This simple trick can make your documents more engaging immediately

Technical documents are generally boring. Not so much the process, but the documents themselves. We can plunge into an endless debate about whether writers should inject humor or other elements to pull readers in (I say Yes!), but maybe there's a simpler answer.

For example, there is a sure way to make technical documents easier to read without making them sound less professional. Novelists and poets are well aware of this strategy, because they focus relentlessly on style. What is this strategy?

Simple... vary your sentence length.

Long, monotonous sentences filled with technical details are mind-numbing. Why not break things up a bit?

Varying the length of paragraphs and sentences has a subtle impact on the attention of readers. It forces their brains to constantly adjust. Without this change in pace, the monotonous rythm of your content will lull readers into a coma faster than a hot toddy and a lullaby.

For example, let's look at the following sentence.

The archive feature allows you to store unused data collections in an efficient manner. Archives can be stored in multiple formats depending on several factors. These factors include the size of your data files and the storage devices available on your computer. Archived data can be retrieved at any time using the Restore function.

Seriously, that's boring stuff. Let's see if we can adjust the pace to make it easier to read.

Do you have unused data in your system? The archive feature can help. When you create an archive, your data is compacted and then stored to the media format that you choose, based on the size of your files and your available hardware.

Don't worry; you can restore your archived data at any time.

Ok, so it isn't exactly "Madame Bovary." But you get the point. You can supercharge a dull sentence without adding knock-knock jokes. All you need to do is experiment a bit with the length of your sentences and paragraphs.

Technical writing does not have to be boring.

Related posts: