Chatbots and technical communication: a blooming future?

Salomé FOEHN, Sulaxana RAMACHCHANDRAN, William MOHAMMED

Paris Diderot University, July 2018

Abstract

Machine-learning is gaining momentum as an artificial intelligence (AI) technology. There has been a recent upsurge in text-based conversational interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, IBM’s Watson and SAP’s Recast.AI. This type of computer programme is called a chatbot, which is the focus of this study. In this paper, the non-customer-oriented applications of chatbots and the evolution of professional practices of technical writers were investigated. The main research question is “will chatbots impact the technical communication industry in the middle term, and in what ways?”. We mainly used a SNCF case and a comprehensive comparison of job offers to illustrate our claim. As the authors expected, chatbots will not replace technical writers but will, instead, oversee the birth of a broad range of thought-after, more specialized jobs at the interface between computer science and technical communication.

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How shifting to a more modern documentation process helps meet user needs

ANDRIAMANANTSOA Ornella, BENZAAMA Loubna, LEONARD Lucie, RESPLENDINO Emmanuelle

Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, July 2018

Abstract

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?

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