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2021 Trends in Technical Writing and Software Documentation

Posted by ClickHelp TeamClickHelp Teamin Technical Communication on 12/30/2020 — 4 minute read

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As everyone says today, 2020 has drastically changed everything: our private lives, hobbies, relationships, habits, and careers. Technical writing is no exception. Unexpectedly, the pandemic has brought so much new in this sphere that we all need to figure out what is going to be a trend next year.

More User Guides!

Yes, in 2021, we are going to write even more user guides. Look around – everything has gone online. There are so many tools and services to buy food, study, work from home, keep in touch, etc. Software is developing as fast as never before! Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and many other technologies are here to bring our everyday routine to the next level. The thing is that recently, the quality of images has become so high that one can see even the smallest details of an item. That is amazing when you shop online. You can see the real colors, texture, and materials. Some applications even allow users to view items in 3D and rotate them. To say nothing of the quality of infographics! This year, the maps and diagrams showing the influence of the pandemic became one of the main sources of information. They are very detailed and precise. The information is updated nearly every hour. Besides, such spheres as robotics and drone production are waiting for their time to come. That could be a great solution to use them to replace humans where it is possible – for example, in delivery services – to limit contacts.

All those technologies, tools, and services are created for users. And, someone has to provide them with perfect user manuals and training documentation.

So, technical writers are going to have a lot of work with software documentation in the nearest future. We all expect this sphere to flourish in 2021.

More Cloud-Based Services and SaaS!

This year, when we had to work from home a lot, we saw that cloud-based services and SaaS are a must-have for those who want to adapt to the new reality and stay productive. They allow users to work from any place and cooperate successfully with each other without losing relevant data. Only the Internet connection is required. Another trend here is simplicity. All those tools must be easy-to-use and clear to everyone. Of course, technical writers are smart enough to master any new tool, but we all appreciate, first of all, intuitive use.

Thousands of technical writers have already started to use online documentation tools, and many more are coming to save and improve their workflow. In ClickHelp, we are happy to let them work efficiently. We both create a feature-rich environment to write content and make the teamwork smoother. To say nothing of review and import/export processes.

Our goal is to make the tech writing routine as easy as possible.

Choosing a technical documentation tool make sure it meets all your expectations and has all the features to improve your workflow.

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More User-Focused Documentation!

At the moment, the focus has shifted to users and how they interact with a software product. First and foremost, documentation should be accessible and easy-to-find. It should have a clear structure and allow users to find what they are looking for. And, finally, the content should be focused on their pains and support the users’ decision-making. Several weeks ago, we had a good post about that – Best Tips to Create Valuable Software Documentation. With the arrival of numerous software products, this trend is going to be on top.

More Standards in Documentation!

This trend comes from the fact that more and more software products are aimed at the international market, not the local one. So, documentation is supposed to be written according to numerous international standards as it should be easy-to-understand for all users. The use of a specific language – Simplified Technical English (STE) will only increase as the majority of users are not native speakers. The following post will give you more information – What is Simplified Technical English.

Another peculiar tendency is that help authoring tools offer users translation and localization services to speed up document creation. The ClickHelp Team is working on that too, and next year we are going to see the first results. Of course, machine translation cannot fully substitute human translation. At least, at the moment. Using the inbuilt translation services, a company will need not a translator but an editor. And, definitely, automated localization will save so much time and effort. Tech writers who create documentation for the international market know, like no one else, that even the international English language is different in different regions. The same is true when we talk about other languages.

Mobile Use!

This trend is only gathering pace, but I suppose, later on, we will see the results. What we see today is that mobile traffic and mobile users prevail. We do not always have enough time to use a computer. We use our mobile phones. And, almost all websites and software applications have mobile versions. Unfortunately, when we talk about the tools we use to work, not all of them are mobile-friendly. But I guess step by step the situation will change, and we will be able to use our mobile phones to write technical documentation.

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This year has changed a lot. It made a start to so many new things and pushed on so many existing technologies! What we see is that the Internet can help us do almost anything. And, another vital thing is that technical writers and many other professionals should be highly adaptable. New reality – new skills. But I am sure we’ll manage that!

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

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