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The Future of Technical Writing

Posted by
Anastasia in Technical Writing on 11/6/20183 min read

Future

Trying to predict what’s coming is only natural for humans. This can prove useful for planning, especially in business when you always have to be prepared for what the future holds. On the other hand, it is just fun to do so.

Technical writing is integrated into many professional spheres, and it is being heavily influenced by modern technology and ideas. Let’s try to determine how help authoring is changing today and figure out what it’s going to be like - to create user manuals in the near future. By the way, here’s some entertaining reading for you, a blog post on possible future without technical writers.

I Want to Play a Game

Board

There have been countless articles on gamification in recent years. Not surprisingly, games are great for introducing new material. Our brain picks up on the game’s logic and manages to digest all the given information without much difficulty. Gamification not only introduces enhanced learning experience but also motivates users to keep going - keep learning and using the product.

And, this easily fits with technical documentation. User manuals are not only about dealing with issues, they are also about getting acquainted with a product, and they are meant to simplify adoption. Partly, gamification has been already implemented in technical writing through context-sensitive help. But, we believe, its role will be increasing in the future as this technology becomes more accessible.

Modern help authoring tools can provide you with ready-to-use pieces of code for context help. So, interactive user guides are now easier to develop. For example, here’s how this works in ClickHelp, an online documentation tool. First, technical writers create help topics, and then they can be retrieved in the form of code snippets. The snippets are added to the app code to create an interactive user guide. And, that’s it!

3D and VR/AR

3D

3D modeling sounds perfect for technical documentation of the future. Imagine how convenient it would be to have a 3D model of a product, fully interactive; you would be able to turn it around and get all the functionality-related info on the spot.

While 3D is something we are accustomed to, VR/AR still feels new and exciting, probably, because the great potential of this technology has not been fully tapped into yet. For technical documentation, VR/AR could become a more convenient way of client interaction with 3D product models combined with learning the functionality. Users could spin the model, take it apart, find out what each part does, and that would be much easier than reading a manual. And, this actually brings us to gamification again. Technology and psychology will be working together here.

To sum it up, we believe that technical documentation might lean towards a better and lighter more hi-tech user experience in the future. And, taking into consideration the importance of user manuals in a product life cycle, this path is the right one - users can get a lot from documentation, it is just the form that can be challenging sometimes.

Conclusion

We know there are some technical writers https://clickhelp.com/software-documentation-glossary/technical-writer who feel uncomfortable because of the changes in technical writing. They can find it quite unsettling as the future of the industry might seem a bit fickle and uncertain at this point. If you are among such people, we have something reassuring to tell you.

Although we believe that transformation of technical writing never stops, and it is inevitable, these changes are never abrupt, they are slow, cautious and natural. Just like when we watched its transition from printed to mostly online - it was very much expected and gradual. Besides, the good old technical writing is not going anywhere either, only the approach may shift more towards a better user experience, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

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

 

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