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The Future of Technical Writing: Trends and Technologies to Watch in 2024

Posted by
Elmira in Technical Communication on 12/27/20237 min read

dragons looking at the city

In 2032, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (US) anticipates a 7% increase in job prospects for technical writers. Now, as we go into 2024, we're starting to see that the prediction has proven to be accurate.

Today, technical writing is a rapidly developing sector expected to experience substantial growth in the coming years. The increased demand is attributed to the ongoing development of new technologies, which in turn stimulates the production of advanced products requiring comprehensive technical documentation. This explains the growing popularity of technical writing.

The forecast for the next period (2024-2026), as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — an organization measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy — is even more optimistic. The demand for technical writing is expected to grow by 10-11 percent by 2026.

This blog is a 2024 trend report that will help you investigate the trends in the field of technical writing for 2024 and provide an outline of the most prominent ones in the year to come.

The Future Scope of Technical Content Writing. General Trend Overview

Globally, most tech writers are reported to work in IT and related industries. However, the field is not limited to IT and web-based industries; it also encompasses the medical industry, finance, marketing, machine building, telecommunications, and many others.

Technical content writing has experienced immense growth in the past few years. Any technical development, invention, new product, or product version requires support through technical documentation to convey necessary information to users.

The future scope of technical content writing is promising due to the increasing adoption of technology and digital marketing by businesses.

Consequently, there will always be a demand for high-quality, informative, and engaging technical content across various digital platforms.

Today, the most dynamic fields of technology are machine learning and artificial intelligence, where most technological solutions will emerge. This will shape the development of technical writing for the next several years, establishing tech writing as one of the mainstream industries and a compelling career option.

Below are the most prominent trends that will shape the scope of technical content writing in 2024:

  • Artificial intelligence and automation play a significant role. AI is utilized to automate tasks, such as in artificial neural networks (ANNs), enabling users to generate content, conduct research, and create personalized content. The demand for personalized content is consistently growing, providing users with content tailored to their specific needs.
  • Creating personalized content. The demand for personalized content is constantly growing. It provides users with content that is customized to suit their needs.
  • UX design encompasses a wide range of activities, with interactive content like infographics and video reels being a shining example. Such content is gaining popularity in technical writing, offering users a more engaging experience and indirectly enhancing the SEO parameters of the content (the ranking of online content in search results).
  • Content reuse and collaborative content creation are transforming the landscape. Technical content creation has become more convenient for tech writers, and this trend is expected to continue. Both content reuse and collaboration have significantly increased the speed and efficiency of tech writing. Content reuse is made possible through multi-component authoring, where new content is created from existing fragments. Collaboration is another trend accelerating content creation, allowing multiple authors and subject matter experts to work on the same piece of content simultaneously.

Now, let’s investigate the most prominent trends in the industry and their prospects in more detail.

AI and Automation

AI is omnipresent; it has already made significant inroads into interpreting and translation, and now it's making its mark on technical writing. However, just as in the case of translation, AI is not poised to ruin the industry, as predicted years ago. Instead, AI has elevated the translation industry to the next level, making it possible to handle greater volumes of text in much less time—a task previously deemed impossible.

Now, AI is set to transform the nature and quality of technical writing, much like its impact on the quality of translation work. AI can be employed to generate content, sometimes referred to as 'generating ideas,' aiding writers in overcoming the so-called creative block. While the text generated by a neural network may not be ideal, it can serve as a foundation for rewriting.

In fact, AI can automate numerous tasks, such as:

  • Creating draft technical documents. AI enables writers to generate texts using prompts (formulated requirements). The generated texts can serve as foundational material for documentation, which needs further rewriting or editing by a human writer.
  • Generating personalized content. AI can customize content to suit the needs of a specific audience.
  • Translating documentation into multiple languages – a function that can be used for localization purposes.
  • Creating interactive content can encompass a variety of elements and technologies to enhance the user experience. It involves incorporating dynamic elements like clickable infographics, immersive videos, quizzes, and AR/VR experiences to engage users.
  • Proofreading content for grammar errors.
  • Editing content by suggesting alternative terms and synonyms and reformulating text.

In other words, AI preserves valuable time for technical writers, enabling them to concentrate on strategic tasks. ClickHelp stays current by offering advanced AI tools like WriteAssist and AnswerGenius. The former serves as an AI writing assistant, acting as a co-pilot for technical writers and streamlining content creation and editing. It transforms text, drafts articles, and refines passages to align with specified tones and styles, enhancing overall efficiency. The latter, AnswerGenius, is a chatbot that enriches user experience by delivering prompt responses and retaining conversation context. To delve deeper, request a free trial.

Personalized Content

Personalized content creation is a marketing strategy that involves customizing content to suit the specific interests, preferences, and behaviors of users. The advantages of personalized content include enhanced UX parameters such as better navigation, increased usability, more effective search for information, and improved content architecture, among others.

The usual steps for creating personalized content are:

  • Studying the target audience. You should first understand your customers—identify their needs, interests, and level of technical expertise.
  • Data segmentation. Next, you have to classify your audience by segmenting it into groups. This allows you to concentrate your effort on specific areas. You can now create content for each specific group.
  • Enhancing content usability. For this purpose, you should use clear and concise language, make the architecture of your content logically structured, and ensure better navigation by using search bars and TOCs to help users quickly find information.

This is what all content writers were supposed to do until they started using AI. Artificial intelligence has become a great new tool for personalizing technical content, helping adjust detail levels for different segments of the target audience (from beginner users to developers), and translating and localizing content. AI can also generate recommendations for readers.

For example, the widely used ChatGPT (a neural network based on AI and machine learning) has been trained to understand and generate text. Moreover, it can be employed to create personalized content and increase audience engagement. Depending on the prompt (a task formulated for the neural network), ChatGPT can tailor the content to suit the interests and preferences of customers. Additionally, it can generate human-like text that sounds as if it were created by a human writer—crucial for grabbing the attention of the audience.

writing tools and computer interfaces

UX Design

User experience will soar if you create user-friendly documentation. UX design is one of the current trends that involves crafting digital products that are simple to use and easy to navigate. The basic principles of UX design enable the creation of documentation with better architecture, concise and clear content, incorporating a wide array of visual aids such as images, diagrams, tables, and videos.

For example, ClickHelp is an online authoring tool that allows publishing user-friendly docs (like manuals, help pages, etc.) in multiple formats, including HTML, PDF, and EPUB. ClickHelp enables you to use templates so that your documentation looks unified and recognizable to users. If templates are insufficient to ensure compliance with your company's branding policy, you can work directly with the CSS styles that accompany every project you create in the portal.

Content Reuse and Collaboration

The next trend that will dominate in 2024 is content reuse. It is a fundamental principle for the state-of-the-art process of content rewriting, optimizing the process so that your team of writers no longer has to create content from scratch or rely on their memory. This is crucial to prevent your company's knowledge base from becoming an information silo. Content reuse allows you to create and update documentation with less time and effort.

ClickHelp provides such content reuse features as cross-referencing and snippets, enabling the incorporation of files from other projects.

Collaborative authoring, or collaborative content creation, is another trend that significantly increases the speed of content generation and goes hand in hand with content reuse. This trend implies that technical writers are increasingly involved in collaboration with each other while working on the same support document simultaneously.

Moreover, most authoring tools offer the opportunity for cooperation with product managers, developers (engineers, designers), reviewers, and even translators. This ensures that the documentation is correct, up-to-date, and meets the needs of all users.

Emerging Technologies

In addition to the trends mentioned above, technical writing is influenced by developing technologies such as:

  • Augmented reality (AR). AR makes documentation even more interactive, allowing users to actually immerse themselves in the products they are interested in.
  • Internet of Things (IoT). IoT refers mainly to high-tech gadgets that are connected and can even ‘communicate’ with each other. For these new devices, technical documentation is essential, as most users need support. To produce high-quality support docs, technical writers must acquire new skills to navigate users through these complex systems.

The trends described in this blog will shape technical writing in 2024 and in several years to come.

impact of generative ai on various professions

Conclusion

As more and more digital products emerge on the market, technical content writing is in increasing demand, both by employers and users. This is the main factor influencing the development of technical writing. New digital products are created with the use of AI and machine learning, making it essential for skilled writers to stay updated with current trends in the field of IT and web-based industries.

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

 

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