Here are a few books I recommend on topics related to technical communication.

Basic textbooks

Technical Communication Rebecca E. Burnett

Burnett’s work was the recommended introductory text for the Sheffield Hallam University cours in Technical Communication, and it covers all the basics in a clear and logical manner. If you are a complete novice and you’re looking for somewhere to start, this is a good choice.

Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach Paul V Anderson

This was the preferred text for courses formerly run at Coventry University. The book has a slightly more modern design than Burnett but essentially covers the same ground.

Technical Communication: Process and Product Sharon J. Gerson and Steven M. Gerson

Gerson and Gerson’s book is designed for American college students, and has a visually appealing layout.

Technical Communication classics

Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors (IBM Press Series–Information Management)

This is – or in my opinion, should be – the bible for every technical communication professional. It covers not only how to produce useful and readable technical communication for your readers, but why. It also explains the value of technical communication for business. If you’d rather discuss productivity in terms of quality than in terms of page-count, then you need this book.

Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers (Wiley Technical Communication Library)

Karen Schriver provides unparalleled insight, backed by empirical research, into how people read. A most valuable classic text on information design.

Writing for the web

Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works (Interactive Technologies)

This book by Janice (Ginny) Redish is not only a great guide to writing effective copy for the web but is also a useful guide to reader-centric writing in general. Ginny is one of the pioneers of putting the reader, and the reader’s needs and tasks, at the focus of all technical writing, and I have to say she is absolutely right to do so.

Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Steve Krug’s guide to website usability makes being simple look like the most sensible thing to do. What’s amazing to me is how many sites are difficult and confusing because they still fail to follow his advice. Read this book, and your site won’t be one of them!

Content strategy

Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter)

OK, so you know how to write compelling web copy that is both clear and engaging. You know how to make your site easy to use. But do you know how to make sure that your web site is always up to date, and always reflects the company’s policies? Let Kristina Halvorson tell you how!

Presentation skills

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter)

This is a really enlightening book on why so many presentations are rubbish, and how to make sure your presentations aren’t!

For more suggestions visit the Marginal Notes Store on Amazon

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