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Role of technical writers are changing in a collaborative-media world

The Substrate project is based on the premise that collaborative media challenge the practices of technical information. But how do professionals view this challenge? Technical writer Björn Lindh devoted his graduation project in the interaction design master’s program, Malmö University, to this question.

Text: Jonas Löwgren

Lindh performed in-depth studies through interviews with professional technical writers and frequent contributors to online support fora, as well as a content analysis on an online support forum. Briefly, he found that the recent and predicted development towards collaborative production of technical information would pose challenges primarily in the areas of trust, transparency, motivation and information overload. Technical writers would be required to adopt new roles to deal with these challenges, including the roles of community manager, content curator and content strategist. The findings are summarized into four scenarios, laying out four possible futures for the field of technical information: The outcasts, The inside matters, Sharing is caring, and The third player.

The full MA thesis can be downloaded from Malmö University Electronic Press.

Read more about the Substrate project.

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Featured image credit Flickr user NguyenDai CC:BY-NC-SA