Revision for “Products” created on January 20, 2018 @ 12:34:20

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Products
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<h2>Technical Communicators Produce Four General Categories of Documents</h2> <p>Technical communicators produce documents in a variety of media, including online, print, video, and audio, for use on devices such as computers and mobile devices. The four general categories of documents include:</p> <ul><li>Documents that explain products, services, and policies. Technical communicators do so through materials such as help, technical support websites, user’s guides, service guides, references and policies and procedures.</li> <li>Documents that share “basic” scientific and technical information. Technical communicators do so through materials such as  technical reports, scientific articles, conference presentations, and book-length projects.</li> <li>Documents that train users to develop skills. Technical communicators do so through materials such as online tutorials, job aids (quick references), and materials for use in face-to-face classrooms and virtual classrooms.</li> <li>Documents that market products and services. Technical communicators do so through materials such as proposals, marketing websites, white papers, catalogs, brochures, and newsletters.</li> </ul> <p>Partly to increase efficiency and partly to reduce the likelihood of errors, technical communicators often produce materials once and use them in a variety of media or for several purposes. Creating one set of materials that can be published in several media is called single-sourcing. Producing materials that can be assembled with a variety of other materials is called reusable content.</p> <p>In addition, technical communicators produce these documents to serve a variety of types of users, from scientists and engineers in specialty areas to end users of products, and from executives to the general public.</p> <p><strong>An example:</strong> a technical communicator creating help</p> <p>For more details on documents that train users to develop skills, read Tom Johnson's post <a href="http://idratherbewriting.com/2011/02/08/formalizing-my-help-strategy/" target="_blank">Formalizing my help strategy</a>, where he describes the types of materials that he produces, the perspectives he draws on, the processes he follows and the tools and techniques that he uses. </p> <h2>Visual Communications</h2> <p>Technical communicators also communicate visually with or without words through illustrations, diagrams, charts, "swim lane" business process flowcharts, screen shots, photos, slide shows, videos, and the like.</p> <p>Technical communication tools include:</p> <ul><li>Vector drawing software such as Adobe Illustrator</li> <li>Photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop</li> <li>Spreadsheet and charting software such as Microsoft Excel</li> <li>Presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint</li> <li>Database visualization software such as Microsoft Access</li> <li>Diagramming software such as SmartDraw and Microsoft Visio</li> <li>Screen capture software such as TechSmith SnagIt</li> <li>Demonstration video software such as TechSmith Camtasia and Adobe Captivate</li> <li>Video editing and animation software</li> </ul> <p>There are related standards for Business Process Modeling Notation, Six Sigma, and more, which may vary depending on the industry you serve.</p> <p>Credit: TereLyn Hepple provided the list of visual software tools</p>
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