Here is the context: a technical document that is hard to follow. Assume that you are the Associate Director of communication for the company that produced the document and that you are doing a...
Here is the context: a technical document that is hard to follow. Assume that you are the Associate Director of communication for the company that produced the document and that you are doing a final review. Identify what specifically makes the document difficult to use providing a specific reference for each problem.
This is a good question. Clarity in any document ought to be the main objective.
Here is what I would check as a director.
First, often documents are difficult to follow because antecedents are ambiguous. For example, if you are using pronouns, it is imperative to make sure that the antecedents of these pronouns are clear. Similarly, it is important to make certain that there are no misplaced modifiers. Misplaced modifiers can make any document confusing. In short, do a thorough grammar and style check.
Second, technical documents are difficult, because of the use of technical words. So, if technical words are used, then it is important to define these words in a precise and easy way for readers, who may not be experts, to understand what these words mean. I would even make sure that there is a glossary.
Third, what often helps in bringing clarity to manuals is the presence of diagrams. Visuals aid in explaining. This is especially so for visual learners.
Finally, I would make sure that the manual is succinct. The right words do not mean many words. Succinctness is an art. Therefore, I would make sure that the document was not overly long.