As developers, we have either had to write or read a technical article or documentation. What do you look for when you write/read an article? Is it the length of the article? Is the balance between theory and examples? In this blog, we will find out what makes a good article and how to write an effective one.
What is Technical Writing?
Before we dive right into tips and tricks for writing an influential article, let us understand what technical writing means and why we need it. To go by definition, technical writing is the practice of conveying complex technical information in a clear, precise, and understandable manner, often to inform, instruct, or guide an audience. Whether you are an individual developer or a professional technical writer, the goal is the same – Education.
Technical Writing Must-Haves
Now that the goal is defined, the next step is to work on actionable points to develop the concept for the article.
Here are some points that we should consider while writing the outline:
- Clarity: Avoid jargon and overly complex language.
- Conciseness: Avoid unnecessary filler content and get the information your readers need. Use bullet points, headings, and other formatting techniques to make content scannable.
- Visual aids: Visuals, such as diagrams, charts, and screenshots, can help clarify complex concepts and make your documentation more engaging.
- Accuracy: Ensure all technical information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Consistency: Maintain terminology, formatting, and style consistency throughout your documentation.
- Organization: Add a logical flow. Organize information in a way that guides the reader through the document effortlessly.
Tips to Write Better
Using the above must-haves, you should write an outline. Once that task is completed, writing the content is next.
Here’s some tips to make your content better:
- Purposeful writing: Define a specific goal in mind while you start writing
- Use of simple language: The purpose of a technical article is to explain a concept to the readers; using complex language will only push developers away.
Things to have in your article:
-Using simple sentence structure
-Breaking paragraph after every thought
- Defining your target audience: Defining your target audience helps you decide the level of content. For example, if your target audience is beginners, it is better to write an introductory article with a simple example to follow.
- Adding frequent checkpoints: To ensure you have your reader’s attention till the end, add checkpoints. For tutorials, you can use screenshots in between, and for leadership blogs, you can use questions/ discussions in between
- Avoiding too many links: Adding links can help readers with more context, but you should avoid using too many. Instead, have a resources section with all the necessary links.
Using simple examples: Examples that do not require complex setups and are easy to follow
To perfect the article, we should always look up articles or docs that work well and are liked by the developer community.
Here’s a list of my favorite documentation: