There is no doubt that technical writing field is constantly expanding. Indeed, every time some new trends and tendencies appear to change, refresh and even modify the already existing concepts. In fact, it is no longer about creating technical content only. Recently technical writers have focused (their attention) upon such aspect of a technical writing process as information design.
To be precise, by the term Information design within the framework of technical communication one should understand a process of structuring information in a document in the way that it would have a notable impact on a reader and promote better understanding and perception of info. The characteristic feature of the good information design is when words and pictures are in a state of a natural interaction and readers can easily make use of a document.
The importance of Information Design:
It is worth emphasizing, the information you present in your user documentation has to be not only relevant and useful, but also effective and impactful. Otherwise, creating such a document is literally a waste of time. So make sure your audience perceives it in a right way.
In turn, every audience has different tendency to perceive the info, so determine your aims beforehand; take into consideration your audiences’ peculiarities and needs; decide whether you want to make it simple or complex, businesslike or friendly, and then provide the appropriate design for a document.
Lists, right usage of bullets, grids and visuals, including screenshots and contrasts – these are the most important and indispensable elements of the profound document. For instance, it was proved that the document sounds more clear and the users are more attracted to it if it’s not crammed with the text. Thus, you should carefully watch a clean layout of the document, so that users perceive information easier.
The fundamental point – the elements of the document design should be consistent. It’s a key to success for any piece of documentation.
Realizing the importance of this aspect of a technical document, technical content creators are trying hard to enhance the information design of every document. Technical writers spend hours doing some magic to the docs. But the problem is – they have to worry about both – content itself and the way it is presented, which is sometimes too much to do.
An advisable solution in this case is to refer to templates. Let me explain why. Due to the fact that they make a document:
- Consistent: creating documents in the same format will help to provide the same impression and general view of the user documentation. The same points are included each time. So the readers will get used to the structure and it will be easier for them to find what they are looking for.
- Professional: well structured documentation enhances your image and makes your organization more trustworthy. Usually people form their opinion on the basis of such things as the quality of the user documentation.
- Time-saving: you don’t have to waste time on adding the same information and structure words and visuals according to your needs every time you create a technical document.
- Clear: all info is displayed in a clear, precise way so readers don’t have to guess and may have the better understanding of a document.
It is even more productive to use programs which allow both automotive content creation and information structuring (organizing it into templates). Using such a software you just have to capture the procedure you are to document, and it automatically produces a document structured in a way best perceived by your target audience.
Try StepShot – just do the procedure and it will create a step-by-step guide for you!
To sum up, information design is crucial for every user document and helps to make it truly valuable. Moreover, using custom templates for every piece of technical documentation is a win-win situation as everyone quickly gets used to the things which are qualitative and easy to comprehend.