Technical Writer Tom Johnson recently wrote a two-part look at the fragmentation or ‘diversity’ of tools used by technical communicators today. The topic focused around the vastly different tools in a technical writer’s/technical communicator’s toolbox today and whether a standardized tool set or a diverse set of tools has the advantage.
The recently published results of the Writers UA 2014 User Assistance Tool Survey seem to confirm the divergence that exists in technical communications tool usage, at least within the software user assistance community.
In his first post, Is Tool Fragmentation a Good Thing?, Johnson looked at the pros and cons of tool fragmentation as well as the role played by DITA in such fragmentation. While DITA is growing in popularity, the tools used to implement it vary widely.
In part 2, Benefits of Tool Diversity, Part II, he makes the point that standardization can have obvious strategic benefits, but it also encourages stagnation and hampers creativity and agility. Unfortunately, HR managers often over stress tool knowledge when it comes to screening technical communicators.
What’s in your technical communications toolbox? Do you believe it’s better that the technical communications profession employs a diverse set of tools or would you like to see more standardization when it comes to tool adoption? Please leave a comment.