Technical Writing and the Cutting Edge: What Lies Ahead
According to many experts in technical writing and communications, 2011 is a time of change.
The predictions for technical communication in 2011 include issues such as:
- A gap in technical writing and modern technical communication
- A focus on business value
- Authoring tool value
What does all this mean for the coming year?
Only time will tell. But what is clear is that technical writing is a growing field with more opportunities to grow and to expand. As the world becomes ever more reliant on technology, well-written and well-presented documentation that also helps innovate will become increasingly important.
Tablets as Technical Writing Tools
Penn State’s Education Technology Services (ETS) recently purchased iPads for students to use in technical writing courses. Students used these tablet computers to access word processing iPad apps for use in completing their assignments.
What students found is that the iPad has potential to be a useful tool for technical writing but cannot yet do all of the work that full-sized computers can. Formatting and layout tasks were more cumbersome using the iPad word processing app, but most felt the iPad was a good tool for composing shorter, less complex documents.
Connecting the Dots: What’s Needed Next?
- Portable technology requires more power – In order to handle accessing larger files and documents, the iPad and other tablets like it will need to have more memory and a faster processor in many cases.
- Technical writing can become more portable – Since the iPad is easy to move from place to place, those who are technical writers do not need to stay in their offices to complete work. They can be out in the field or in the lab, documenting processes as they watch.
- Businesses will need to invest in technology – Since there seems to be growing support for new technology, businesses will need to invest to keep up with their competition and help their technical communications team be both more effective and more efficient.
The message for 2011 and beyond is clear: Technology will continue to change the way that technical writers do their job. And the future for innovation is bright.
What are your thoughts on technical communications and technical writing today and in the near future? Please leave a comment and share your insights.