Technical writing/Document Design

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What is design? edit

The design stage is when decisions of how a project will look are taken.

In documentation, the design phase is about deciding the following:

  • What will the document cover look like?
  • What format will the document take?
  • How will the document look?
  • In what order will information be presented?

The design stage must take into account the needs of the audience in order to create something appropriate to their task.

Design Goals edit

When designing documentation, technical writers have five aims to keep constantly in mind. These goals are best defined in Mike Markel's Practical Strategies for Technical Communication:

  • Make a good impression

Documentation must look professional and create a positive image of the product and the company.

  • Clearly define information structure

The documents must be easily navigable and follow a logical and reasonable order.

  • Give the readers the information they need

Documentation is sharing knowledge, not hiding it. Documents must be designed to make finding information easy.

  • Help readers understand

Documents must communicate clearly and accurately.

  • Help readers remember

Well designed documents make the information easy to remember by using visual prompts and elements.

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