Colin Shanley title

Technical Writer and Author

Your product, or even your company, may be at risk without quality documentation.

Confused customers increase support costs and even damage sales.

Incorrect policies or procedures could leave you exposed to legal risk.

New human resources need access to clear information about your systems as quickly as possible.

Writing quality technical documentation is not easy.

It is an intensive, immersive process.

You must identify the audience and then write in a style appropriate to that audience.

Information must be conveyed without ambiguity.

And you cannot bind up valuable resources with the additional workload of technical writing.

I am a commissioned writer and author of non-fiction with more than 30 years' experience. Everything from highly technical documentation spread over many thousands of pages, to articles and speechwriting. I am equally at home writing about electronics, mechanical engineering or software development.

I serve clients around the world, including the UK, several EU countries (including France, Italy, Germany and Netherlands), USA, Canada, Singapore, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Writing is my passion and I am truly blessed that it is also my career. Personally, that means my approach to work-life balance could be better. Professionally, it is hugely advantageous – when you love doing something, you want to do it all the more.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for a consultation, or simply a chat. I'm happy to do nothing more than provide good advice.

Technical Writing

Technical Writing

  • Technical manuals

  • Operating procedures

  • Maintenance guides

  • User guides

  • API and developers' documentation



  • Proofreading and grammar

  • AI detection

  • Restructuring information

  • Readability index

  • Amendment tracking



  • UI copywriting for any digital platform

  • Audience segmentation and analysis

  • Uniform taxonomy and labelling

  • Active over passive voice

  • Proper use of imperative

Typesetting and Design

Typesetting & Design

  • Digital (RGB) and print (CMYK)

  • Layouts for books, newsletters, etc

  • Complex forms design

  • Website / Help / Wiki platforms

  • Bromide / film production

Documentation Strategy

Documentation Strategy

  • Document type analysis

  • Structure definitions in SGML or XML

  • Code base and API solutions

  • Repository and publishing platforms

  • Future and backwards compatibility



  • SC clearance

  • Decades-long work history

  • Defence (MoD, Navy, Army)

  • Agriculture (Defra, RPA)

  • Healthcare (NHS, DoH)


I have worked in the following industries:

Banking and financial


Software development


Aviation and avionics


Mechanical engineering





Previous clients include:

Alstom Rolling Stock
British Aerospace
British Airways
British Library
British Rail Engineering
Channel 4
Deutsche Bank
European Space Agency (ESA)
Ferranti Computer Systems
Legal & General
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG)
London Underground
Ministry of Defence
Natural History Museum (NHM)
PA Consulting
President of the United States (POTUS)
Redifon Flight Simulators
Rolls Royce
Royal Mail
Smithkline Beecham

Previous clients include: Alitalia; Alstom Rolling Stock; Audi; BBC; Bentley; British Aerospace; British Airways; British Library; British Rail Engineering; BT; Channel 4; Defra; Deutsche Bank; European Space Agency (ESA); Ferranti International; General Electric Company; Inmarsat; Legal & General; Lloyds Banking Group (LBG); Microtecnica; Ministry of Defence; Motorola; Natural History Museum (NHM); NHS; PA Consulting; Philips; Plessey; President of the United States (POTUS); Redifon Flight Simulators; Reuters; Rolls Royce; Royal Mail; Siemens; Smithkline Beecham; Underground; VW.

Over the years, I have evolved a method of working that maximises my productivity and the quality of what I write. I am very fast and pride myself on very few amends, if any, being required for the first draft.

I have a thorough understanding of adjacent disciplines including research, design, technical illustrators, developers, etc. But very often – usually, in fact – I am the team.

The first priority for me is to get a deep understanding of the product and the target audience (I often define different document types for audience segmentation).

I often draw up the technical illustrations or can arrange for these services if they are not available to the client.

I regularly provide typesetting and film production for print, or digital deployment through a wide range of platforms.

I then deep-dive research, liaising with business, technical and mechanical stakeholders, depending on the nature of the project. I prefer to do this face-to-face, although this is not always possible.

The writing itself is done remotely – this has always been the case (nothing to do with Covid). Much more productive.

I have included a few very brief case studies to illustrate the kind of work I do. It is a poor substitute for a conversation, however, so please do contact me to discuss the nature of your requirement. No harm in a phone call.

I devised and wrote the system for collating clinical trials data for big pharma (Glaxo and others). This is the basis for a New Drug Application (NDA) for every new product, submitted to regulatory authorities (such as the FDA and EMA) for approval. This is truly big data and can run into millions of pages for each drug. I also carried out the document type analysis, identified mandatory/optional requirements, etc., and structured the documentation in SGML.

I wrote the Technical Services Manual for Volkswagen Audi Group. This was a considerable piece of work documenting all maintenance and repair procedures for every model across the two brands. I prepared comprehensive illustrations to complement the procedural steps. I deployed the finished product both in print and digitally for use in a heads-up display available to mechanics as they worked.

I documented the Eureka satellite system launched and operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). This covered full ground control operations, including navigation, payload deployment, instrumentation and data-gathering, onboard experiments, communications, alerts and disaster recovery. Much of what I wrote was repurposed for ESA’s subsequent Galileo satellites.

I have written about AI in financial risk management for a number of banking clients. For example, fraud detection in card payments, and exposure to risk through corporate financing. Audience segmentation is always wide-ranging on FS projects (business, compliance, underwriters, etc.) which involves different document types and writing styles. As well as documenting at system level, including business functions and processes, I documented the AI engine and API.

Most of what I write is either client-confidential or even state secrets. But I do have some books uploaded on the major bookstores, as well as some articles on, for you to review:

Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or drop me an email to arrange a consultation or simply a phone call. I'm always happy to talk.

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