Technical writing has always been considered a very strict industry, with rules and canons established firmly. Yet, it changes with time and absorbs new trends. Documenting various products becomes more of a marketing thing. So technical documentation tools and writing approaches evolve to keep up with the time.
Working remotely with clients rather than employers has been a thing long before COVID-19. But as it influenced the industry in 2020, freelancing became even more popular. A freelancer chooses the place, the schedule, the tempo – everything except for deadlines and content requirements. Freelancers are result-oriented, so they may sometimes do the job more efficiently than employed teams.
Writing Goes Cloud
Cloud platforms have slowly taken over the documentation world. You may still use your good old Microsoft Word, but with Microsoft 365, it’s a cloud-based solution too. Even more so is Google Docs and its analogs. But they all fade next to specialized portals for developing documentation. Cloud editors, management tools, access distribution, scheduling, built-in messengers, storage, and publication tools are just a part of what they offer. Online platforms also feature their own or third-party AI-powered tools that (for example) check spelling and style or make sure the text is correctly formatted.
Not only do creators go online: so do customers. Web documentation portals (unlike local copies) are updated constantly. The information you get there is always relevant and fresh. So, offline writing and reading become obsolete.
Interactive Content Does It Better
The best manuals do more than just show you the text. They prompt you to commit some actions to prove you have understood the principles, and only then can you proceed to the next stage. This approach may seem too hard, but it often works. So why not introduce more interactive content than already-too-familiar links?
New Technologies Emerge
AR and VR seemed more of entertainment on mobile devices. But they can be used in documentation as well. If you document a physical object (a sophisticated device or a large territory), a VR-based introduction may be the better type of figure. As for AR, it can be a part of the product itself or a part of its representation (from clothes shops to tattoo parlors), which can either require documenting or be a part of it.
Technical Writing Sells
No matter how intellectual your product is, it’s the human who uses it in the end. Being comprehensible becomes a selling point. If it’s easier to use than your rivals, it results in fewer hours spent on learning and thus more profits for users. Of course, wavering marketing into technical writing is too fine an art to become commonplace, but why not? On the other hand, you can just do your job well and let the marketers do the rest.
These are the most prominent trends in technical writing in 2021. The world changes, and any industry (even such a specialized one) reflects it. Hope you find it useful.
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