Technologies of interest in technical documentation: results of two surveys

We recently reported on the UA Europe survey about tools and technologies of interest in technical documentation. Now the tekom, the German professional association for technical documentation, published the key figures for the German technical communication industry for 2015.

In the UA Europe survey,* more than 20 % of the participants named DITA as their technology of interest, followed by HTML5 and Responsive Design. Click to read our blog article about the UA Europe survey.

UAEurope Technology2015Technology of interest 2015. © UA Europe

The tekom figures** also show that formal structures are widely used in technical documentation. Only 30-35 % of the interviewed companies do not use them. Formal structures in this context mean both XML structure definitions and non-technical standardization structures, such as Funktionsdesign® or Information Mapping®.

Contrary to the UA survey, only 9.4 % of the interviewed software companies and 4.1 % of the industrial companies use DITA.

Funktionsdesign® turns out to be the most popular structuring standard of the industrial companies, followed by custom XML structure definitions.

tekomBranchenzahlen StrukturierungsstandardsUse of structuring standards in technical documentation. Source: Branchenkennzahlen für die Technische Kommunikation 2015. © tekom 2015 – Dr. Daniela Straub

The following matrix shows that DITA is not a leading standard in the German-speaking countries. If it is used, it is preferred by software companies.

tekomBranchenzahlen DITARelevanzHow important is DITA in technical documentation? Source: Branchenkennzahlen für die Technische Kommunikation 2015. © tekom 2015 – Dr. Daniela Straub

Unfortunately, the tekom survey did not include the tools used in technical documentation. It would have been interesting to compare the figures. UA Europe showed MadCap Flare with 32 % as the leading tool.

What about you? Do you use a structuring standard like Information Mapping® or Funktionsdesign® and/or XML-based documentation? And if XML, which standard do you use?


* UA Europe
** Branchenkennzahlen für die Technische Kommunikation 2015. © tekom 2015 – Dr. Daniela Straub



# Klaus Fenchel 2015-09-17 12:49
Interesting and well-balanced summary. Without ideological or emotional bias. Interesting fact about MadCap Flare. I did wonder lately where they stood relative to e.g. AuthorIT.
I think the German market is special due to the industries here. It was also one of the first markets do broadly adopt SGML/XML-based systems. That explains the large number of indiviual or vendor-specific DTDs.
It is interesting to see how far DITA will be going - and I do see a considerable potential in the SW market. However, I believe in order to make substantial inroads into the market of machine-building, a machinery/factory DITA specialization or domain which is accepted and supported by most vendors in this market would be a necessary prerequisite.
The benefit of this (or another accepted standard for this type of industry) would be considerable - for the end users/customers.

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