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Reducing the complexity of technical language (new article in Simplifying Complexity series)

by Tom Johnson on Jul 11, 2018
categories: simplifying-complexity podcasts

I added a new article in my ongoing series about simplifying complexity. The article is called Reducing the complexity of technical language and explores reasons why the language in technical documentation tends become so full of jargon and other unfamiliar terms, and a few solutions for simplifying the language. I emphasize the need to read the competitor's documentation and other articles in the industry to get a sense of the right terms and contexts that users likely expect. I also decided to read the article for those who prefer podcasts.

Listen here:

Here’s a summary:

Highly technical material often becomes incomprehensible due to the unfamiliar terminology that’s simply part of the technical domain. Readers who don’t already speak the technical language in fluent ways will struggle to make sense of the material. To make these highly technical texts more accessible to users of all levels, you can create glossaries, embed definitions in tooltips, provide links for background knowledge, and more. As you define your terms, it’s helpful to read beyond your company’s content and check out how the same terms are used in your competitor’s documentation and industry articles. As you become more aware of terms and their definitions, you will be more precise and careful with language in your documentation.

Continue reading: Reducing the complexity of technical language

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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