Information on Technical Communication

 Reader Analysis
 Formal Report
 Analytical Report
 Typography Hints
 Instruction Basics
 Memo Format
 Oral Report
 Progress Reports
 Letter of Application
 Simple HTML


Descriptions can be very complex or very simple, depending on the context of need. Although description may seem like a simple task, it can involve difficulty for which an inexperienced technical communicator may not account. For instance, it may seem easy to describe a simple object like a bearing, but if you have to distinguish among many different kinds of wheel bearings, plain metal bearings, ball bearings, and caged bearings in the process of ordering them for bulk sales, your task as a technical communicator becomes more difficult.

Typical descriptions begin with a definition, a textual creation of a picture of the object described. Technical communicators should also include a justification for the description that explains why they are defining and describing the object. Descriptions are integrated within documents that serve a functional purpose of some kind and don't stand alone.

Technical communicators create effective descriptions by

  • reflecting accurate and close observation of the object

  • using objective descriptive language

  • making the relationship between words and graphics clear

  • Descriptions appear in many different kinds of documents including

  • product proposals

  • analytical reports, particularly in comparative mechanism sections

  • product descriptions

  • job descriptions

  • incident reports

  • project descriptions

  • Descriptions help a reader understand what the object is, in part by starting with a definition. This requires specific language and details in precise, unambiguous terminology.

    An effective communicator explains how the object performs by explaining its primary purposes as well secondary and sometimes tertiary uses.

    It's important to describe the appearance of an object in order to distinguish it from others that may be similar. A communicator may note the general appearance of an object by using analogy, then proceed to inclusion of direct descriptive elements such as colors, material composition, and manufacturing labels or marks.

    Document developers may also explain how the object operates and how it is put together, particularly in terms of the relationship of its major and minor parts.