Baxter Teague posted an update 3 months, 1 week ago
Take write for us technology from technical writing which will make your ideas clear and persuasive in the new reading environment of the net.
Print media puts the reader in the passenger’s seat. Imagine if you don’t want a character to die? What if you don’t like the direction the story has had? Traditional reading is linear–you start at chapter one and you also visit the end, without detours in between.
Instruction manuals will always be different. Who reads instruction manuals from starting to end? Instead you dip involved with it, try something, and if that doesn’t seem to work, flip several pages backward or forward and try again.
Now the internet has turned into a huge manual where the reader can maneuver around at will–technology has stolen authorial control. You need to expect your readers to jump around. To reach your goals, anything you write for the web has to follow exactly the same three rules that technical writers use:
Write in Chunks
Readers pick and choose. Recognize that your audience isn’t expecting a story–they have specific goals. Points have to be self-contained and clearly marked to help them find what they’re looking for and move ahead. Respect your reader’s time–don’t make sure they are eat the sundae when all they want is the cherry.
Follow a Structure
You can structure your content by category, rank, location–but there must be a structure. By organizing your details you are giving your reader a tool that lets them find what they’re looking for and skip what they don’t really need. If you cannot find a structure that works, you should define your points more clearly.
Connect it Together
You can’t force your reader to follow the path you’ve set for them, nevertheless, you can give them access to information that supports your message. Don’t be afraid to link, both to resources outside your document also to pages inside it. Your role would be to help them achieve their goals; point them towards resources that help them do that.
Like technical writing, the internet is about helping people find information. Adopt some of the principals of technical writing is likely to work to make it get results.