Users' Advocate

Users’ Advocate: Where Have All the Users Gone?

As I begin my stewardship of the Users' Advocate column, I think it is important to begin by asking, where have all the users gone? Thirty years ago, tech comm had a more or less captive audience. If users wanted information on your product, they looked at the manual. They didn't have much choice. Today, when the user has a question or encounters a problem with your product, the first thing they do is to Google it. Continue reading ...

top 12 technical communication articles 7

The Paradox of Tech Comm

In a tech world obsessed with user experience, the role of technical communication seems paradoxical. Documentation is user-facing and users are dissatisfied. On the other hand, quality of documentation appears to have no impact on buying decisions. Why is there no evolutionary pressure in favor of great documentation? Continue reading ...

top 12 technical communication article 1

It’s Time for a New Doctrine of Technical Communications

There is little doubt that technical communications is in crisis.Tech Comm 2.0 is what we have now, the result of a profound change in technical communications doctrine that occurred in the 80s and 90s. What we need now is a new doctrine of technical communications, a Tech Comm 3.0. The old tech comm doctrine is publication-based, but most technical communication taking place today is conversation-based. Not only does this affect the way tech comm should think about mechanical purity, it should also change the way it thinks about project scope. Continue reading ...