Technical author training
Technical authoring training programme

5 days £1195+ VAT

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Dates and booking

Birmingham / Bromsgrove training centres

Date
Availability
Book
12 Mar — 16 Mar
25 Jun — 29 Jun
15 Oct — 19 Oct

Reading training centre

Date
Availability
Book
30 Apr — 4 May
20 Aug — 24 Aug
Key details

Key details

Comprehensive technical author training for newcomers, and existing technical authors who want to improve their skill set.

For over two decades Armada has been a leading provider of technical authoring services. We employ and work with some of the most talented and knowledgeable technical authors in the UK. Our experience and expertise makes us ideally suited to offering technical author training.

Our Technical authoring training programme comprises the following modules:

The programme has been revamped recently, with several new modules added to reflect the latest trends in technical documentation.

Accredited technical author training

Our Technical author training programme, is accredited by the ISTC, the UK-based society for professional communicators.

Expert trainers

Technical author training is provided by highly experienced instructors, all of whom have 20+ years’ experience working as technical authoring professionals.

How will I learn?

Technical author training combines lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice. You carry out plenty of practical exercises to learn the techniques taught.

You have ample opportunity to discuss your specific requirements with the trainer.

Training materials and certificate

Course delegates receive:

  • Comprehensive training material, to refer to throughout the course, and to use as a refresher afterwards.
  • Checklists and job aids to focus each stage of the writing process.
  • Report and user manual templates that incorporate best practice design and structure as taught in the courses.
  • Resources to use back in the workplace.
  • An e-certificate confirming successful course completion. Click here to see an example of the certificate you receive.

After course support

Following technical authoring training, delegates are entitled to 30 days’ email support from their trainer to help with any post-course issues.

Prerequisites

No prior technical authoring knowledge is necessary.

Our guarantees to you

Our price guarantee is your assurance that you’re getting the best value for money.

Our training guarantee ensures that you learn the concepts and skills you need.

On-request technical author training available

As well as our scheduled courses, we offer our Technical Authoring Training Programme on-request, i.e. a ‘closed’ course for your group, hosted at one of our centres or your venue.

On-request training can be tailored to take into account any existing knowledge your group has, and the type of technical authoring work you do. Please contact us for a quote.

General information

General information

Course times

9.30am–4.30pm.

Payment

Payment for technical authoring training can be made bank transfer or card. View training course payment options.

We accept purchase orders from UK-registered companies.

Accommodation

See Accommodation local to our training centres.

Cancellations

If a company or delegate cancels an technical authoring training course booking giving less than 10 working days’ notice, a cancellation fee is payable. View cancellation terms.

 

Course content

Course content

Introductory module (day 1)

Introduction

Introduction and objectives

Recommended reading list

Why good writing is important and the costs of documentation

Know your audience

Understand and prioritise the different categories of your audience and handle different levels of reader

Research the basic tasks of your audience

How to structure your documents

Understand which sections to include in your manuals and the order in which they should be placed

Write from a design

Use mind mapping techniques for designing a document

Learn how to plan the content of your document before you start writing

Skills of writing – 12 golden rules

Learn the 12 golden rules of writing to help you develop a clear and concise style

Use readability checking and testing techniques

Punctuation and grammar

Understand the basics of punctuation and grammar

Avoid the six most frequently made errors that occur in writing

Document layout

Understand the basics of layout and typesetting

Learn how to format your document for maximum impact

Reviewing and proof reading

How to check your documentation to ensure it is error free

Use industry standard techniques for reviewing, rewriting and proof reading

Intermediate module (days 2 and 3)

Introduction and overview

Basics of technical writing

Why don’t readers use technical writing?

  • Five key reader problems
  • What readers want
  • Why consistency is so important

Writers’ problems with technical writing

  • The main cause of ineffective writing
  • Types of writing
  • Standards for technical writing

The technical writing process

Project managing your writing

  • A process to achieve consistency
  • The technical writing process
  • Timings for a writing project

Planning your writing

  • Setting document objectives
  • Plan – draft – rewrite!

Analysing your audience

  • Understanding your readers
  • Audience analysis
  • Four key audiences
  • The global audience
  • The audience you don’t support

Adding detail to your audience analysis

  • Using personas
  • Communication styles
  • Other communication style issues

Creating effective content and structure

Creating a body of knowledge

  • Defining structure and content
  • Structuring with sections
  • Topic-based authoring & DITA

Topic generation techniques

  • Introductions and conclusions
  • Generating topics for a structure
  • Structuring with the LATCH principle
  • Outlining tools

Creating an outline prototype

  • Creating headings that work
  • Writing better headings
  • Testing the prototype

Creating cohesion:

  • Handling repetition and redundancy
  • Transitions that work
  • Sentence structure
  • Sections that work

The Building Blocks of Content

  • Basic sentence structures
  • Topic sentences and controlling ideas
  • Writing a clear topic sentence
  • Establishing the topic and controlling idea

Using paragraphs

  • Paragraph structure
  • Linked paragraphs help readers
  • Creating effective paragraphs

Clarity in technical writing

Clarity issues with English

  • Language customs
  • Common writing styles
  • Simplified Technical English
  • STE controlled dictionary*

Grammar issues affecting technical writers

  • Pronouns
  • Modifiers
  • Synonyms

Consistency and correctness

The Importance of consistency

  • Achieving consistency
  • Typographical errors
  • Spelling forms
  • Numbering
  • Capitalisation

Punctuation standards

  • Commas
  • Colons, semi-colons, ellipses
  • Hyphens
  • Apostrophes in action

Copy editing and proofreading

Putting it all together

Building readability into your documents from the start

  • Enough or too much?
  • Capstone exercise

Technical writing tools

  • Writing tools for technical writers
  • Image creation tools for technical writers

Advanced module (days 4 and 5)

Introduction and overview

Defining readability

The technical writing process

  • Building readability
  • How people take on information
  • Working with how the brain works

Given/new and readability

  • Given/new – using a universal glossary
  • Structuring for readability
  • Reducing inferential load

Signalling in your document

  • Signalling with headings
  • 3-step process for effective headings
  • Signalling with sentences
  • Customer-focused persuasion

Business and design standards for technical documentation

Standards for technical writing

  • Darwin Information Typing Architecture
  • DITA and XML
  • Company style guides and standards
  • External standards

Types of style guides

  • Example style guide content
  • Creating a style guide
  • Using editorial reference guides

Creating better graphics

Designing the page

  • How readers process technical documents
  • Improving your document’s functionality

Basic rules of graphics

  • Controlling layout with tables and grids
  • Microsoft Word vs DTP software

Page design:

  • Typefaces, fonts, and white space
  • Layout and alignment

Expressing information with graphics

  • Identifying what works as a graphic
  • Getting the right level of detail using, photos, drawings and charts and graphs

Checking document integrity

Formal document structure and templates

  • Headings and the ToC
  • Other tables and lists
  • Checking
  • Captions and graphics
  • References and notes

Online vs print

  • Checklists for print and online
  • Checklist for online

Copy editing and proofreading

  • Marking up proofs
  • Using formal proof correction symbols
  • Checking your text
  • Checklist: proofreading and copy editing

Writing for multiple platforms

Targeting your platforms

  • Size and shape of the screen
  • Using responsive design

How readers scan pages online

  • Identifying what must be written
  • Building the inverted pyramid

Headings, menus, and links

  • 3-step process for effective menus:
  • Menus vs. links
  • Writing links that work

The online hierarchy

  • 4 key criteria for an effective home page
  • Creating transitional and content pages

Accessibility initiatives

  • Basic accessibility guidelines
  • BBC online rules

Grammar issues

Focusing sentences to communicate to the reader:

  • Putting the reader first
  • Different types of sentence
  • Making your writing more concrete

Key grammar problems in technical authoring

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Complete sentences
  • Missing information
  • Unreadable text and how to fix it

Grammar and syntax

  • Usage issues
  • Creating cohesion terms: redundancy and transitions
  • Using parallel construction: sentences, tables and lists, headings

Editing and writing with others

Planning to meet your deadlines

  • Planning and estimating
  • Planning metrics
  • Meetings: objectives, rules, top ten issues, checklists

Feeding back to team members

  • The SBI model: delivering effective feedback
  • Questions to ask in difficult situations
  • People problems: communication styles*

Creating communication in the work environment

  • VAK: seeing, hearing, feeling
  • Filtering information with VAK preferences
  • Benefits of VAK preferences
  • Keeping the team Informed
  • increasing team involvement

Capstone exercise

  • Putting it all together
Discounts

Discounts

To make your technical authoring training as affordable as possible, we offer:

  • A range of training discounts on our scheduled (public) technical authoring training courses.
  • A price guarantee that you won’t get technical authoring training for less.

Training discounts

Multiple places

If you book multiple course places, we can offer you:

  • 10% discount if you book two places.
  • 15% discount if you book three or four places.
  • 20% discount if you book five or more places.

This can be for several people attending one course, one person attending several courses, or a combination.

Concessions

We offer a 10% discount on scheduled technical authoring course places to:

  • Students, teachers and lecturers.
  • People who work for a registered charity.
  • ISTC members.
  • Delegates self-funding their training for career progression purposes.

Please call us if you qualify for a discount. Evidence of your status that entitles you to a discount may be requested.

Terms and exclusions

Only one of the above discounts can be applied to any booking.

The above discounts are not available for training bundles or on-request course bookings (one-to-one training or a course for your group).

Price guarantee

When you book training with Armada, we want you to be certain that you’re not paying over-the-odds. So, if you book a place on any scheduled (public) course and then find the same course at a lower price elsewhere, we will match that price.

To qualify for the price match:

  • The course you find must be comparable. By this we mean it must:
    • Cover the same subject.
    • Be the same duration or longer.
    • Be in the same region, i.e. within 50 miles of our centre.
  • The lower price must be advertised on the other company’s website.

To claim a price match, just call any time before attending your course and tell us where you saw the price.

Testimonials
“Excellent course and facilities. Thank you to Nigel and Crow for providing well-structured and thorough training in technical authoring skills and their application. Thank you also to Emily for excellent communication during the course booking process and to both ladies for the daily warm welcome, and ensuring that copious amounts of refreshments were available.”

Jane F

“The course was useful, interesting and presented with high energy and great humour. I've come back to work enthused about what I am doing and looking forward to making changes.&”

Joanne W

“Just a short note to thank you for the course. It was engaging and enjoyable - much more so than a similar online course I completed a few weeks ago. I have just applied for my very first technical authoring job.”

Tony S

“The course was clear and logical. I understand why some information was repeated as others may not have been on previous days and Crow was excellent at summarising which bits were repetition. Both Crow and Nigel were excellent tutors and I enjoyed their teaching styles and understood more than I thought.”

Lauren H

“Really enjoyed the course. Been making myself unpopular at work letting them know how they are doing things wrong. Do you run a managing conflict course? Joking aside, was really impressed and one of the few courses I have been on that has provided immediate benefits for my writing skills. Pass on my thanks to Nigel and Crow.”

Frank V

“As someone who was brand new to the profession, the 5-day technical authoring training programme was ideal for my needs. The course content was clear and comprehensive, and both Nigel and Crow were engaging, supportive, and knowledgeable teachers. I would recommend this course to others, and definitely intend on taking others by Armada in the future. Thanks for a great week!”

Christina S

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and have gained a lot more confidence and understanding with regards to document writing. The instructors were very knowledgeable, helpful and provided clear guidance on best practise for documentation creation.”

Glyn C

“The technical authoring courses I attended with Armada were extremely beneficial to me when starting out as a tech author. A new colleague is joining the department and I have recommended he attends these courses for the same reason. After a few more months experience with us, he will return for the advanced course. All the courses I have undertaken with Armada have been extremely good, and I hope to get the opportunity for more training soon!”

Mark H

“I found templates, planning and content all very constructive. The whole course has given me an insight to Technical Authoring.”

Paul S

“I attended the Technical Authoring Training Programme this week, and wanted to say 'thank you' for a thoroughly enjoyable week. The course content was very impressive and Peter did a fantastic job. His big personality, warm stories and enthusiasm for the subject shone through. I will be sending Peter a separate email thanking him. I will certainly be returning to Armada for other courses, actually have my eye on a bit of Robohelp, but need to research the options and after a short mulling period, I'm sure you will see me return. Thanks again good people of Armada, great job.”

Matthew L

“The trainer, Crow, was excellent. She presented the material in a very clear, interesting and informative way. She was able to answer most questions and if she didn't know the answer immediately, would come back with an answer shortly afterwards. She interspersed the material with interesting group exercises which added a bit of fun to the course. I particularly like the way she tailored the course around the group's requirements, and even tried to help with topics outside the scope of the course by loaning books on various subjects, such as Writing CVs and Time Management etc. The course material was also excellent, clear and followed a logical progression.”

David M

“I just wanted to say thank you to you, Nigel and Crow for all you time, effort and support. I learnt a great deal from the course but the biggest benefit was the confidence I gained in my writing. I hope to be in touch in the coming months about training in Framemaker and Captivate.”

Angela P

“Having now completed the beginner, intermediate and advanced technical authoring courses with Armada training I would not hesitate to recommend Armada as a training provider. The training was tailored to our requirements and delivered with excellence by Crow to our team here on site at Panasonic Manufacturing UK Ltd.”

Richard S

“Attended the Technical Author Advanced course, both Nigel and Crow were excellent tutors. I feel equipped to apply what I have learnt back in the workplace. Good course facilities. Would definitely return to do another course.”

Nancy S