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:
- Introduction to technical authoring (1 day)
- Intermediate technical authoring (2 days)
- Advanced technical authoring (2 days)
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.
Technical authoring courses are hosted by highly experienced instructors, all of whom have held senior technical authoring positions and have 30+ years’ experience in technical authoring and related roles. For further details, see Expert trainers.
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. For further details, see Support.
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.
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.
Cancellations and transfers
If a booking on a scheduled Technical authoring programme course is cancelled giving less than 10 working days’ notice, a cancellation fee is payable. View cancellation terms.
If a delegate requests a transfer to a different scheduled Technical authoring programme course giving less than 10 working days’ notice, a transfer fee is payable. View transfer terms.
Terms and conditions
Training course bookings are subject to our terms and conditions.
Technical authoring courses are hosted by Nigel Platts, Crow Dillon-Parkin and Peter Dillon-Parkin.
Nigel is a Co-Founder of Armada with over thirty five years’ experience in user-assistance in a wide range of roles including Technical Writer, Manager, Consultant and Trainer.
As well as hosting Armada’s technical writing courses, Nigel manages Armada’s in-house team of writers.
Nigel continues to undertake projects from time to time to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and practices. His areas of expertise include software for local government, accountancy and finance.
Crow has thirty years’ experience in technical authoring, and writing for business in the wider sense.
Her love of language, combined with a natural pickiness and attention to detail, has been put to good use in a variety of editing, writing, management and training roles.
Crow is a highly-experienced learning specialist who believes strongly in empowering authors through training. Clients for whom she has developed and delivered technical and business communication skills training include FW Pharma Systems, the Open College, the BBC, and Fitness First.
Crow has two degrees and a Certificate in Education. She is currently working on a range of books based on the writing courses she has developed.
Peter has thirty years’ experience in the IT industry in roles that have included Programmer, Author, Trainer, Business Analyst, Senior Manager and Education Management Consultant.
Peter’s technical authoring career began when, as a systems manager, he was asked to write a portable data terminal manual for sales reps. The reps learned how to use the new equipment, and Peter had found his niche.
He has written, designed and project-managed everything from printed manuals and technical specifications to online help and computer-based training materials, specialising in writing for an international audience. An expert in document automation and information re-purposing, he uses templates to avoid endlessly reinventing the wheel when producing documents.
Peter develops and teaches a wide range of technical and business writing training courses. Clients for whom Peter has recently consultancy services and training to include Learning Tree International, The Guardian, Canon Europe, the BBC, the MoD and the UN.
Introductory module (day 1)
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
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
- 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
- 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
Consistency and correctness
The Importance of consistency
- Achieving consistency
- Typographical errors
- Spelling forms
- Colons, semi-colons, ellipses
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- Basic accessibility guidelines
- BBC online rules
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
- Putting it all together
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.
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.
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).
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.
Technical authoring services
Established in 1991, Armada is the UK’s leading provider of technical authoring services. We have an in-house team of highly experienced technical authors dedicated to working on projects for clients.
If you have a peak workload, or require assistance with a specific project, please contact us.
- User guides, to accompany your applications, and related documentation such as reference handbooks, training material and quick reference guides.
Our technical authors adopt a task-based approach. Our guides rely heavily on graphics to simplify complex procedures.
- Online help and user assistance solutions to be incorporated into your applications. Our help combines concise content with rich features including graphics, video, wikis, giving a modern look and feel to your application.
- Single source projects – hard copy user guides and online help from one source, saving you time and money.
- Knowledge-base systems. Do your staff have access to information wherever they are? If not, we can solve this for you by creating a knowledge-base system providing up-to-date work instructions, procedures, policies, and so on, all accessible by your team from any web-enabled device. Your efficiency will improve and support costs decrease.
Our consultants can provide expert advice on best practice and approach for your documentation requirements. We can:
- Advise on staffing needs. How many authors are needed? What skillset should they have?
- Recommend the software that’s most appropriate for your requirements?
- Create standards, and design stylesheets and templates for your team to use.