Storytelling and Technical Documents
People usually think that reading technical documentation is a tedious process. As a rule, they are tired of wordy sentences, unclear terms, and dry facts. Readers need easy-to-remember texts that are clear after the first perusal. So, how to make user guides attractive and unforgettable? Just write a story.
The fact is that our brains prefer to think in images. If we receive easy-to-imagine information, we will remember it faster than documents with complicated words and explanations. Writing stories is the best way to reduce complexity and help users find all answers quickly.
Write a Character
Imagine the following situation: you create troubleshooting documentation explaining how to solve problems concerning using the software. If you write step-by-step instructions in a typical technical manner, it may be fine but not exciting. It’s better to come up with the main character than write a boring text.
For example, your character’s name is John. John is a fan of your software; he is interested in using it and understanding some complicated features. If he doesn’t know something about the platform, he will try to find an answer by all means. In that case, your goal is to write about popular issues concerning your product and show how John solves such problems. So, he will become a person your users will associate themselves with.
Be Careful With Stories
On the other hand, it’s possible that some users won’t understand such an approach. One will think you treat clients like children, for instance. So it’s crucial always to ask your target audience what the best documentation looks like, in their opinion. If most users claim that storytelling is inappropriate for explanations, you should avoid it. It all depends on your customers’ tastes.
Don’t forget about the translation of documents. It’s essential to consider that people of other cultures can treat your stories differently. If you want to explain something to foreigners by means of stories, you should know the particular cultural idiosyncrasies well.
Writing stories in documentation is a brilliant solution for technical writers. It can help users understand some complex questions concerning your product. However, don’t use storytelling without asking your target audience. Besides, you should be ready to rewrite stories to make them clear for foreign people if you translate documents.
“Follow the river and you will get to the sea.”