Heads of technical documentation in mechanical and plant engineering and their teams have the claim to provide their customers with comprehensive and comprehensible information on the use, maintenance and repair of their products. But various developments are making this task increasingly difficult.
- Complexity of information: As digitization progresses, machines and plants are also becoming more complex. At the same time, the guidelines for products and product-related information are becoming increasingly stringent. The need for explanation to the user is great. For technical documentation, this increases the effort required to convert complex information into comprehensible and precise communication.
- Growing user demands: Operators of machines and systems want to solve problems and not read thick manuals. Manufacturers' customers expect information to be available to them in various formats and to find answers to their questions without detours. Instead of pure knowledge transfer, flexible knowledge management is required from editorial teams.
- Increasing internationalization: More and more manufacturers serve customers in different locations around the world. In this global market environment, it is often necessary to translate technical documentation into several languages and adapt it to different markets. This requires translations and localizations.
- Increasing time and cost pressure: Creating and updating technical documentation takes time, especially if it is done manually. But due to a shortage of skilled workers and increasing cost pressure, technical writers often have only limited resources and little time available for this.
- Complex catalog creation: A bottleneck in the technical documentation process is often the creation of spare parts catalogs. Data must be consolidated from various sources, which costs time and nerves. If catalogs then also have to be created for different media and languages, and release is delayed due to cumbersome processes, there is a risk of lost sales for the manufacturer and dissatisfaction among customers.
To meet these challenges, technical editors not only have to adapt their working methods, but also develop new skills. Because according to the Society for Technical Communication - tekom Deutschland e.V., it is not only the channels and formats in which content is provided that are changing, but also the way in which it is created.
Technical writing teams need to build knowledge in the following areas, among others:
- Content strategy
- UX writing
- Use of voice bots or virtual reality
- Information architecture
- Use of metadata
- Project management
- Agile project methods
- Data management
- Data protection basics
- Digital content delivery