Technical writers are the unsung heroes of the business world. They are the people who explain complex topics in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. If you have ever read an instruction manual or a how-to guide, you’ve experienced the work of a technical writer.
Technical writers are experts in their field and have a lot of knowledge to share. If you are curious about what it’s like to be a technical writer, or if you are just looking for someone to help you with a specific project, these questions will help you get to know a technical writer and find out if they are right for you.
70 Questions to ask a technical writer:
- What made you decide to become a technical writer?
- What education and/or training did you need to get your job? Are there any certifications or professional memberships that are required or recommended for people in your field?
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What industries do you have experience writing for?
- What qualifications or experience do you need for the job?
- What is a typical workday like?
- Where do you usually write – at home, in an office, etc.?
- What kind of documents do you usually write?
- What kind of writing do you enjoy the most?
- How do you go about researching the topics you write about?
- Do you collaborate with other professionals in writing your documents? With whom and why?
- Who are some of your clients?
- What software do you use most often in your work?
- Do technical writers need to know how to code? Why or why not?
- Do you think there is a difference between “technical writing” and “content writing“? If so, what is it?
- What is user documentation and what role does it play in technical writing?
- What is the API documentation?
- How do you decide what information to include in your documents?
- How do you know when a document is ready?
- Do you ever need to revise or update your documents after publication? If so, how do you go about it?
- How long does it usually take you to complete a document?
- Are there any particular formats or styles you need to follow when writing?
- Do you sometimes experience writer’s block, and if so, how do you deal with it?
- What resources (books, websites, etc.) do you use when researching information for your documents?
- How can you tell if your writing is successful?
- How do you choose the topics you write about?
- How do you organize and structure your writing?
- How do you develop and manage content over time?
- Which format do you prefer for your documentation (PDF, HTML, etc.)?
- Are you comfortable working with XML and other markup languages?
- Can you localize your documentation for different markets?
- Do you use graphics or images in your writing? If so, how do you choose them?
- What role does customer feedback play in the development of the documentation?
- What are the most common challenges companies face when creating documentation?
- How can companies overcome these challenges?
- Do you have any coding experience? If so, can you give an example where you had to use your coding skills on a writing project?
- Do you have experience translating documents into other languages?
- Do you have experience writing for online or print publications?
- Are there any tools or platforms that you are particularly skilled in using? Can you give me an example of how you would use this tool or platform for a writing project?
- Do you have experience working remotely? If so, could you give an example of successful remote work?
- Do you have an opinion on when it is best to use visuals (such as screenshots, infographics, and videos) vs. text-based explanations in our documentation?
- Can you give me an example of a project you worked on that you particularly enjoyed or found challenging?
- Can you walk me through your process for writing an instruction manual?
- What was one of your most challenging writing projects?
- What do you think sets your work apart from other technical writers?
- What are the most important skills for a technical writer?
- What do you think is the best way to improve your skills as a technical writer?
- What is the most rewarding thing about being a technical writer?
- What is the most challenging part of being a technical writer?
- What type of personality do you think succeeds as a technical writer?
- What are some of the most common misconceptions about technical writing that you have encountered?
- What do you think is the most important thing companies should consider when working with technical writers?
- What do you think are the most common mistakes technical writers make?
- What do you think are the best ways to learn technical writing?
- What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when writing for a technical audience?
- What do you think are the most effective ways to communicate with engineers or other subject matter experts?
- What do you think are the best ways to organize and format technical information?
- What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind when editing or revising technical documents?
- What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind when collaborating with subject matter experts or other stakeholders?
- What do you think are the most important things to consider when localizing or translating a document?
- What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when writing API documentation?
- What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when writing tutorials?
- What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when writing how-to guides?
- What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when writing FAQs?
- What do you think is the best way to keep up to date with new developments in your field?
- What do you think are the best resources for technical writers?
- What do you think are the best online resources for technical writers?
- How do you stay up-to-date on changing technology?
- Do you have thoughts on the future of technical writing?
- What tips would you give to someone who wants to become a technical writer?
28 Questions to ask before working with a technical writer:
- What are your rates or fees?
- What are your availability or processing times?
- Can you give examples of your work?
- Do you have experience working with developers or engineers?
- Have you ever written user manuals or online help files?
- Do you offer additional services, such as editing or proofreading?
- How familiar are you with the company’s products and services?
- Have you written documentation for similar products or services before?
- What is your understanding of the project or product?
- What is your understanding of the audience for whom you are writing?
- What is your understanding of the purpose of the document?
- What kind of document are you writing?
- What is the structure of the document?
- Which style guide do you want to use?
- How will you ensure that the document is clear and easy to understand?
- How will you ensure that the document is accurate and error-free?
- Are there any specific format or layout requirements that you need to follow?
- What challenges do you anticipate with this project?
- Are you familiar with any industry-specific standards or guidelines that we need to adhere to?
- What is your understanding of the target audience for the documentation?
- How can we ensure that our developers write clear and concise code comments that will be helpful to future maintainers?
- Do you have a suggestion on how we can enforce compliance without seeming too heavy-handed about it?
- Our customer-facing documents often contain outdated information. How can we set up a system that makes it easy to keep everything up to date without falling behind again in the future?
- We want to move away from PDFs and into using Web-based documentation. But we are worried about losing our previous search engine ranking – what strategies would you recommend to make sure our users can still find us online?
- Our department is considering creating our blog as part of our thought leadership strategy. Do you have any tips on what makes a successful blog, both from a content perspective and in terms of promoting and attracting readers?
- Are you familiar with any content management systems or other tools we could use to manage and publish our documentation?
- Do you have any questions for us about the project or the organization?
- When could you start working on this project and how much time do you think it will take to complete?
Frequently Asked Questions
What are key concepts in technical writing?
To create effective technical documents, it is important to understand the key concepts of technical writing. These include understanding the purpose of the document, understanding the audience for the document, and knowing how to organize and present information clearly and concisely. In addition, technical writers must use accurate and appropriate terminology and be able to follow a set of standard formatting guidelines.
What are the challenges for technical writers?
One challenge is that they must be able to write in a variety of formats, depending on the medium in which their work will appear. They may also need to be familiar with a variety of software programs to create documentation. They will also need to be able to communicate complex information clearly and concisely to a variety of audiences.
What do technical writers focus on?
In most cases, the main focus of a technical writer is to prepare complex information in a way that is easy for the average reader to understand. This includes breaking down technical jargon into understandable terms and writing clear and concise instructions. To produce accurate and helpful documentation, technical writers must have a good understanding of both the subject and the target audience.
What are the characteristics of a good technical writer?
A good technical writer is someone who can prepare complex information in a way that is easily understood by the average reader. They can translate technical jargon into language that anyone can understand without losing the meaning of the information. They are also able to format information so that it is easy to read and understand.
Technical writers are experts in their field and have important skills that companies need to create high-quality content. If you are considering working with a technical writer, these questions will give you insight into the technical writing profession and what kind of person succeeds in this field.
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