The origin of technical and instructional communication is in improving the user experience. By enlisting the skills of professional writers in the creation of business and consumer user documentation and training, companies provided self-serve resources that enable customers to make full use of features and solve problems, rather than requiring customers to struggle with highly technical documentation focused on system functions rather than user tasks.
Today’s technical and instructional communicators are now contributing directly to product user interfaces, creating user assistance in the form of user interface text, online help, wizards, tutorials, tooltips, and performance support applications.
Technical and instructional communication transfers specialized or technical information from experts to non-specialists who use it. It requires research by an author/trainer skilled in learning new subjects and writing for nontechnical audiences, followed by planning, drafting, and revisions. Many technical and instructional communication deliverables are online, requiring knowledge of specialized authoring tools to produce files that integrate into the product.
Writing content databases from which to assemble different types of information products—a process called single-sourcing—enables reusable content and reduces work for product updates and different versions.