A recent Zoom call made me aware that technical documentation, aka technical writing, is a career path I should explore considering I have an English degree and an interest in technology. After some research, my interest has definitely been piqued! Dare I say this field was made for me?! The best way to find out is to get my hands dirty.
After watching a ton of YouTube videos, I revised a DoorDash help article for new Dashers, as a practice exercise. The first step in the process of writing technical docs is knowing the product. The second step is knowing your audience. I have been dashing for roughly 2 years and I am familiar with the app and delivery process — the product. My experience allows me to have insight on what to tell new Dashers.
The article before:
Key changes :
- Combined the first paragraph to be less choppy. Initially, I was going to cut the first paragraph. However, an introduction is important since this is an article
- Changed words: offered delivery to receive delivery. Technically deliveries are offers as Dashers can decline. However, when Dashers speak we say received. Also changed, restaurant to store. Deliveries now include retail stores. Using store would universally apply to both.
- Broke down the paragraphs for better readability. Having one lump paragraph without clear steps could be confusing.
- Used bold on key words to highlight for the readers and to slow down a reader who skims.
- Updated language to accurately depict current app functions. Example, Dashers now tap a button when arrive to the store vs previously swiping right.
- Eliminated passive language such as “you can tap” to reduce confusion and increase clarity.
- Added more detail about the standard delivery process to reduce confusion. Example, confirming a delivery completed is different depending on the drop off method the customer selects.
This exercise really was a fun introduction. I plan to learn more about technical writing and to write about more challenging technical concepts. What do you think about my revision? Are the steps clear to you? Let me know what you think in the comments.