In engineering, technical documentation refers to any type of documentation that describes handling, functionality and architecture of a technical product or a product under development or use. The intended recipient for product technical documentation is both the (proficient) end user as well as the administrator / service or maintenance technician. In contrast to a mere “cookbook” manual, technical documentation aims at providing enough information for a user to understand inner and outer dependencies of the product at hand.
If technical writers are employed by the technology company, their task is to translate the usually highly formalized or abbreviated technical documentation produced during the development phase into more readable, “user-friendly” prose.
The documentation accompanying a piece of technology is often the only means by which the user can fully understand said technology; regardless, technical documentation is often considered a “necessary evil” by software developers. Consequently, the genre has suffered from what some industry experts lament as a lack of attention and precision