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Soft Skills of a Technical Writer

What soft skills should technical writers have when they start their career? Linguistic and technical understanding is important in our profession. So are the soft skills - just like in any other job. more ...

RDF is not XML – RDF serialization and iiRDS metadata

The world of technical writing loves XML. Its document type definitions are the foundation of structured authoring. XML and the underlying schemas structure the content of our information products. The benefits are twofold. Content is consistently structured and easy to read. Authors have an easier time writing the content. The structure provides guidelines for authoring. more ...

How to become a technical writer – Confessions of a former translator

A former translator, I worked the first seven years of my professional life in the translation industry, in various positions. While I learned a lot from this experience, it also left me, as a writer, frustrated. Translators are chained to their source text and writing the words of others in another language, usually focusing on what their clients want. more ...

tekom impressions part 2: API documentation and the VUKA world

Daniela Herbold and Ulrike Parson write about better API documentation and solutions for innovative human resources management. more ...

Impressions from tcworld 2017

Part 1: Improvisation, fluff hunt, and videos for technical documentation. more ...

Say it with pictures

What comes to your mind when you see a picture of an umbrella? I think of a typical rainy day in Hamburg. In India, this image could trigger a completely different response  bad memories of the colonial era.

Fotolia Regenschirm© Janis Abolins - Fotolia.com

Images in technical documentation show our readers which button to click, which pane to select, and which cable goes in which socket. With a screenshot or illustration, we can often explain more than with a long, descriptive text.

When we use images in documentation, we have to consider our target audience. Could our readers interpret an image differently, like in the example above? Could the image cause an unwanted reaction?

Images are important for international audiences. It's  not always given that the language of the documentation is also the native language of the reader. Images increase comprehensibility, warn against danger, or help avoid mistakes.

In the new knowledge base article "Visualize information - say it wit pictures", Katrin Mehl and Elisabeth Fischer show how we can create a good and meaningful image, explain the different depiction types, and point out possible obstacles.

 

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