The 2006
The WritersUA Skills and Technology Survey

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To All User Assistance Developers,

There is no question that the software development world offers a lot of excitement and challenging work. In the area of software user assistance we are particularly challenged by having to master a wide range of disciplines. From foundation skills like writing and editing—to the coding of content—to usability testing and user interface design, we find ourselves in a profession that is difficult to define. What is it that we really do?

The objective of this survey is to take a snapshot of our collective professional life in an attempt to identify what we value in our daily work as user assistance professionals:

The results of this survey may help us to better manage our career path and to improve the quality of our work.

The Skills and Technologies Survey was published in September/October 2006 for a five-week period. Close to 500 people responded to our call for participation. What you have in front of you is a synthesis of the results. We're presenting our analysis in four different sections: Skills, Technologies, Platforms, and Tools.

Enjoy the information. We hope it is useful to you. Please send me any feedback you have on the survey or the analysis.

Joe Welinske
President, WritersUA

jjw at writersua.com


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Methodology

The original survey was published on the WritersUA web site for five weeks in September/October 2006.

There were 485 respondents. Anyone could participate in the survey. We did not require respondents to identify themselves.

This study comes with a couple of caveats. First, the majority of respondents are most likely customers of WritersUA. Most of the survey submissions came in response to email broadcasts we made to our mailing list. However, the WritersUA constituency is large and probably is a fair representation of the overall user assistance community. We also announced the survey on the HATT and TECHWR-L discussion lists. Second, this survey is intended to represent the interests of technical writers involved in software user assistance and may not be representative of the technical communication community at large.

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