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- By Michele Marques, Associate Manager - Information Design and Development

 

It's easy to get stuck in a rut, and not even notice that you're stuck. In his post on The Design Implications of Tool Choices, Mark Baker writes, "When we move to a new tool, therefore, we often expect to keep the same information design and the same presentation and formatting style as we had with the old tool." For example, technical communicators used to working on books might try to replicate the experience online with a table of contents, index, and topics arranged in a narrative flow. 

 

When I try to think about new directions in technical communication, often I find myself thinking about current challenges. It's easy to think about incremental changes.

 

How do you break free of old paradigms?

Sometimes, I look to areas outside technical communication for inspiration. For example, I once looked at how facebook could influence technical communication. Other times, I look at trends that are just starting to his technical communications, such as gamification. (Here's an interesting video of a presentation about gamification and technical communication.)

 

What about science fiction?

Recently, I've been wondering if that problem is that I'm only considering what I know can be done. Maybe I should take a science fiction approach and think about what technical communication could be like in 20 or 100 years. I don't remember seeing anyone in Star Trek looking anything up in a manual, but they certainly asked the computer for help.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.