Please can you help me? My company provides lots of user documentation, including user guides, manuals, training packs, and online help, but, well…it’s just not connecting with our customers. They are complaining about the information being unclear and saying that it needs better explanations, structure, and conceptual information. Is there anything you can do?
Yours Company Director
Of course I can. Finding out that your existing documentation is failing can come as an unpleasant surprise. But it is important that you listen to your customers and pay attention to the number of customer support calls coming in. This is not just a phase you are going through – there is a real problem that needs to be addressed.
As an independent technical author who has studied technical communication, I can look at your documentation from a completely new perspective. I know the best practices of technical communication and understand communication theory, so can quickly identify problem areas and recommend solutions. This may involve creating company guidelines that explain to writers exactly what terms they should avoid, what their content needs to cover, and how it should be presented. In my experience, the two most common problems are that the author is pitching the content at the wrong level for the target audience or is failing to provide the conceptual information that is required. Telling people how to do something isn’t very useful if they don’t know why and when they need to do it!
Technical Writing Consultancy
I’m not claiming to be the world’s expert on all things ‘Tech Comm’, but I have good experience and a sound understanding of how people use information. When you hire me as your consultant, I can put this expertise into practice and work with your team to develop a plan for improving your documentation.
But before you decide to hire me as a consultant, why don’t you check out my blog pages? I intend to create articles on technical writing issues, so you may find that by reading those, you can help yourself (and save a few quid in the process!).