Trends in technical communication for 2010

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Slides from a webcast on May 20, 2010, with Ellis Pratt, Tony Self, and Sarah O'Keefe

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  • The importance of customer loyalty to businesses
    Emotional engagement with the company
    Importance of the post-sales experience
    Have a plan
    Bonding, personalisation and empowerment
    Include documentation in the plan


  • Definitions: Rhetorical (persuasive), Expository (explanative)
    Professional writing (broadly) is growing in rhetorical...
    …but declining in expository disciplines
    Newspaper journalism is dying
    Government “media advisors” are breeding
    Where are these graduates going to work?
    In Corporates and Government, producing uncritical “news”
    Will this also happen to technical communicators?
    Brochures, fact sheets, Web blurb
    “Traditional” documentation left to peer generation
    Just as is happening in the “blogosphere”


  • at first, XML was all about cost reduction, especially in localization
    but also reuse = cost reduction

    now, XML is shifting toward a foundational technology that enables new stuff, like integration with user-generated content, personalization, etc.

    It’s becoming a prerequisite rather than a feature.

  • Has been hard to measure the impact of documentation
    Hard to determine the ROI and gain budget
    Can do it with Web content
    Is there a self-regulating system in play?
    Between Support, Documentation and UGC?
    Younger people prefer words to speech
    Move back to text based support?

  • XML – human and machine readable language
    Documents in XML can be “processed”
    Reference documents generated by scripts run against code source
    CSIRO work generating user documentation from test scripts
    Even graphics generated from “data”
    Move from content creation to content editing




  • Trends in technical communication for 2010

    1. 1. background image flickr: thelastminute Trends in tech comm for 2010 and beyond Sarah O’Keefe, Scriptorium Publishing Ellis Pratt, Cherryleaf Tony Self, HyperWrite
    2. 2. Housekeeping notes ❖ Everyone is muted except for the three presenters ❖ Please ask your questions through the Questions area in the webcast interface ❖ The presentation is being recorded; attendees do not appear in the recording.
    3. 3. How is this webcast organized? ❖ Two trends from each presenter. ❖ Discussion follows each trend. ❖ We expect audience participation via the Questions tab and in responding to polls.
    4. 4. Ellis Pratt, Cherryleaf ❖ Based 1 mile from Greater London ❖ Sales and Marketing background ❖ In Technical Communications since 1997 ❖ Cherryleaf ❖ Technical Communications company ❖ Projects, Recruitment & Training services
    5. 5. Trend 1, Ellis
    6. 6. Documentation as an emotional experience flickr: mrsbluff
    7. 7. Tony Self ❖ Based in Melbourne ❖ Trainee Technical Writer in aircraft factory in 1979 ❖ CBT, hypertext ❖ Started HyperWrite in 1993 ❖ Help organisations implement documentation technologies ❖ Help systems, online content, DITA
    8. 8. Trend 2, Tony
    9. 9. Expository to rhetorical flickr: macinate
    10. 10. Sarah O’Keefe, Scriptorium ❖ Founder and president, Scriptorium Publishing ❖ Consultant ❖ Experienced with lots of different publishing ideas, including XML and DITA
    11. 11. Trend 3, Sarah
    12. 12. XML is now a prerequisite, not a feature. flickr: mariya_umama_wethemba_monastery
    13. 13. Trend 4, Ellis
    14. 14. The support call– user documentation relationship flickr: fulbert05
    15. 15. Trend 5, Tony
    16. 16. Auto-generated documentation flickr: nikonvscanon
    17. 17. Trend 6, Sarah
    18. 18. Tech comm needs to include content curation. flickr: bootbearwdc
    19. 19. Final notes ❖ scriptorium.com/resources/webcasts for the webcast recording (allow 3 business days) ❖ Check scriptorium.com/events for upcoming events
    20. 20. Contact information ❖ Ellis Pratt, cherryleaf.com ❖ Tony Self, hyperwrite.com ❖ Sarah O’Keefe, scriptorium.com

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