TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
> Could we steer the conversation away from travel schedules and back towards something that technical writers might be trying to document on a mobile help system vs information that programmers would be displaying in the user interface?
Well I don't think we should, because the technology has blurred those lines. If we continue to think of technical communication in terms of a split along the lines of writers = static and programmers = dynamic, we are going to be obsolete very quickly.
Today's media are dynamic. They have behavior. Yes, that behavior has to be programmed. But the behavior of the media is still part of how it communicates. It is part of the communication design. If we don't learn to think of communication in terms of designing the behavior of media, we are going to become irrelevant.
In particular, we can't continue to act as if the presentation of raw data for the reader to manipulate is acceptable anymore. We have to start thinking in terms of how to manipulate the data for the reader and present them with results. That is simply the standard today. It is a fundamental component of ease of use a product.
True, not everyone has the skills or the tools to do this in the short term. But that does not change the fact that the old dichotomy simply doesn't work. We have to start by asking what the correct information design is, and that will often have a dynamic component. If we don't have the tools or the skills to produce that design right now, okay. Do the best approximation you can, but then start getting the tools and the skills because the world has changed and that is what it is going to take to do the job in the future.
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com