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Tech Comm Trends: Collaboration With Devs and UX Writing

Posted by
Anastasia in TechComm Career Path on 11/20/20183 min read

Woman biting a pencil

Not long ago, we posted the article called Language vs Technical Skills in Technical Writing, there we tried to figure out areas of improvement for an average technical writer. And, we also mentioned a modern trend in tech writing - the importance of technical skills keeps increasing for tech comm specialists. And, this leads to our today’s topic - the ever-growing interaction between technical writers and developers. Let’s see where this is coming from and how this will affect technical writing in general.

Well, we can’t speak for all technical writers, but those who work in IT, creating software documentation, are saying that technical documentation is becoming more specialized. This general process is pushing writing skills back a little, placing the main focus on technical knowledge. So, in other words, the modern era of help authoring demands good writing skills and all that comes with them to be a default quality of a tech writer. And, on top of that, technical writers need to go in depth to improve their technical background - you can’t create good user manuals when you don’t know what you are talking about.

Collaboration With Other Teams

Team discussing a task

Some employers from the IT field are looking for technical writers with basic coding skills; in their opinion, tech writers should be able to create code examples on their own. However, this can be partly solved by cross-team collaboration.

Documentation teams collaborate with every team in a company. But, nowadays, communicating with devs is probably the most important thing. Developers are the best subject-matter experts. They know exactly how things work because they built them. So, as a technical writer, you need to try and get as much information from devs as possible on your topics of interest, re-work it and deliver to the users in a clear and readable form. Let’s talk a little more about this re-work part.

The Rise of UX Writing

Office table with laptop

User experience is becoming the cornerstone of a product. It is believed that UX can make technical writing less of a priority for companies, or even make it die out as a professional field. Can you design a product so UX-oriented that users won't need any additional explanation or guidance? Depends on the product complexity of course; in general, we doubt it. But here’s some truth to the fact that many things in a product can be made very user-friendly and, with UX being a major trend, this can, of course, decrease the importance of technical writing. However, there’s a ‘but’.

With technical documentation going online, technical writers received a lot of opportunities to skyrocket their worth. User documentation is a powerful marketing tool now. And, there’s more - UX writing is the new black in the tech comm field. It opens up a world of opportunities for technical writing to evolve. How is UX writing different from the usual technical writing? It starts with goal setting. As UX is always user-oriented, the main context behind every goal is to provide your target audience with the best experience they can get. This includes not only working on the choice of words, grammar structures, style, paragraph division, but how your documentation looks, too. So, images, infographics, videos are now a prerequisite for successful help authoring. These tips for technical writers can provide you with food for thought regarding what you can improve right now to move towards UX writing in your career.

Conclusion

It is always interesting to watch how trends appear and evolve/change with time. Quite often these trends turn out differently than expected. But, for now, UX keeps evading every bit of a product lifecycle, and, simultaneously, tech writing becomes more “technical” and specialized. We are quite excited to see what this will bring in the future.

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

 

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