Over the course of the semester we have covered many topics that are beneficial to understanding the process behind creating technical documents. I think the topic that has been most useful for my work at this present time as well as for future would be from Chapter 7 of the textbook. The Chapter is titled “Designing Documents and Web Sites” and provides us with information on what we should think about while creating useful documents. This information would be used alongside with the information that has been repeatedly stated throughout the textbook; analyze your audience, consider multicultural readers, consider your purpose, and determine your resources.
Any career path I could choose as a Civil Engineer will require the writing of documents whether they are technical specifications, drawings, reports (geotechnical, transportation, …), or just a typical in-house document. I think the most important of the points listed above is the “analysis of your audience” because usually during the production of these documents it can be view by more than just one type of person. In my experience these documents are reviewed by colleagues, clients, contractors, the public, and more. Through my analysis of who the target audience should be it will also help me determine how I believe they will use this document. This allowing me to construct effective documents.
From the chapter I mentioned above it references creating documents and one thing I plan on doing is taking time before hand to plan out the document. I plan on thinking about how it will look (to make a good impress), if I am able to find the information that I am presenting easily (usefulness/effectiveness), is the information easily understood or written in a confusing way (allowing them to understand the information), and can I include any images, memorable graphics or tools (help the reader retain the information). Another big thing that I will consider more in the future is the specific layout of the documents I create. I now know that there are techniques that I can follow to help provoke the reader to see things in specific ways and how effective are in certain situations.
This is just one of the main topics we have covered that I have found useful and will continue to practice in the future.
by Erhard Marcus Uhmann