Developing Technical Documents
Unit code: HATC411
|Credit points||12.5 Credit Points|
|Contact hours||3 Hours per Week - online only|
International students should have an overall score of 7 on the IELTS test, with no individual band below 7.
Students are advised that it is preferable for them to have completed HATC410 before attempting this unit.
Aims and objectives
This unit builds on the students’ understanding of the theory and application of written and oral communication developed in HATC410 Effective Communication. It helps students analyse, synthesise and present information in order to develop technical documents in the most appropriate medium for different audiences. By the end of this unit they will have material that can be used for their professional folio.
On completing this unit students will:
• Understand the skill sets and personal qualities required of a technical communicator
• Have developed a conceptual framework for the critical analysis of documents and the contexts in which they are appropriate
• Understand effective planning from a theoretical and practical point of view
• Understand document design principles and documentation structures
• Appreciate the effectiveness of style guides and their essential place in documentation creation
• Know how to analyse audiences and determine the documentation they require
• Be able to design effective page layouts and apply typographic rules to ensure documents are easy to use and read
• Know how to plan, write and edit a document according to a style guide and in the required timeframe
• Understand the complete documentation development process.
Recorded lecture presentations (voice, together with visual material), online discussion boards, self-study exercises, wiki spaces, Skype communications technology, and MP3 files that can be downloaded to desktops and/or MP3 players. These materials will be delivered through the Blackboard portal. CDs of lecture presentations and demonstration software will be mailed out if required.
Generic skills outcomesOn completion of this unit students will have acquired: a conceptual framework for the critical analysis of documents and the contexts in which they are appropriate; a theoretical and practical understanding of effective planning of documentation projects; skills for working with subject matter experts; and an understanding of document design principles.
• Analysis of audience needs and documents, information gathering principles and negotiating with subject matter experts
• Document content principles
• Theory of various types of technical documents including: manuals; quick reference cards; proposals; computer-based training modules; online help; white papers; functional requirements documents; business requirements documents; internet and intranet documents
• Summary and application of communication methods and styles applicable to each documentation type
• How to choose the appropriate document to meet business requirements
• Usability theory
• Single sourcing: theory of suitability to task and production methodologies
• Introduction to developing a publication plan, content plan, and project wrap up document
• Planning and estimating publication projects
• Theoretical overview and practical application of writing styles for different mediums
• Document design considerations
• Uses of graphics, white space and headings
• Theory of information architecture principles
• General principles of document lifecycle, version control, review processes
• Developing and writing technical documents: structure and content
• Theory of content management and how it differs from knowledge management
• Technical editing, including negotiating with authors: reinforcing the effect of technical editing on technical documents and practical applications
• Publishing process: printers' requirements and dealing with printers; publishing online help; practical preparation of document to publish via paper.
Microsoft Corporation, The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, Third editon, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, 2004
Snooks & Co, Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Australia, 2002