An important task for technical writers is producing materials that assist both expert and novice users with technology. Your textbook defines a technical description as “a part-by-part depiction of the components of a mechanism, tool, or piece of equipment” (335). Some instructions, such as a user manual, include a technical description labeling the parts of the product. However, clear, concise, helpful technical descriptions and technical instruction how-to videos are difficult to produce. This assignment requires you to write a technical description for an object that will be part of your how-to video.
Select a technical product, process or program and write a technical description describing the look, feel and texture. Consider what material the object is made from, the color and the measurements (technical descriptions use spacial organizational pattern found on page 69). Your technical description needs to consider audience experience, expectations, knowledge, competency, and vocabulary. Your technical description gives a brief introduction to your object, product, or mechanism that you will be sharing. You will not provide step-by-step instructions since this is a technical description. Instructions will be accomplished through your how-to video due at the end of the semester. See chapter 14 for more information and examples.
Instructions: State the object, product, or mechanism to be described in the technical description. Provide background information that the audience needs to know to understand the description (if necessary). Give a general brief description of the object, product, or mechanism. Identify and discuss the parts and characteristics of the product/object/mechanism. List parts of object/product/mechanism (if necessary) and tell how parts relate to each other. Describe object/product/mechanism in detail (color, height, width, length, depth, weight, shape, location, age, sound, smell, etc.). Provide a visual of the object, product, or mechanism close to the description. Provide a citation for the source of the visual, if not your own. Write for the appropriate audience (indicate this in the heading of your assignment after your name, etc. This will help your instructor and peers know who the document is intended for). Use an organizational pattern appropriate for the subject matter and audience needs. Do not try to sell or degrade the product/object/mechanism being described. Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, word usage and word choice.