ANDRIAMANANTSOA Ornella, BENZAAMA Loubna, LEONARD Lucie, RESPLENDINO Emmanuelle
Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, July 2018
Digitalization and technological innovations are exerting considerable impact today on technical documentation. In addition, we are seeing more and more collaboration between technical writers and software developers, which naturally is leading to a synchronous code and documentation production evolution.
The research offered herein is based on literature, key articles, survey reports, interviews with documentation and product managers from medium to large French software companies, and analysis of various documentation production process. The results highlight the importance given to documentation and its scope towards users.
To meet the needs of the industry, historical formats such as wikis and PDFs are changing to web-based and embedded formats, which are more accessible, visual, and user-centric. This change not only affects outputs, but also production processes through the merging the product code and documentation delivery. Nonetheless, such innovation is costly and bears limits. Are such technological exploits as smart assistants and virtual reality going to perform well enough to meet users’ demands and needs in terms of documentation?
Erika CABOUL, Nicolas CHLEFFER, Caroline VAISSIERE
Paris Diderot University, July 2016
Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) have emerged in the higher educational field with the development of web 2.0 applications and tools. Their main features allow them to be particularly user-centric. They also rely on customization and collaborative learning. As they cater to the learner needs – lifelong and ubiquitous access, PLEs stand at the border of formal and informal education spheres. They nevertheless raise technological and privacy issues that make them somewhat difficult to implement in the workplace. Moreover, business factors and corporate stakes are to be considered when trying to foster community-learning activities within a standardized and controlled environment such as that of the existing Learning Management System (LMS). However, some experiments have been conducted at companies level, leading to promising results for the future.
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.
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.
The arrival of Web 2.0 has changed the ways of working, especially for writers. A wide range of tools now exists, enabling different people to participate in the writing of one single document and introducing new methods of work within teams. These new work methods rely on tools that are constantly evolving. While some companies remain skeptical, others are already embracing these new practices. Either way, our position of apprentice makes us ideal observers concerning the choices made by our companies and the difficulties that the adoption of these new work methods raises. Such a change can be a real challenge, and selecting the right options to fit one particular situation can be a difficult task. We will first present the results of our research on the current state of the art in collaborative writing and how and why companies tend to use more and more collaborative writing methods. We will then explain the situation in the two companies that we work for, Atlas Copco (industrial tooling and equipment) and CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, the French space agency), two companies which are heading in opposite directions in terms of collaborative writing. We will observe the practices, tools, processes and work dynamics involved in writing for both companies. Finally, based on what we found and observed in the first two parts, we will compare theory and reality concerning collaborative writing in companies.
In the recent years, globalization and virtualization have led companies to embrace multiculturalism and long-distance collaboration. Whether it is for greater customer proximity, reliable business continuity, or purely economic reasons, more and more firms now hire staff abroad, and thus face new challenges induced by the collaboration of dispersed teams.
This study focuses on long-distance collaboration in the field of technical writing, and aims at determining which methods are the most effective to work at a distance. To begin with, it explores the factors behind the evolution of working conditions for technical writers, leading to the development of distance teamwork in the profession. Through case studies, it then analyzes and criticizes the various processes, methodologies, communication techniques and tools implemented by four companies to support long-distance collaboration between technical writers and their peers, or technical writers and developers.
The main purpose of this article is to identify best practices that help build community and therefore increase productivity, and to suggest methods for improving distance collaboration.