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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 1.4


Write to your audience. People read technical documents for different reasons, and readers have varying levels of technical expertise. To be effective, technical writing must target its audience or audiences.

Target your audience by identifying your audience type and level of expertise, your audience's purpose in using the document, and your audience's attitude toward both you and the content of your document. These considerations will influence specific features of the document, including organization, introductions, equations and mathematical models, graphics, technical terms, and level of detail.

These features, especially the level of detail, contribute to the density of the document, the rate at which information is presented to the reader.

See Document Density for an explanation of how these features vary for different audience types to identify the expertise and purpose of different types of readers.

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