Laure-Amélie Le Stang, Camille Riche, Alizée Rodriguez
This research article aims at studying how to create different levels of usage using structured documentation, once user profiles have been defined. From the review of different articles written by technical writing experts, to the analysis of various use cases, we will examine several solutions to document functionalities or products for a complex and diversified audience. In the first part of our paper, we will analyze existing techniques experienced in our companies, such as single sourcing and filtering metadata. In the second part, we will focus on a specific use case, and present the challenge of a company which is trying to optimize costs, improve the quality of its documentation, and at the same time, address different user expectations. In conclusion, we will see there is not one perfect solution, but some useful techniques, each adapted to a particular issue technical writers must identify before selecting the right one to fix it.
This article aims at demonstrating how new media offer different ways of learning that fully involve learners. Controversy mapping, 3D animations and gaming make learners able to better express themselves and to progress at their own pace. This new learning process involves a certain adaptability to change from learners and educators. Due to a major shift in communication, learners are willing and able to learn by themselves. We will expose the huge contrast between the traditional ways of learning and the new ways that new media bring. These new learning media help better manage information overload, improve position stand in public space, and add interactivity. Thanks to them, deep transformations are led: learners become self-learners and benefit from customized teaching enabled by bottom-up education – and therefore become more and more active in their cognitive experience.
This article demonstrates how technical writing will need to evolve to better suit the Y Generation (the “Millennials”). A brief definition of the millennial generation will be outlined, followed by a comparison of past, present, and future means of sharing information. The ultimate goal of the article is twofold. First, to present the emergence of new communication tools and digital media such as QR codes or e-learning publications, and how using the Internet is an effective means of enabling and developing collaborative communication. Second, to demonstrate how this media could be used to improve technical documentations’ user accessibility, mobility and interactivity. To conclude, we will highlight the pros and cons of these new media resources.
This paper focuses on the relationship between subject matter experts and technical writers, in the context of two software companies and an optical systems manufacturer. More specifically, this paper intends to highlight the added value of an efficient collaboration for the technical writer, the SME, and beyond, for the companies they work for as well as for the end-user of the documentation. First, we will analyze the respective education, skills, competences and work goals of SMEs and technical writers. Secondly, we will show how technical writers and SMEs work together on a daily basis and can become partners to create high quality documentation by mutualizing SMEs’ technical knowledge and technical writers’ content design skills. Finally, we will identify the benefits of a win-win relationship between SMEs and technical writers for the end-user of the documentation.
In technical documentation, content must be clear and consistent and visual layout as a whole must be uniform. Ensuring these principles makes it easier for the user to understand documentation and reinforces branding. This seems simple however achieving consistency requires a great deal of organization and effort from technical writers. The aim of this article is to present and defend various solutions for achieving consistency and improving user experience, through observations made in three different professional contexts: two computer software companies and one software and hardware company. In the first part, we will define some of the key elements that impact consistency: grammar rules, methods to address users and acute text architecture and present concrete tools and methods to improve consistency and their constraints. In the second part, we will present the most important aspect to take into account in order to find the best balance across methodologies to achieve consistency in technical documentation.
Fanny Bellaïche, Juliette Massardier and Marielle Morizot
Traditionally, technical communication leverages both technical writing and translation expertise. As both professions share some common skills and objectives, the activities of technical writers and translators are sometimes mixed up. However, they remain two clearly separated occupations and thus complement each other. Based on our working and academic experience as technical writers and translators, we are particularly aware of the importance of a balanced collaboration to align the documentation process with the requirements of today’s industry practice. Current research on the relationship between technical writers and translators mainly focuses on the study of their competences . This paper intends to go beyond the mere analysis of competences and to explore some best practices in order to bridge the gap between both professions: more specifically, to which extent can we consider the translator as a useful resource to improve the writing process? Firstly, we examine why technical writers and translators often collaborate to deliver efficient documentation in their respective fields of expertise. Secondly, we try to understand how technical writers and translators develop shared tools, such as style guides, in order to take advantage of each other’s work. Finally, we show that enhancing this relationship is not the only way to deliver professional documentation.