ITEC 3290: WEEK 1:
Defining Technical Communication
In this class, Technical Communication is another term for business communication – it
is the way we communicate at work. Many people, when they hear the term “Technical
Communication”, think of that horrid manual that came with the lawnmower. And yes, that is a
form of Technical Communication – but it is by far not the only kind. Technical Communication
can be written or spoken. It can consist of sentences or graphics or a combination of both.
can be static – a book – or it can be interactive – a website with animation and sound.
Technical Communication is different than other types of communication in terms of
it is produced,
it is produced and
it is produced. The goal of Technical
Communication is to present information in a way so that people can:
Understand it easily
Use it safely
Use it effectively
Use it efficiently
Normally, there are two different types of professionals that are responsible for producing
Technical Communication. There are
. These are people who work
for a company or are contracted by a company to produce a variety of written material. They
may be editors, writers, graphic artists, designers, webmasters or production specialists.
Regardless of their title, they are hired to create documentation.
the other hand, are technically trained people working as professionals – and they write as part
of the normal business day. So if you are an engineer, for instance, who finds yourself writing
memos or reports as part of your normal job description, you are a Technical Professional. Most
of us fall into this category. Many of us, regardless of how technical our training, rely on
technical communication at work. Think about the number of e-mails, memos, proposals,
reports, contracts, work orders and requisitions you handle throughout the day – those are all
examples of technical communication.
Technical Communication is different from the magazines or books that we read for
enjoyment. It’s written for a particular audience for a specific purpose.
Usually, the purpose is to
help readers learn something or do something. The content is technical in nature and it’s usually
laid out in a specific format. There are essentially six major characteristics of Technical
Communication. They are:
It addresses a specific audience
It helps readers solve problems
It reflects an organization’s goals and culture
It is often produced collaboratively
It uses design to increase readability
It consists of words or graphics or both