2017 nearly down the drain. Hope it was a good year for you full of things to remember. If not, there is always 2018. What it will bring is still written in the clouds. But having a look at many sources you could come up with some trends for documentation.
What will 2018 bring for the technical writing community?
Demand for writers
As I am based in the Netherlands I can only talk about our booming job market.
A few remarks:
2018 will see:
- A growing demand for tech writers who can write machine manuals
- A growing demand for API-writers
- A shrinking demand for software application writers
- Some demand for chatbot writers.
Chatbots and AI
Forget about a help desk. Chatbots will rule your customer support in a few years. So start preparing. More and more companies will create question-answer based chatbots. Check out my former blogs on chatbots:
The challenge for 2018 will be if AI will see a breakthrough. And the biggest challenge with AI for chatbots is ‘knowledge of the world’. After all, input is output with anything computer based.
- Looking for a way to implement AI in chatbots will be a big trend in 2018.
The number of languages in which API’s are written is a setback for their implementation and a nuisance for tech writers and developers who have to document all these languages.
Documenting API’s using Markdown, see Markdown: wat moet je ermee?, would be the answer. Getting Help Authoring Tools to offer this easy to learn language as output will be one of the trends as they don’want to miss out on the still growing API market. MadCapFlare offers integration ith GitHub, but sill no Markdown support. RoboHelp – nothing. Author-It – nothing. The to me unknown ElTexto offers Markdown support. Slate and Docbox are a few other options. These applications specifically target the API-market. For a full list of HATS offering Markdown support, see this website on Help Authpring Tools.
- Markdown will see an uptrend in 2018.
- More HAT’s will try in 2018 to get into the API-market offering Markdown.
Lean and mean, but what about documentation?
Agile is the new way to go forward. Do i hear someone yawning? Waiting for the next hype to keep projects in check? Documentation is not an integral part of Agile work approach. I wrote a blog on this subject: Agile en IT-documentatie.
- Documentation will find its place in Agile will be a trend for 2018.
Tone of voice
How to write procedures?
Use Simplified Technical English. Then you already use the imperative voice: ‘click’ instead of ‘clicking’.
- The imperative voice will be the trend for 2018; write ‘click’.
Onboarding screens to first-time users has become a common practice in mobile apps. The purpose of these onboarding screens — also referred to as walkthroughs — is to introduce the app and demonstrate what it does.
Given that these are often the first set of screens with which users interact, they also set the users’ expectations of the app. Therefore, it is essential that those involved in creating the product — product managers, designers, developers — take the time to evaluate whether onboarding is necessary for the app. If so, determine the best way to implement it. Involve technical writers in this process for tone of voice, proper writing, and owners of the product documentation, especially reference documentation.
- Creating on-boarding texts will be an uptrend in 2018.
What are your trends?
Feel free to comment and dd you documentation trends for 2018. What about the tech write job market in India, USA, Australia? Leaving your feedbackis much appreciated.