Here at Armada, we hold strong ties to the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC). The ISTC is the professional body for technical communicators in the UK and has a growing number of members who are involved in technical authoring, content strategy and the wider technical communication industry.
The ISTC holds an annual conference for UK-based technical communicators to gather and share information, advice and skills with fellow industry professionals. This year, the event was held in Scotland for the first time. This year’s conference focussed on “breaking the boundaries of technical communication”. There was a hive of activity on social media by the technical authoring world, and so I’ve picked a select few tweets that really resonated how our industry is constantly adapting and evolving.
The importance of content
Our content is a business asset. IBM wants content to be central, they want their people to think, to drive #tcuk15
— John Kearney (@JK1440) October 1, 2015
The attitude towards content and documentation from large companies such as IBM really underlines how important the work of technical communicators can be. Delivering high quality, easy-to-follow and digestible content helps to shape employee knowledge, and so it is vital that content creators have the right support around them to do their job effectively.
— John Kearney (@JK1440) October 1, 2015
Andrea Ames is spot-on with this – content strategists play a synonymous role to product managers. Content strategists are involved in all aspects of content development, from planning and distributing to execution. Content strategists perform multiple roles and often bridge gaps between departments in order to drive the output of easy-to-access information.
— Helen Mullally (@helenmullally) October 1, 2015
The rapid rate of innovation in the technology industry has opened up a wider range of screen sizes and resolutions for all our devices. Making our content display as intended is becoming more of a challenge as users move towards larger and more detailed screens.
Blurring the boundaries of technical communication
— Magda Caloian (@thinkDITA) September 30, 2015
It’s never a bad idea to get to know the industry better. By attending events, writing blog posts, joining groups on social media, sending tweets etc. you can find out new concepts, learn from others’ experiences and better predict the future of technical communication.
Other tweets that caught my attention
— Karen Mardahl (@kmdk) October 1, 2015
The role of the index is slowly diminishing with the rising popularity of search functions in online help. However, search functions don’t always work as planned! For example, some wiki platforms such as Confluence don’t always index new content. Therefore, it may be a good idea to focus on labels and tags to help others find relevant content in your help system.
— Katherine Judge (@ISTC_Journal) October 1, 2015
Technical documentation is there not only to support your employees but to supplement your business goals. Having an easy-to-use, modern help system can be a great foundation for ensuring professional development, setting company-wide standards and amplifying your company’s aims and objectives.
Huawei Tech writers visit customers as standard #tcuk15
— Neil Matheson (@neilmatheson) October 1, 2015
This is a super important point – all technical writers should understand their customers’ concerns and needs, and there’s no better way to do so than to visit them in person. In this case, the technical writers at Huawei (the electronics giant) visited their customers to build relationships with their customers and push their Dynamic Content Publishing (DCP) system.
We’ve really enjoyed following and reading about people’s experiences during TCUK, and whilst we weren’t able to be there this year, it’s always a good idea to network with other professionals in your field. It’s not always about what you know, but who you know too.
Thanks to all who provided tweets and updates during TCUK. You can read more tweets using the hashtag #TCUK15 for more insights and commentary from those who attended TCUK this year.