Misconceptions are as annoying as hell. Especially when they are connected with something you love and do for a living. Let’s take a look at common misconceptions about techcomm and bust them!
Looks Don’t Matter
As much as we hope this to be true for human interaction, it is certainly not the case with user manuals. For most people (especially the non-tech types) even thinking about reading walls of technical text is stressful. But when external factors like bad design appear, be sure they will not put in the effort and rather demand a call with the support team. If making user manuals beautiful might not be the top priority for your team, making them readable should be!
Many companies fall into this English-only trap especially the ones the primary markets of which are English speaking. Software, for example, is a huge market with predominantly English speaking users. However, that to no extent means that all their clients know the language well enough to be able to go through complex technical documentation swiftly.
There’s a common belief that to be a tech writer one requires super deep knowledge of the subject they are describing. Getting into specific areas like space or medical techcomm is not always as easy without a degree, but honestly, you can start a great career based on good tech writing skills, general subject knowledge, and the will to grow.
Tech Writing is Boring
This might be true for some who hate creating content. But consider this: types of technical documentation are so varied and require different approaches — no time to be bored. Plus, not many realize the true scope of what tech writers can do. They can create learning materials, whitepapers, presentations, videos. That’s why we call it technical communication — often it is much more than just writing.
No Need of Help Authoring Tools
Help authoring tool is, in fact, what any tech writer needs. It doesn’t even matter how big the project is or whether teamwork is involved at all. Tools for technical writing make every stage of the process much easier.
Instead of spreading yourself thin between several tools in an attempt to somehow get a solid user manual out of this process, look at what is currently offered in the HAT market. Modern software for help authoring is so feature-rich and flexible that you won’t need to use additional services to produce high-quality user manuals.
Tech Writers are Introverts
Not necessarily. People are talking about this sometimes like about a prerequisite for getting into this profession. Actually, there’s a lot of communication inside the doc team and across different teams. Besides that, technical writers love good public events like conferences and meetups.
Technical Documentation Is Not Important
This misconception is especially striking when people are trying to compare tech writing against other stages of product development.
Actually, technical documents are holding both internal and external processes together. Teams would not be able to collaborate properly inside a company without the docs. And how would they explain stuff to users?
Still think technical documentation isn’t that important? Check out our post-apocalyptic article about how ‘joyous’ life would be without user manuals.
Creativity Is Banned
Believe me, those who crave creativity will bring it with them anywhere they go. Actually, there is a place for things like metaphors, similes, analogies, and other devices in user manuals.
The trend is clear — making technical texts sound more human-like. Those who want to go deeper with this whole idea of humanizing technical communication, check out this post on technical writing advocacy.
Do you have any other techcomm misconceptions that drive you insane? Share them in the comments below. Let’s get rid of them 🙂
Good luck with your technical writing!
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