One of the wonderful things about the tech community is that we love sharing the things that we find and learning with one another. Many people feel that technology is making us isolated, but technology offers endless possibilities for socializing and meeting new people.
When we encounter new pieces of technology, whether they are hardware or software-based, we often turn to the community for advice on how to get to grips with it. Conversely, when we have mastered new technology ourselves we often enjoy sharing our newfound expertise with others.
Tutorials are an excellent medium for doing this, and while video tutorials are becoming more popular some of us just feel plain weird in front of a camera. For those people, the good old-fashioned text tutorial is perfect. But, writing a great tutorial isn’t easy, so here are some things to keep in mind next time you write one.
Know your Audience
It is important to have a clear understanding of the demographic you are writing for. If you are writing for the layperson, then you will want to take things slower and use less technical language than you would for an advanced audience. It is a good idea to make clear at the start of your tutorial who you are writing for.
Plan Your Layout
Having a clear layout will make your tutorial much easier to understand. If you plan to include graphics in your tutorial, then think about what these will be and where you will position them. Some people like to include a picture with every step. While this can make things clearer in some cases, you should think about whether they are needed. Unnecessary graphics can end up making things more confusing; see this tutorial from diyexperience.com for an example of how you can make simple but effective use of graphics in your tutorial.
Begin with The Requirements
Before you get into your tutorial, you should make a list for the reader of anything, no matter how obvious it might seem, that is needed for them to follow the tutorial to completion. This will prevent the reader from getting halfway through the tutorial before discovering they are unable to complete it – and becoming frustrated!
Break It Down Evenly
One of the hardest aspects of tutorial writing to get right is breaking it down into even steps. It is tempting to break it down into individual actions, but if you overdo it the tutorial becomes needlessly long and tedious. Conversely, if you don’t break it down enough it will be too vague and difficult to follow.
Writing tutorials is an excellent way to indulge your passion for technology while helping your fellow enthusiasts. Sharing knowledge with other people is one of the great pleasures in life and writing tutorials will also help to cement information in your own memory. Follow the words of advice above and you’ll be well on your way to producing razor-sharp tutorials on your favorite subjects.