How Structured Authoring Can Improve Your Technical Writing

The idea of structured authoring can be a confusing one to begin with, but once it is implemented effectively and in its most accessible form, it can save you a huge amount of time and resources.

Structured authoring is becoming increasingly used within technical writing documents, and there are a number of reasons for this.

Updated specifications

If you are performing technical writing as part of a car manufacturing process, for example, then you may have multiple documents all relating to a certain area, such as the engine size.

If the designers of the car decided to amend the specifications on the engine, then all of the other documentation, which may be hundreds of documents, would all need to be manually updated in order to be correct.

By using an XML framework, it can be configured so that there is one source of information and by simply altering this one section all of the other documents are updated automatically, saving you what could potentially be a huge amount of painstaking work.

Ensuring information is current

Technical writing, by definition, is required to be more exact than most other forms of writing, so ensuring that the information given is correct, is of the utmost importance.

Not only can outdated information look unprofessional from a client’s point of view, it can also have large domino effects when used in technical writing.

Reusable content

Being able to easily reuse content is important when devising an efficient content management system for a business, or organization.

While other forms of content may also use sections such as disclaimers, legal notices and terms of use, when it comes to technical writing there is much more information that is going to be repeated from previous content, that you are able to use.

By allowing each of these sections to be amended from one single source of information, you can reuse this information by simple inputting this field into your new technical writing document.

Content management

As an increasing amount of information becomes more readily stored electronically, ensuring that you have the right content management system in place to deal with this, is going to become a progressively more important task.

The technical writing sector is no different and by embracing the structured authoring and XML framework ideas, businesses can manage their content proficiently and effectively.

The use of meta tags and other identifying information allows for easy storage and use, ensuring the author can easily search for certain documents, or sections. This becomes incredibly useful when you are adding content to a new document, which you know exists elsewhere.