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The ABC’s of technical writing, assignment 4: 5 types of writing techniques

Hi folks,
There is no assignment 3 as part of this course. There is an assignment 4, and then we go to 6. I did give the instructor something to read as something for 3, which they may read or not.

As part of the 4th assignment, it talked about different types of writing styles. The assignment asked to discuss 5 different types that were important to you and it was to be 3 paragraphs. I think i had some fun with this one, as I took a portion of a book I wrote a long time ago, and then talked later on on how I could improve on this work after taking this course. I only took from one section, but it took the assignment in to a third page. While the one blog post was over 600 words, word indicated this one was over 1000. I put my name, assignment number, and what it was as well as the date for my sake as I saw it done in another course and thought, why not. Its part of good organization, which a tech writer needs to have.

If you have any comments, please feel free to share. I’ll approve the likes, retweets, and so forth so that people can get credit for sharing. I don’t mind that, and I see we had that on the last assignment I submitted here.

I hope you all enjoy this one, I think I’ll do good on it. It was worth 40 points so I hope this will do. The assignment will be after the jump.

Jared Rimer
ABC’s of technical writing
Assignment 4: 5 writing techniques and why they should be used
July 20, 2016

I think the first writing technique that should be used is the writing like you talk. I’ve tended to write that way especially when explaining something, and I’ve never had any complaints. For example, here’s what I did when I wrote my book many years ago to explain how to save a document for the first time.

 Let's create a simple document in Microsoft Word.  To open Microsoft's Word do the following steps.  But first, before I give you the steps, let me tell you that most computers these days have a Windows logo key on the keyboard usually next to the control or alt which opens the start menu.  You can also do this by doing control+escape.  Now, do the following to open Word.

 1.  Control Escape or Windows logo key.
 2.  Hit the letter p to open the programs sub-menu.
 3.  Hit the letter m several times until you hear or see Microsoft Word.
 4.  Hit the enter key.

 Notice it took 4 steps to open Microsoft Word.  We can create a shortcut to the Desktop so that you can open it in one.  We'll do that later.  But for now, if you haven't hit the Enter key on Microsoft Word, do that now.  It should open if installed correctly.  Microsoft Word has the extension of .doc.  Each file has an extension which is unique to a particular application.  An

application is a program that you use to do your tasks. Some applications open several types of files. Microsoft Word is an example of this type of program. Let’s type a sample document into
Word now. You can type anything you like. When you’re done with your document, return to this manual. To save this particular document, we need to access the file menu which we do by
hitting ALT+F then the letter A. You could, however, arrow down with the arrow keys to find the item named “save as” and press the ENTER key. A property sheet appears with the following

 1.  Name edit box.
 2.  Save as type pull-down combo box.
 3.  Save button.
 4.  Cancel button.
 5.  Look-in combo box.
 6.  A list view of all directories and file names in the current format in a particular directory.

 We want to be in the name edit box.  Here let's just save it to the hard drive which is usually the C drive on a computer.  A computer can come with multiple hard drives, but usually only come  with one.  Just type a file name like test document and press enter.  Unless an error dialogue appears, your file is successfully saved.  From now on, use the open dialogue by pressing the key combination CONTROL + O to open it.  It's the same type of property sheet as the save as dialogue box.  If you forget the file name, just SHIFT + TAB over to the list view and select the file from there.  Also, from now on, you can save by simply hitting the key combination CONTROL + S to save it a second time.  With Jaws, a property sheet is a dialogue box.

Since I was explaining this from a perspective of using access technology, step by step seemed to work as most computer users are not aware of keyboard steps, although a person who is disabled would be more apt to using the keyboard than the sighted counterpart. It really depends on your target audience, but being clear to all audiences;l is especially important.

I really think that getting to the point is very important. With the above, I could probably shorten it quite a bit, but this was written many years ago and I even used the PC to remind myself how to do it, then wrote it as I did it. I’m not exactly sure how I would rewrite this portion of the chapter again, but it is definitely something to consider since word has definitely changed since this was written. I agree with the lesson when it talks about telling the reader that the power button to the PC does something with the electricity, in fact, I have no idea what it does except that it boots up in to Windows and that is what is important. Today, I could include screen shots of the various dialogues, with the text descriptions as shown above.

Using examples of someone using the product is definitely important. As described above, I actually did this, although I never saved the document, but described the dialogue so the user can visualize and see what it looks like and then talk about how to save the document. I could simplify this by talking about what the dialogue has and then tell them how to save it without going in to any detail on what each aspect of the dialogue box they see or hear is.

I take spelling very seriously. I’ve even seen courses here that have some errors, and access technology is not going to tell me what it is, but the ear will as it reads the document. I’ve notified instructors on errors, and thats because I know what it might be. They’ve thanked me, but a well thought out, spell checked document will definitely go a long way.

Punctuation is important. While I use punctuation in my writing, I should learn when to use certain punctuation. I use commas, periods, question marks, and even some exclamation points, but i don’t know when to use dashes or hyphens. Sometimes I use a semi-colon, but not sure if I use them correctly and that is definitely important.

In the above, I did not use any type of technical language that could not be understood. I kept it simple, and straightforward. If you’d like the whole book for review, I’d be happy to send it. I did not use a thesaurus at all for the book, I thought it all out and people enjoyed the work I put in to it.

Enjoy! The boards await you.

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The ABC’s of technical writing, assignment 4: 5 types of writing techniques was released on July 21, 2016 at 8:30 am by tech in class assignments.
Last modified: July 20, 2016.

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