Definition of Technical Communication
Technical communication involves the delivery of clear, consistent, and factual information—often stemming from complex concepts—for safe and efficient use and effective comprehension by users. Technical communication is a user-centered approach for providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time so that the user’s life is more productive. The value that technical communicators deliver is twofold: They make information more usable and accessible to those who need that information, and they advance the goals of the companies and organizations that employ them.
The following examples show the value of technical communication with respect to the products and services that technical communicators provide:
- Technical procedures and illustrations that clarify steps and identify parts of a product allow users to focus on getting tasks done efficiently, accurately, and safely.
- Training and instructional materials that teach people new skills make them more employable and productive in their organizations.
- Medical instructions that are informative and comprehensive ensure regulatory compliance and help patients and care providers manage treatment, improve health, and reduce the costs and risks associated with care.
- Well-designed websites that are user-focused make it easier to find information and increase user traffic and satisfaction.
Information delivery involves multiple disciplines (for example, writing, editing, graphic design, indexing, instructional design, video scripting, production, etc.) and a variety of media (for example, paper documents, web pages, online help, computer-based training, digitally stored text, audio, video, etc.).
Users and Industries
Technical communication applies to a wide variety of audiences in any industry (for example, business, engineering, healthcare, manufacturing, medicine, professional services, technology, etc.).
Different jobs in the field of technical communication include:
- Business analysts
- Content strategists
- Globalization and localization specialists
- Information architects
- Instructional designers
- Technical communication teachers and researchers
- Technical illustrators
- Technical writers and editors
- Trainers and eLearning developers
- Usability and human factors professionals
- User experience professionals
- Visual designers
- Web designers and developers
Technical communication deliverables include:
- How-to guides
- Instructions for use (IFU)
- Instructor-led and eLearning training materials
- Journal articles
- Online help
- Quick references and job aids
- Technical, training, and reference manuals
- User interface text
- Web-based product support
Job Outlook and Pay
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical communication employment is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the continuing expansion of scientific and technical products. The median annual wage is posted on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.