Design challenges for technical communicators
2016 (English)In: SIGDOC 2016 - 34th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication, 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
Based on participant observation conducted for a total of 85 hours spread across two months, this paper investigates the different types of information maintenance technicians seek, and discusses which of those types are relevant and challenging for a technical communicator to design. In order to design useful technical information, the technical communicator must not only understand the information needs of a user, but also understand the various aspects of the user context. This paper highlights a gap that exists between the type of information maintenance technicians seek, and what is relevant for a technical communicator to design. Information about the construction of a machine and work task instructions are relevant for a technical communicator to design. However, information regarding business identities and numbers, the cause of errors, placement of equipment and tools, as well as information related to various aspects of task execution seem very challenging\- or even impossible\- for a technical communicator to design during product development. This paper contributes knowledge to user behavior research within the technical communication research field. The results provide technical communicators with an understanding of what type of information maintenance technicians seek and select in order to satisfy an expressed information need. This discussion enables technical communication practitioners and researchers to gain a better understanding of what type of information is relevant to design and which information is a challenge to design, thus which types of expressed information needs are suitable to focus on, and why.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Information design, Information need, Information-seeking, Maintenance technicians, Technical communication, Behavioral research, Information science, Maintenance, Information seeking, Participant observations, Technical communication research, Technical communications, Technical communicators, Technical information, Product design
Computer and Information Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-34531DOI: 10.1145/2987592.2987598ScopusID: 2-s2.0-85003550933ISBN: 9781450344951 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-34531DiVA: diva2:1059205
34th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication, SIGDOC 2016, 23 September 2016 through 24 September 2016