Program and tickets are now available for the 9th International Conference on Technical Communication

You are invited by Patricia Minacori, Marie Girard, Clillac-Arp Research Laboratory and the EILA Department of Université de Paris on

Friday 29 January 2021, from 10.00 – 17.00 Paris Time (UTC+1)

Evolutions of the Discipline

During this videoconference (Zoom), in English only, we will explore the job market, training curricula and evolutions of the trade. Check out the programme: 9th International Conference on Technical Communication: Evolutions of the Discipline

The conference is free – register on Event Brite.

 



Why do technical writers have to justify their existence?

Louise AGERON, Tanguy CACHIN, Marina FERREOL

Paris Diderot, July 15th, 2019

Abstract

With the way new technologies are evolving nowadays, technical writers appear to play an important role. Their mission is to help users understand and use a new product or software. They create content that is easy to understand to all and adapt their discourses depending on whom they are addressing their message. We noticed that technical writers, however, still struggled to justify and explain their existence. We wondered whether the profession was widely known, and realized that it was not. We then retracted a brief overview of the profession and realized that being a technical writer had many definitions to it, and the job associated with the terms were broad and different, which reinforces the identity and existence crisis. We also wondered how technical writers were seen by their colleagues, and we found out that they were not seen as a priority by many, probably because of the influence of the old workflow system where technical writers were placed last.

Read the full article in PDF: Why do technical writers have to justify their existence?

What makes or breaks a user-centric approach from a UX and technical writing perspective?

Perrine Palfray, Isabelle De Abreu Teixeira

Université de Paris, July 2020

Abstract

The term ‘user-centric approach’ steadily gained momentum over the last two decades, to become a popular professional standard in the digitized industries.

The simplest way to define user-centric is in contrast with a product-centric approach: the focus of the technical content is shifted from the product and what it can do, to the user and what they want to do.

The end goal is to make technical content more digestible for users, making them feel that the content is tailored to their individual needs.

Upon closer investigation, it becomes clear that user-centric technical content and the definition given to this approach to content creation varies greatly due to several environmental and individual factors.

What seems to have become an industry standard, is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of practices that are sometimes difficult to pinpoint with precision and accuracy.

What does this approach actually mean to professionals? What are the facilitating and the challenging factors that come with this new way of thinking technical content creation?

Read the full article in PDF: What makes or breaks a user-centric approach from a UX and technical writing perspective?

Are technical communicators the secret asset of a healthy enterprise culture?

Alexandra ATES, Eléonore CASSAGNE, Richard DEBRABANT

Université de Paris, 2019-2020

Abstract

You spend one third of your life at work. You see your colleagues much more often than you see your friends or family, which is one of the reasons why it is important to be part of a team where you feel happy and motivated enough to carry out projects throughout your professional career. Several elements lead you to nurture —intentionally or unintentionally— these relationships within your own firm either in a positive or negative way, and greatly affect your productivity.

Technical writers are employees who communicate with customers or people in their firm. They collect as much information as possible to document projects and be aware of the modifications to be made in case of plan changes. Thus, with experience, they have learned how to behave so that professional conversations go smoothly, contacts last for a long time and they make progress in their work.

This position might suggest that they have a fairly important role in their company’s activity in addition to their daily tasks… But to what extent?

Read the full article in PDF: Are technical communicators the secret asset of a healthy enterprise culture?

What are the Stakes and Difficulties of Working with Experts?

Olympe Lebon, Althéa Geneix, Johan Lefebvre

Paris Diderot University, September 15th 2020

Abstract

A technical writer has a key role within a company. He works with people with various functions. He’s asking developers for advice and feedback to build the user guide of their product. He’s connected and dealing with every part of the team: developers, testers, managers, product experts, etc. to produce documentation that is as clear as possible for the user, and depending on the product, the user’s life can depend on his work. Most of the time, this interaction is a very rich and fulfilling experience.
But how to find the right place between the different services of a company? Communicating with developers is not always easy: they often don’t have time to spend with a technical writer. Receiving feedback from testers can be troublesome, sometimes you don’t get information unless asking clearly for it. Many uninformed people think that being a technical writer is just writing sentences and that anyone can do it. It happens sometimes that even people in their own team don’t recognize the work and the importance of the technical writer. This article explores the difficulties a technical writer can encounter when working with experts.

Read the full article in PDF: What are the Stakes and Difficulties of Working with Experts?

The influences of content structuration

ALVES MENDES Ines, BAEK Chooeun, CHALLET Leslie

Paris Diderot University, July 15, 2020

Abstract

Structuring content is the cornerstone of great documentation. Structuration ensures not only coherence across content, but also better user experience. How does structuration occur? We conducted a survey searching for internal and external factors influencing structuration. The investigation revealed that internal factors including tools, languages, standards, and guidelines are the basis of well-structured documentation. External factors, such as user- feedback, and a UX team within the company, also prove to be equally important. Structuration also improves with updates from the right people and for the right reasons. In this research article, we discuss content structuration, restructuration, and how it is heavily influenced by various factors independent from content.

Read the full article in PDF: The influences of content structuration

Why and how should the interaction between users and technical writers be improved in online documentation?

Roxanne BOPOUNGO – Deborah CHAPLICE – Bouchra DRIF

Paris Diderot University, 2019/2020

Abstract

We have been living in a digital era for more than three decades. As a result, digital documentation prevails over paper formats. Technical writers have therefore adapted to the market reality, where people use several types of screen: computers, smartphones, tablets… Each screen has its own specificity, hence the importance to adjust digital documentation to provide better readability and a better understanding. Users need to understand documents instantaneously.

With the impactful rise of all types of social networks, the way we communicate and exchange information has evolved as well. Users want and need to quickly find what they are looking for. They tend to be less patient and focused and would not want to go through the whole documentation. The information within technical documentation must be of easy access, and most importantly, users must have access to it quickly.

Technical writers are therefore facing a challenge: they must adapt to the specificities of the digital world and create methods that allow users to communicate with them and/or to give them a useful feedback.

As of today, technical writing teams use methods inspired by blogs or social networks (FAQs, “like” buttons, comments etc.), in order to receive feedback from the readers. However, this approach is not always effective or relevant.

Read the full article in PDF: Why and how should the interaction between users and technical writers be improved in online documentation?

Creativity in Technical Communication: How to combine creativity with technical communication standards ?

Isis AGBLEVON, Anissa GNABA, Mathilde THIEFFINE

Paris Diderot University, July 2020

Abstract

Is technical communication a creative job? Technical communication remains a domain that is often unknown or misunderstood. People tend to think that technical communicators only write procedures and follow guidelines. As technical communicators, we wanted to combine our experience and vision of our work to discuss the vast subject of creativity.

This matter came to us after several discussions about our respective jobs, and tasks. We realized that even though we study the same principles of technical communication, the work we do in our companies can be very different from one another. All of us are confronted to norms and standards that we need to follow, but does it really mean that we cannot be creative?

Read the full article in PDF: Creativity in Technical Communication

Blended learning, analyzing the evolution of a training format

T. Briget, C. Calogeropoulos, N. Jeanroy

Paris Diderot University, August 15th 2020

Abstract

With the emergence of online training programs, we have witnessed the emergence of online learning platforms. Some of them are video-based and sometimes offer interaction between participants and teachers. Knowledge management has become primordial for companies. Training programs are flourishing. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about reflections on training methods, with blended learning as the main focus.

Thus, in this study, we focus on how businesses implement blended learning in
their companies, based on learner and trainer feedback. Surveys and interviews offer valuable information on the state of blended learning in businesses today and highlight the different strategies businesses use when it comes to sharing their knowledge, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of different training formats.

Read the full article in PDF: Blended learning, analyzing the evolution of a training format

Call for speakers: 9th International Conference on Technical Communication

You are invited by Clillac-Arp Research Laboratory and the EILA Department of University
Paris Diderot:

Friday 29 January 2021, from 10.00 – 17.00
Visioconference (Zoom)

We are looking for speakers to come and share practices and thoughts on the following
points:

  • The place taken by technical communication within a organisation with the typically associated business: Product, support, marketing, HR…
  • The evolution of skills, methods and tools.
  • The challenge of technical communication training curricula to cover varied needs.
  • The possible career paths in technical communications.

Talks will be 20 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes for questions and answers.

The conference is free to all.

We accept papers in French and in English.

Please send a 200-word summary before 15 December 2020 to
patricia.minacori (at) eila.univ-paris-diderot.fr

Please include in your e-mail, your Name, University/Company, as well as a short
biography.

More about the conference: 9th International Conference on Technical Communication: Evolutions of the Discipline
Scientific committee: Patricia Minacori, Marie Girard

9th International Conference on Technical Communication: Evolutions of the Discipline

Evolution of the technical communication discipline

From device documentation to digital training, from UX writing to video tutorials, technical communication is a discipline that covers varied activities. It seems like a single job title will never cover every facet of the profession.
During the next 9th International Conference on technical communication, we will explore the job market, training curricula and evolutions of the trade:

  • The place taken by technical communication within a organisation with the typically associated business: Product, support, marketing, HR…
  • The evolution of skills, methods and tools.
  • The challenge of technical communication training curricula to cover varied needs.
  • The possible career paths in technical communications.

Friday 29 January 2021, from 10.00 – 17.00 Paris Time (UTC+1)

Program

10.00 – 10.10

Introduction

Patricia Minacori and Marie Girard

10.10 – 10.40

Presentation of research projects

Master’s Students In Technical Communication, Université de Paris

10.40 – 11.10

Evolution of the profession

Elisabeth Closs, Karlsruhe University,  Yvonne Cleary, Limerick University

11.10 – 11.40

DITA Molière: A community to support the growing adoption of DITA standard in France

Dominique Trouche, WhP

11.40 – 12.30

Networking breakout sessions

12.30 – 13.30

Lunch break

13.30 – 14.00

Examining the value of technical communication graduate degrees in non-academic professions

Meghalee Das, Texas Tech University, Samantha Casertano, John McClellan, Texas State University

14.00 – 14.30

Information architecture: which skills, roles, and careers?

François Violette, JobTeaser

14.30 – 15.00

Designing our way out of information pollution: how technical communicators are leading the shift toward an ecology of information.

Alexandre Dias Da Silva, Consultant

15.00 – 15.30

Networking breakout sessions

15.30 – 16.00

From tech comm to marketing: a tangled journey

Michael Priesley, IBM

16.00 – 16.30

Future tech comm trends – Differing opinions, and why everyone could be right

Ellis Pratt, Cherryleaf

16.30 – 17.00

Community Engagement in Technical Communication Pedagogy

Laura Gonzalez, University of Florida

 

8th International Conference on Technical Communication: Designing Experiences

Design d'expérience

Digital services transform our everyday experience, first through screens (websites, e-learning, online help, videos and social networks), and now through the physical world (voice assistants, augmented reality, blended learning). Technical communication has always had very strong ties with experience design. Now communication and design practices need to evolve to better support hybrid experiences across the digital and physical worlds.

Les projets de recherche en M2 Communication Technique Multilingue [PDF]

Marie Girard et les étudiants du M2 CTM

Assistants vocaux, comment puis-je vous aider? [PDF]

Maaike Coppens, Head UX design, M Creation, Paris

La réalité virtuelle au service de l’apprentissage [PDF]

Pierre Marole, Responsable partenariats, Digital and Human, Paris

Métadonnées : au service des expériences utilisateurs [PDF]

François Violette, Information Architect, ReachFive

Design responsable : concevoir pour l’avenir [PDF]

Aurélie Baton, UX Designer, IBM France

Que se passe-t-il lorsque vous mettez 50 rédacteurs techniques au sein d’une équipe de Design [PDF]

Sarah Baillot, SAP France

Quand les mots influencent le design et les interfaces [PDF]

Amandine Agic, Content Strategist, ACCOR

Camille Promérat, UX Writer, Freelance

Building UX As A Strategy for Growth [PDF]


Greta Goetz,PhD, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade

 

The added value of videos in technical writing

Claudia ANTHONYPILLAI, Laura BARIBAUD, Louise CLAUSTRAT

Paris Diderot University, July 15, 2019

Abstract

Videos play an important role in our lives, as well as in the daily lives of technical writers. Technical documentation has evolved throughout time and beyond written text, with multiple tools to choose from. This makes us wonder, to what extent is the introduction of videos in technical writing necessary?

Our research article seeks to answer this question, presenting the results of different tests and questionnaires. We will be able to determine how a user reacts to different sources of information, as well as how user experience affects the way a technical writer produces documentation.

Users have different learning styles, one can be verbal and the other visual, and a technical writer should keep that in mind when producing documents. Since everyone is different, having a video as a source helps and includes more people. However videos can be restricting depending on the situations.

Just like user needs, technical writing evolves, and so does technology. With the introduction of various forms of videos and the ability to integrate them in multiple platforms, a technical document can become more than just a traditional user guide. GIFs, chatbots and AI-powered applications are bringing new life to technical writing. Nevertheless, is video still really worth it?

Read the full article

The added value of videos in technical writing (PDF)

What are the challenges of implementing accessibility standards for technical writers?

Selly BAL – Adel Yann BENZENATI – Heritiana RATSIMBAZAFY

Paris Diderot University, 2018/2019

Abstract

Living with a disability in our society doesn’t necessarily mean needing constant care. However, it means having to adapt everyday: because the world we live in has not adapted to disabilities yet. This is a comment we can apply to technical communication, an activity in which the purpose is to make information accessible to an audience, but where accessibility guidelines are still rare to be found. We attempted with this paper to inquire about the current situation of accessibility to people with disabilities, focusing on visual and hearing impairment. We conducted a survey on technical communication professionals with different experiences and contacted various technical writers with the objective of presenting the norms that already exist in terms of accessibility and showing what’s still missing – with that, we tried to present an analysis of the reasons for the scarcity of norms in technical writing.

Read the full article

What are the challenges of implementing accessibility standards for technical writers? (PDF)

Determining whether DITA is good for you

C. Canart, M. Garnier, H. Morceau

Paris Diderot University, August 30th 2019

Abstract

Since it was released to the public in 2005, DITA has been adopted by an increasing   number of firms, and it has become one of the most popular standards for technical    documentation. The DITA standard was designed with the intent to meet the needs of   any firm and is sometimes thought of as a universal solution, but is this truly the case?   When considering a DITA implementation, one should make sure that DITA is really suited   to their particular situation and needs, and that it can be implemented successfully within   the company. In this paper, we tried to understand how one can determine whether DITA   is the right solution for their company before taking the leap and undertaking a content   migration. For the purpose of this paper, we gathered data through a survey aimed at both   DITA and non-DITA users, a review of existing resources, and several interviews of DITA   experts and representatives of technical writing solution firms. Whether DITA is right for a   company doesn’t seem to be wholly dependant on the size of the company, as one might   think at first, but has more to do with the technical know-how of the personnel and the   budget allocated to the documentation team.

Read the full article

Determining whether DITA is good for you (PDF)