We’ve done a little crystal-ball gazing and tea-leaf reading already, trying to figure out what kinds of things are likely to impact technical communication professionals in 2013 (and beyond), and included our prognostications in articles and technical communication polls. Keeping an eye on trends and looking for ways to exploit them is one of those characteristics that can extend your influence beyond the tech pubs team, so the gang at TechWhirl works hard to see around the corners and let you know what’s coming.
Of course technology has a huge impact on everything, even if it’s a professional or societal trend. Major (and lesser known) technical communication vendors plan on updates and enhancements to make the job easier, the content better, and the delivery more seamless. Methodologies evolve along with the tools, and eventually they percolate throughout the organization. This leads us to the weekly technical communication poll question, about the technologies you’re hoping to see that would make your professional life easier, better, or more successful. But you don’t need to limit yourself to strictly technical communication tools and technology. After all, many of us find ourselves “stuck” with the tools somebody else chose for the whole organization, and beating them into submission often makes up a large part of a technical communicator’s work week. Maybe your life would be easier with automatic application of style sheets in Microsoft Word. Or a screen capture tool that automatically masks sensitive data would save some time. And if you can’t have a component content management system with all the bells and whistles, at least have SharePoint, WordPress or Drupal manage content more like a CMS, and less like completing a tax return (with all its mystery and attendant frustration).
We even give you an opportunity to go a bit farther… is there some future technology you’d like to have that would help you manage your work today? Have a little fun, feel free to post a comment or jump over to the email discussion list and start a new thread. And even if you can’t actualize these technological advances, it’s always nice to dream–that’s where innovation starts.