Document status: archived
Documentation is not an end in itself, but if it is necessary, do it properly. Low-quality user manuals cause wasted time and effort, but good documentation helps companies to increase their share of the market. Mike Unwalla's article in Computing magazine tells the story (www.computing.co.uk/ctg/analysis/1859235/dodgy-user-manuals-waste-effort).
If you want help with your documentation, should you look for a technical author or for a technical writer? An analysis of job vacancies shows that the term 'technical author' is far more common than the term 'technical writer'.
Content management, the move from desktop publishing to XML publishing, and user-generated content are all exciting trends in technical communication, but without effective management of change, projects will fail. Mike Unwalla reports from the STC conference in June.
Under the European law, a user manual is an integral part of a product. Manuals that contain faulty instructions or that omit safety information can lead to liability claims.