Contemplating the tablet in tech comm

Alan Pringle / News, Opinion4 Comments

Ebooks and tablets are helping people read more than they did before: in a recent survey, 66 percent of portable device owners said they were reading more.

That statistic should prompt all technical communicators to think about if—and how—ebooks and other tablet-compatible formats (including apps) fit into their content delivery.

Why are people reading more with tablets and portable devices? Survey says…convenience (80 percent) and ease of buying content (66 percent). Technical communicators usually don’t sell their content separately from the product. However, when 66 percent of device users say they like the easy access to content, your solution for delivering information to tablets should mirror what readers experience when purchasing ebooks or apps.

iPad

flickr: anitakhart

We’ve had “Audience, audience, audience!” beaten into our heads (and rightfully so) when it comes to creating content. The same is still true when it comes to delivering that content. If people are reading more because of ebooks and tablets, we need to be sure our content is taking advantage of that trend.

Have you thought about how ebooks, apps, and other tablet-compatible formats fit in with your information delivery? Leave a comment about your plans for tech comm via tablets.

About the Author

Alan Pringle

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Content strategy consulting. Publishing (electronic and print). Eating (preferably pastries and chocolate). COO at Scriptorium.

4 Comments on “Contemplating the tablet in tech comm”

  1. I love love LOVE my Kindle, but I’m not too sure about its utility for tech comm. I can—just—envision reading conceptual content on the Kindle, but the ebook formats (Kindle and ePub) don’t seem suitable for quick reference on a particular task. In fact, they look like a step backward to the PDF-based static content compared to the more sophisticated browser-based information that we’re able to deliver.

    My thought is that we will see tech comm apps on tablets and smartphones.

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  3. Whether or not we can _read_ tech documentation from a tablet, I’m curious about the other end of the problem. How does one use a Kindle or tablet to _create_ technical documentation? Or any type of doc?
    Does the future hold different types of HW for the tech communicator (such as a tablet) or will we still be locked into some sort of workstation paradigm?

    Writing an app or other SW to create documentation on a tablet isn’t hard. But there’s more of a HW I/O limitation in:

    o screen area (who wants to scroll to find just that right icon?)

    o area for a keyboard. The alternative would be using finger
    scrolls or voice commands to do the same thing (non-trivial).

    And so on.

    Disclaimer: My employer builds components for this type of device, tho not yet in that arena. I’m not personally involved in those projects, but should still state that disclaimer.

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