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Chapter 2. Task orientation > Write for the intended audience

Write for the intended audience

Before you start writing, be sure that you have a clear understanding of your audience. For example, if you are writing for managers, you might include only high-level tasks, such as evaluating and planning, or a high-level view of other tasks. Similarly, if you are writing for end users, avoid system administrator tasks.

Be sure that the information that you include in your topics is of interest to your audience. For example, your product might have a powerful new help system, but a description of the help system features is of little interest to the person who is installing the product.

The following passage shows a simple task that is explained in detail. However, the audience consists of users who want to use an advanced feature and therefore do not need help performing simple tasks. This information will frustrate all but the most patient advanced user.


To customize your settings:

Go to the file tree.

Click the INFODIR folder.

Right-click the SETTINGS.DEF file and select Edit from the menu.

Change the settings that you want in the file.

Click File —> Save to save the file.

Click File —> Close to close the editor.


To customize your settings, edit the INFODIR/SETTINGS.DEF file.

In the revision, the task is handled much more simply. The revision quickly provides the users with the information that they need, because the writer understands the skill level of the audience.

For more information about how much detail to provide based on the type of user, see the completeness guideline “Cover each topic in just as much detail as users need” on page 79.

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