you feel ready, forward up. You begin by just writing all these information down. You still have no clear picture in your mind what it is that is going to come out in yet. You're literally just dumping all the information that you have researched and collected so far, and then you just ride it. Once you have some information written down, you have something to begin to work with. And in this face, you begin to structure and organize your information into what will become your draft contact your draft deliverable. At this point in time, you realize who I need the user guide or I need to different user guides for these two different target audiences. You are beginning to shape the deliverables that you're going to them right and deliver in the end. What's your fruit? With this draft off your information, you usually go back and presented to different stakeholders to collect their feedback. Do they find this information meaningful? Is it organized in a way that makes sense Call. So for them. And once they come back with this feedback which may be like, yes, this makes sense or no, it should be shaped in a different way or they will identify missing parts off. The information that you're presenting just will tell you you need to adhere and their additional information. You collect all this input as feedback to your draft content and you worked on this draft again. You reflect the feedback in this documentation and it will begin to take shape and to form into a specific deliverable that you work on and you eat a rate this feedback collection process until you feel ready with your final delivery, are you done? Not really. Once you already with the final delivery bow, you still need to publish it, which means to bring it to your aunt user. Once you deliver it to customer, you do the same interviewing cycle again. You collect customer straight back this time and you reflected back into this documentation . And you may need to do this process over and over again. This is what we call maintenance off the documentation. So this is the overall technical writing writing process put together into one single slide . I hope you will feel it better when you do a smoke exercise into writing the documentation . 12. 12 Exercise: Now let's try a smoke exercise. Take a note part or any other to you like to use for writing and write small in structure. For the beginning. User explained to him or her how to start the calculator application on your mobile phone. Try to use these process steps that I've spoken about a couple off lectures ago and try to follow the steps. They could look at your calculator application. How it works. What are the functionalities you have and see how a customer can begin using that. Explain to this user. Imagine this customer who tries to use the calculator application for the first time. Okay, now go give it a try and write your first software documentation. 13. 13 The Ultimate Purpose of the Technical Writer: Why do we do? Oh, that? Why do we invest so much energy to collecting information, writing drafts, then rewriting the content? It's all about the user experience. It's what we aim to. We want to take our users from this situation in which there, What the heck is going on here? And how do I deal with the software and you? You bring the user to this feeling of great to great software. I know how to use it. I know when to use it, and it brings great value for me as the customer. This is what we aim to achieve with the software documentation they result from. Our work pays off when customers, if you happy with the software.