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The 2012
The WritersUA Skills and Technology Survey

SkillsTechnologiesPlatformsSurvey Home

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:

  • What emphasis do we place on writing and editing—versus coding and design skills?
  • What platforms do we support?
  • Which technologies are most important to our UA systems?

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

The 2012 Skills and Technologies Survey was published on the WritersUA web site in January of 2012. There were 231 respondents. Anyone could participate in the survey. We did not require respondents to identify themselves. What you have in front of you is a synthesis of the results. We're presenting our analysis in three different sections: Skills, Technologies, and Platforms.

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 related 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 or the software development communities at large.

To receive news and updates on future WritersUA surveys and events, join our mailing list.

General Comments

We received a number of comments from respondents regarding the survey.

Also use: ADDIE model SharePoint permissions based WordPress

Ask again next year and the landscape will have changed dramatically. We intend to migrate from Webhelp to a wiki/kb delivery model and I can't wait!

Highly integrated with Acrocheck which has replaced editors and incorporates our machine translation rules.

I have had to drop using FrameMaker and hate it. Now have to use WORD. I may try and use Flare.

I've used more skills in past jobs. Current environment is very low-tech: Word docs turned into PDFs and published on an internal web site. We're trying out best to single-source within those constraints.

Other questions: Number of employees doing tech writing, years of experience, etc.

Sadly, writing proper English grammar is the least respected task.

Thank you for conducting the survey.

We are just beginning to explore Kindle and iPad formats, and also videos and voiceover.

Weird survey. Wgat's the point? I'll be interested in seeing the results and interpretation

What about using video authoring software like Camtasia or Captivate?

Where I work, we use in-house developed tools (not best of breed by a long shot), and aren't allowed to pursue products from Adobe, etc.

WritersUA provides great information and resources to tech writers. Thanks for the work that you do!

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Copyright © 2011 WritersUA. All Rights Reserved.
shannonm *at* writersua *dot* com




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The Conference for Software User Assistance


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WritersUA offers cutting-edge training and information to Technical Writers, Information Analysts and Architects, Documentation Designers, Help Authors, Publication Managers, Documentation Leads, Senior Writers and Documentation Contractors, and User Education Specialists. The focus is on software user assistance, which encompasses writing, editing, planning, coding, indexing, testing, programming, localization, and standards development.




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