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Guest Blog

The top emerging trends within the technical communication industry 2017 – Cherryleaf

The ISTC asked its Business Affiliates what they thought were the top emerging trends within the technical communication industry at the moment, and why they thought they have come about. We also asked if they thought information development professionals are having to change the way they work (or train) due to the emerging trends. Below are highlights from the response from Ellis Pratt, Director at Cherryleaf:

1. The growth of APIs has seen a corresponding growth in the need for API documentation and interactive document environments. Without the documentation, it’s virtually impossible to use an API, as developers need to know what resources are available, where they are, and what parameters they will accept.

2. Linked with this is a move towards treating documentation as code, and using developer tools such as GitHub, Markdown and Jira to create and manage documentation. This is part a reaction to more projects following the Agile methodology, with fast and frequent releases and a team-based approach to projects.

3. As technology becomes more part of our daily lives, we’ve seem a move towards a less formal tone in some types of documentation. This is a consequence of documentation being part of the pre-sales process, and there being less anxious users.

4. We’re also seeing a move toward embedding user assistance into the application itself, without the need to go to the docs. We’ll be seeing more developments with Conversational User Interfaces, on-boarding screens and micro-content. This is a consequence of users being reluctance to admit they’re stuck and going to the Help.

 

The top emerging trends within the technical communication industry 2017 – QoSL

The ISTC asked its Business Affiliates what they thought were the top emerging trends within the technical communication industry at the moment, and why they thought they have come about. We also asked if they thought information development professionals are having to change the way they work (or train) due to the emerging trends. Below are highlights from the response from James Bromley, Director at QoSL:

High Tech-High Touch (Megatrends, Naisbitt, 1982) – there is going to be a growing divide in consumer/customer loyalty between those organisations that understand this dynamic, and practice it, and those that don’t.

Implications for ISTC members : a business opportunity to encourage and facilitate their employers and customers to ‘cut the channels’ and facilitate ‘It’s good to talk’. 

 

Guest post – Technical Communication – another term for User Experience?

This is a guest post from Claire Wood MISTC, and it reflects Claire’s personal experiences and opinions. 


We hear a lot about how user experience, a design concept that has changed the way we interact with products, be they websites or apps, on a PC, but mostly on a mobile device. However, if you’ve ever had to explain to someone what a technical communicator does, and got a confused look in return, it could be they are confusing you for a user experience (UX) designer or developer. Indeed, there seems to be confusion as to what UX actually is and should cover.

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Communicator and Science

A blog post from Katherine Judge, Commissioning Editor, ISTC Communicator.

The ISTC is the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators. While Communicator normally contains lots of articles on technical communication there’s little if any content related to scientific communication. I’m trying to work on ways to redress the balance.

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Guest post – So you want to learn about API documentation

This is a guest post from Jennifer Rondeau, a Technical Writing Manager at Capital One.

This is a post for beginners. Specifically, it’s a post for technical writers (regardless of specific job title) who want to learn more about API documentation, a realm traditionally separated from other forms of software documentation, and often made mysterious by folks who don’t use it or make it.

That I find this post necessary says quite a lot about the state of software documentation and the technical writers who produce much of it, but that’s a point I’ll explore in more detail another day. For the time being, I want to offer advice that’s meant to complement what other technical writers have said or written on the subject.

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