Why technical writing matters

by | Oct 19, 2021

I’m probably a little biased, but I think today is an excellent example of why high-quality technical writing is important. Big political changes often depend on technology, and voters need to understand what’s happening, and why.

The UK government has just announced a huge range of environmental policies to counter the climate crisis. Many of the headlines have been grabbed by plans to replace gas boilers with heat pumps for domestic heating.

But what is a heat pump? 

Plenty of news outlets have gone for the ‘reverse fridge’ explanation, but I don’t think that works – mostly because almost nobody understands how a fridge works. The BBC has a better, slightly more detailed explainer, sourced from the Energy Saving Trust, but it’s still confusing. Which is the best I’ve seen today, admittedly using more words and still name-checking the reverse fridge, but they mention benefits as well as just features.

Almost no-one seems to have focussed on how heat pumps will cut our energy bills, and readers are likely to feel that they will, instead, cost us all money. 

A missed opportunity.