The first chapter of Solving Problems in Technical Communication really showed the complexity of the field of professional/technical communication. To understand the history of technical and professional communication I had to step back for a minute and comprehend all the information that was thrown at me. It seems to me that the field makes changes almost every chance it gets. Scholars in the field of professional communication must understand that the ability to adapt is very important. What I found that was very useful, “A key skill is understanding how information can move and how it should transfer when it moves from one system to another, from one user group to another, and even from one culture to another” (53). This just gives a clear example of the technical advancement in the field and I find this very intriguing to see the process and how scholars must adapt quicker than expected.
In Chapter 2 Hart-Davidson explains the three work patterns, which I do agree with, but I also want to take the time to challenge patter 1 and pattern 2.
- Pattern 1: Technical communicators must create information that no longer stays neatly within the boundaries of a single genre. Using multiple display formats.
- Pattern 2: Technical communicators work to ensure the usability of products in all phases of the user-centered design process.
What I take from this is how technical and professional writers are being more creative to grasp their audience’s attention. Whether it be pictures, bold words, anything that stands out to a reader, but also want to ensure that the user understands the use of a product. And my concern with that would be stepping outside of the box could confuse readers because their have been time when I would read directions that draw attention to what is supposed to be done, but is explained entirely different than what is expected. So, I don’t know how often this is the case for scholars of the field.
From one of our previous discussions in class I remember how Dr. Cox emphasized on the work of academic faculty and this quote showed up in the text and I thought maybe there was some relation to that. “This collection contains works authored only by academic faculty, rather than by work place practitioners” (25). The question that I offered was what is the reason behind this? Is the field more theory based rather than experienced based? Because I would have guessed that technical writers would have greater knowledge based on their work in the field. Then I had to stop myself and continue reading and I found a great statement that supports the quote found on page 25. On page 54 it states, “No, your audience.” Not only must technical communicators lead the research effort to learn about users, they must also represent the knowledge gained about users – their goals, their needs, their preferences – in the design process as well” (54) which makes me go back on my thoughts and agree that scholars who do research on users of products have a greater chance to ensure that the usability of a product is clear.
I always would like to know if anyone agrees with Kelly and Tolley’s comments on technology. “These days students need to master some level of technology as an expected standard of literacy” (105). I don’t really have an opinion on this because I believe it depends on the field of work one is doing, but it would be interesting if scholars of academia agree with this statement.