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August 17, 2010

The mission of technical communication

The mission of technical communication is light.

The developers build the cathedral. The technical communicators bring light into the building so that it can be used.

20070513 Toledo: cathedral, int, rose window

Rose window in Toledo // flickr: wentzelepsy

What type of light sources should be used? Halogen? Sunlight? LEDs?

How should the light source  be handled? Chandeliers? Stained glass? Floodlights?

In technical communication, external constraints help to determine how information is delivered. Here are a few typical ones:

  • Medical device documentation is regulated, so the documentation must meet the requirements of the regulatory body.
  • The form factor of the product can drive documentation decisions. (A printer with a tiny, one-line screen versus a printer with a large, color touchscreen.)
  • A product that is downloaded (as opposed to purchased in a box) will require documentation that accompanies the download or is available online.