Jordan Bernardi, Thomas Jarillon, François D’araujo
Paris Diderot University – 07/18/2021
Technical communication follows the perpetual advances in technological trends. It leverages every tool at its disposal to efficiently develop and propose the most relevant technical content to reach its critical target audience. Videos constitute a highly effective medium for capturing and conveying a wide array of information to achieve this goal. The immediacy brought by videos as well as the comprehensive sensory experience they propose are tributes to their demonstrative strength. But if videos constitute such a powerful tool, why are they not used everywhere in technical communication? This research article examines the pertinence of videos in technical communication by exposing their potential limitations according to several criteria: People in charge, univocal set of best practices, narrative aspect, and comparison with written documentation. Reviewing generic existing literature on the subject of videos constituted the first step of this study. A survey and a heuristic evaluation were then conducted to analyze and assess the position of videos in the technical communication landscape while exploring the different limitations to video implementation in this specific framework. The results gathered through the heuristic evaluation and the survey effectively completed the bibliography by providing more recent data on this rapidly evolving medium. These served in identifying some of the current practices and limitations that we can observe in today’s technical communication environment. Although videos are recognized as a real added value to software documentation, they have limitations that all have a common denominator: Lack of time. While one of the biggest challenges of technical writing is to best reflect the products being described, written documentation still seems to be the only one to predominate due to its unmatched ability to be quickly updated.
LABATTE Johanna, L. M., MOREIRA Aurélien, USLUCAN Sena
University of Paris, 15/07/2021
Accessibility addresses solutions offered for disabled people to have the same use of an object as an able person. Most people associate accessibility with physical objects that physically disabled people cannot use. However, accessibility actually accommodates a much larger group of users and is relevant for any product, including the web. Anyone at any point in their lives can become disabled, even temporarily. Furthermore, accessibility improves usability. Accessibility aims to make web content usable by as many people as possible.
Over the past decades, accessibility has become a matter of law in many different countries such as the United States, France, China, India, or Germany for example. Accessibility has also become a way for companies to improve their brand image while it allows people with disabilities to access web content. In the end, everybody wins.
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?
“The simpler the better”,you have probablyheard this sentence many times. It isparticularly true in technical writing. It has been proventhat having more than seven chunksof informationor using useless information in a technical document can affect users’working memory as well as an unstructureddocument. However, there is little research on thenature of thelink between working memory and technical writing. Ourarticle examinesthe correlation between cognitive psychology and technical writing and more especially the importance of optimizing the user’s working memory when writing technical documents.To understand the impact of an alteredprocedure on the realization of a task,we conducted an experimentwhich consisted of a comparison between two drawing procedures: one which aimedat optimizingworking memory and the other which aimedat alteringit. Participants sharedtheir drawings and toldus the difficulties theyfaced for eachof the procedures. Ourresearch and theanalysis of theconducted experiment allowed us to draw the conclusionthattechnical writersshould always considertheir user’s working memory to ensure that the instructions areeasy to follow for every age and capacity range. The structure and content of documentations can help users to group information together and thus help improve their working memory while reading instructions.