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Applying Web 2.0 to Technical Documentation

Introduction

This text relies on my presentation on the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators' annual convention, in October 2006, on new tendencies in technical authoring. It covers the applying of Net 2.zero applied sciences to technical documentation.

The three waves of interestingness

Now and again, there are occasions the place there’s a change within the worth of what a technical writer deliveries. These are moments when organizations take note of technical documentation. It’s because they acknowledge these modifications imply that they’ll create one thing that will likely be of actual worth to the enterprise and to their clients.

In recent times, there have been three "waves of interestingness". The primary wave was the introduction of Home windows Assist (WinHelp). The second main wave was the introduction of the Web and intranets. This was a time when organizations checked out how they might take giant quantities of data and put them on-line. They had been confronted with points resembling how customers may entry and perceive all this info simply – points which technical communicators take care of on a day-to-day foundation.

I imagine we're nearly to strategy the brand new wave, which now we have referred to as "Tech Writing 2.zero".

What can we imply by Tech Writing 2.zero?

Tech Writing 2.zero is software of Net 2.zero companies and applied sciences to technical communication. Net 2.zero offers us the chance to considerably change the standard of what the customers obtain.

This new wave isn’t concerning the introduction of DITA or the introduction of the brand new Assist format in Home windows Vista. These two applied sciences will primarily have an effect on what occurs behind the scenes. What the consumer receives is illegally to vary considerably from what they acquired right now.

What can we imply by Net 2.zero?

Wikipedia defines Net 2.zero as:

"A second era of companies obtainable on the World Huge Net that lets folks collaborate and share info on-line. In distinction to the primary era, Net 2.zero offers customers an expertise nearer to desktop purposes than the normal static Net pages."

Net 2.zero. (2006, July 13). In Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Web_2.zero&oldid=63603254 (1997), The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:14, July 14, 2006.

Inside Wikipedia's definition, there are two themes:

  • Devolving content material creation to the customers (ie the collaboration on content material creation and sharing of data)
  • Offering a "wealthy consumer expertise" (ie making net purposes really feel extra like desktop purposes)
  • One other approach of answering that query is to have a look at websites that folks have referred to as Net 2.zero websites. These embrace websites resembling Lulu.com, Blogger.com, Flickr.com, Newsgator.com and Technorati.com. Inside these we will see three frequent parts:

  • Collaboration on content material creation
  • Dialog (knowledge of the crowds)
  • Aggregation of data
  • How can we apply Net 2.zero to technical communication?

    Let's take into consideration Net 2.zero may imply to technical writers. Not every part that comes underneath the banner of Net 2.zero impacts on the documentation world. A number of the methods and applied sciences, nonetheless, can be utilized by technical authors to enhance their documentation and the expertise of these utilizing it. It may help you:

  • Acquire a larger understanding of the problems customers face. You may contain your clients in growth, collect intelligence and maintain a relentless dialogue. You may promote conversations amongst members that construct trusted relationships, self-help and help groups, our bodies of data, particular curiosity teams to call only a few.
  • Present higher help. "The knowledge of the group" can emerge – the group members create new concepts and supply sensible options for different members.
  • Promote ​​"worth added" help info for a charge.
  • Acquire larger buyer loyalty and belief.
  • Instance – Collaboration

    As we speak, it may be very troublesome to include content material from third events. In most conditions, writers should resort to "reduce and paste", taking content material from one doc and pasting it into the grasp doc. Writers discover themselves spending contemplating time modifying the formatting and construction in order that it conforms to the remainder of the doc. They not often have the facility to dictate the construction and formatting to others. Collaborative publishing means tasks the place paperwork are created by many alternative folks working collectively (collaboratively) somewhat than individually.

    Net 2.zero provides a wide range of methods to write down collaboratively.

    These may:

  • be used because the precept authoring setting for paperwork.
  • be built-in right into a unified documentation set.
  • sit alongside the "official" documentation
  • .

    The hazard to technical communicators

    Nonetheless, it might be just like the early days of the Web. Firms could determine to implement Net 2.zero, and never contain technical communicators within the course of. New job titles and roles inside companies could seem to explain those who do one of these work. Certainly, the delivered service is probably not seen as on-line Assist and even consumer documentation.

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