The Future of Technical Writing
The big picture. The rules of the game for creating and consuming information have changed
Content consumers now...
- Actively engage in generating content (democratization of content creation).
- Use many devices (e.g. laptops, mobile phones, tablets) necessitating multi screen & multi channel publishing.
- Require easily searchable, highly personalized content.
- Increasingly expert rich media in content.
What does this mean for technical writing?
- More collaborative and conversational authoring.
Community-based content will continue to develop as conversing with users becomes more commonplace.
Augmentation of traditional documentation with blogs, forum posts, forum posts, user comments, etc.
Rise of networked manual.
Need for content curation and content strategy.
Requires ongoing management and budget.
- More media and more devices.
Need to understand technology as well as content.
- Need to prove value.
Technology makes it much easier to see what generates interest and what does not. Technical materials, like other forms of content, will be under pressure to prove their worth. Competition in niche fields will also increase
as the web makes exposure to other content creators almost instantaneous.
- Move credentialing.
Since anyone with a computer can claim to be a technical writer, we will likely see more tool or process specific credentials like PMP curriculum developed by Project Management Institute.
- Migration to structured authoring.
As technical materials become more and more of a collaborative effort, writers will utilize existing software which aids keeping digital content indexed and organized. Instead of writing narrative chapters which build
knowledge in a linear stream from one chapter to the next, technical writers will write bits of information that are searchable for specific inquiries.
- Other future forecasts.
Rise of embedded user assistance (guided help).
More web-based content and web analytics.
More content analysis.
Migration to the cloud "cloud".
Technical writers will become...
Although it is always possible to specialize in writing alone, technical writers will most likely be required to have a firm aptitude for technology. They will handle many auxiliary functions related to the materials they produce.
Some examples are shown to the right:
- Gather requirements.
- Design pages.
- Develop taxonomies.
- Create graphics.
- Develop proposals.
- Analyze processes.
- Manage web content.
Presented by: TecnicalWriting.org.
Sources: http://www.ebstc.org/newsletter/0902/harlan.htm; http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog/2010/01/trends-in-technical-communication-in-2010-an-beyond; http://www.sdicorp.com/Resources/Blog.aspx1Larry Kunz;