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Complex Tasks, UXD and Service Design
In the previous post I have given my view of the way different content systems are going: merging toward a single system that serves the correct content for the user. This is just part of the changes we face, as User Experience Design (UXD) and Service Design will change the way we think of help and user assistance. These design principles focus on a holistic approach: solutions that not only provide a single solutions for a problem, but a solution embedded within the specific context of the user.
This means that technology will become easier to use, will make more sense to users and thus reducing the need for basic instructions. Help content will change to support for complex tasks as simple tasks will be clear in the interface.
This will also add more importance to embedded help: help that is part of the interface. This help can be both instructions as well as explanations of concepts or even field level help. By embedding help into the interface, technical authors will have to work very closely with designers and engineers before and during the creation of the product.
This will give technical authors more influence on the product. Because we will have to think how to explain how things work beforehand, it is still possible to change the product when we find difficulties.
Changing our roles
These developments mean that technical authors must change their role to meet the new demands. Instead of content creator we will be content strategists: creating and managing content. We will manage more complex CMS systems and be more active in user support.
Because we also will be working with designers and developers before new solutions are created, we must become more creative if we want to have any say in how solutions should be built. This will enable us to write less content and focus more on providing content for more difficult tasks.