Anaïs BELLOCHE, Ricarnie STERLIN
Paris Diderot University, July 2019
Technical writing is a quite recent profession. According to the Society for Technical Communication (STC), it emerged in the US during World War II. It took time before the boundaries of the profession were defined. First companies had to face the fact that they needed technicals writers to do the job that was once done by Subject Matter Expert. The profession has evolved and the documentations rules and aspects have changed. Images became an integral part of technical documentations, making them more accessible and easier to understand. The question raised in the present article is whether it is the technical writers’ task to create and manage images or if the task has to be endorsed by a specialist in illustration. Opinions differ. It seems that there is a gap between those who have been exercising the profession for decades and those who are new in the field.
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Image creation and management: a task for technical writers? (PDF)
Dana – Maria Robu, Elise Roscillo
Both companies, SFR (Second French Telecom Operator) and SNCF (French National Railway Company), create documentation for internal users (Business Customer Services for SFR, SNCF agents). There are various types of documentation, such as procedures, handling notes, pedagogical sheets at SFR, and guidelines and procedures for corporate use at SNCF. All this documentation is created using templates, but not structured content.
Our work consists in proofreading, correcting the documentation, and publishing it on an internal online repository. Through analyzing the content stored on this repository, we noticed that users who write it are not technical writers. They do not master writing tools or they do not follow any rules set out in the guideline standards. This leads to a lack of coherence and efficiency in writing, difficulty in finding quickly the useful information and in overall a lack of consistency.
In the first part, we will focus on how to improve the existing documentation base through the creation of aid directories, such as user guides, beginner’s guide, webhelp, etc., to ensure the adoption of proposed tools and guidelines, and to get editorial feedback on these practices.
In the second part, as content designers, we will identify directions to enhance the role and importance of the technical writer in both companies. In order to highlight his added value and expertise, we will give highlight to streamline and simplify the writing process.
Read the full article (PDF): Improving Documentation Tools and Processes for Internal Users