How does Digitization Influence the Work of Technical Communicators?

by Gernot Baumann on March 12, 2019

Digitalization changes products, production processes, and the behavior of users. This results in new demands on the work of technical communicators.

Products

Modern consumer products are smart and interlinked and they come with communication and software equipment that makes them digital.

Smart products. © Maksym Yemelyanov | Fotolia.com

Not only do smart home systems communicate with each other. They also communicate with the user. Smart products require smart documentation in the form of intelligent information. The traditional manual is replaced by digital usage information.

Production process and business model

Digitization makes all production stages more agile and flexible. Innovation and production cycles are becoming shorter and new products and services are emerging, such as platforms like Airbnb or DriveNow.

If technical communicators want to keep up with digitized processes, they cannot keep working the way they are used to. Rigid document-based update and approval processes are history. Technical communicators must get used to faster change processes, continuous updating, and to delivering digital usage information.

User behavior

Whether software, apps or books – everything should be readable and operable on small screens. Users demand small pieces of information that they can easily process and, in case of doubt, access on the Internet. Technical documentation becomes digital usage information that users can read and search for on mobile devices, machines, or computers.

Bottom line

Technical communicators have to adapt to the changes that are caused by digitization. They need new skills and approaches to integrate their work into digital business processes and business models and to meet the changed requirements that modern products have on documentation. Read more about this topic in the knowledge article by Ulrike Parson The Challenges of Digitization in Technical Communication.

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