Noz Urbina of Mekon discusses the future of technical communication, the wider view of content strategy and his LavaCon Conference 2012 session Tomorrow Was Yesterday: Shaping the Future of Tech Comm in this Techwhirl Fast 5 Video discussion.
Noz Urbina, content strategist, consultant, and organizer of the Congility conference events in Europe, likes predicting the future of technical communication, and his love of training and user experience shines through as he discusses the future, technology, our interactions, and the evolving role of technical communication. In the video chat he produced for TechWhirl, he notes “I’ve always basically been about facilitating people’s experience in content in one way or another.”
“I look at how people, in enterprise and generally, look at themselves vis-à-vis technology and how we think of ourselves in time. Basically, we really struggle to think more than a few years ahead, and my thesis is basically that in today’s market a few years can change everything.” When he asks people how long the iPad has been around, they tend to be surprised to find out it launched less than three years ago. It was not the first tablet, but it was the first to hit “the sweet spot” where technology, experience, design and utility come together. Noz sees that this science-fiction-becomes-reality-construct plays out over and over, and that has massive implications for content development and distribution, how consumers orient themselves with content and technology, and the future of technical communication.
As part of the predictions Noz makes, he believes that those who call themselves Technical Writers now will have roles to play in 20 years, but the role will fragment and specialize across a number of disciplines. He says, “I don’t think there will be a mass of unemployed tech writers, I think that there will be a smaller number of tech writers and a lot of people who used to be tech writers being employed in new and different ways.” The shift has already begun in his view, as more professionals call themselves technical communicators, and get involved in user experience, information architecture, video production and more. He calls this shift “silo-busting” and notes that as a consultant for Mekon and chair of Congility, “we’re focused on what makes good modern content solutions, and that isn’t and shouldn’t be restricted to the techcomm silo.”
The Fast 5 Questions answered by Noz Urbina:
- Please tell us a little bit about yourself including your background in technical communications.
- How did you get into the field, and what would you be doing if you weren’t a content strategist?
- You’re also the Events Chair and Content Director for Congility (formerly X-Pubs). Can you tell us a little bit about this organization and your role in it—why does it exist, and what kind of events are in the works?
- Please tell us a little bit about your presentation at LavaCon Conference: Tomorrow Was Yesterday: Shaping the Future of Tech Comm—Why should we attend your presentation or desperately seek out your notes afterward?
- Do you think the role Technical Writer will exist in 20 years in an organization? Why or why not?