Inclusive writing and user-centric strategies in technical communication

BEAUVALLET Mathis, BERANGER Charlotte, HIBON Gaëlle

Paris University, July 2021

Abstract

Documentation and technical communication have gone beyond the stage of secondary support, to become a necessary product while creating a product that reflects its target users is now a common strategy. Then, could inclusive writing be relevant in technical communication to meet users’ expectations?
By interviewing technical communication professionals on their products and experience, cross-checked with research, we are seeking to answer this question. From technical guides to marketplace interfaces, we were able to identify how inclusivity could be integrated into their products and learn when it added value.
While businesses take every precaution to be seen as inclusive, we could imagine that it would show in the content they create. Inclusive writing is the ultimate lever to women and men’s equality in language. Yet, its cultural and political association added with the variety of its form can make any company think twice before incorporating it.
Technical communicators are confronted with a brand-new way of writing content that can sometimes go against the sacred rules of Technical Communication1. At the same time, it implies great change management, not only for users but for collaborators as well. Even though technology might answer most of the drawbacks and complications, is inclusive writing worth the risk?

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