Technical Writing Trends for 2024

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By Brant Wilkerson-New
May 28, 2024

 

A professional technical writer must keep up with trends in the technical industry, otherwise they soon can’t match what clients require. With things moving so fast and the AI industry growing so quickly, technical writing is changing on an almost monthly basis. 

So, what are the trends for tech writing in 2024? What we know is that clients are more demanding; they want technical writing software guidelines, clear and concise drafts, and effectively communicated, complex policies and regulations written to address their needs and audience. 

All this means tech writers must use plain language and adjust writing content and format to satisfy their audience. With the spread of AI, no technical writer can survive in this market without a firm grasp of how AI helps. 

There are other emerging trends that we have noticed. For example, compliance and regulatory changes mean that subject matter experts must be very precise and targeted in their technical writing, otherwise businesses are exposed to risk. 

Finally, as our world becomes more inclusive and accessible, technical writing has to follow in that direction. You have to make your writing accessible to all people. 

Let’s examine in more detail how we see technical writing unfolding in 2024. 

Adapt your technical writing to your audience

Technical writers must create personalized technical content for their audience to increase audience engagement and interaction. After all, that’s the point of the technical writing process: to transform complicated information into accessible content.

If your audience is not particularly familiar with new technologies, make things simple and straightforward. If your audience is unfamiliar with a topic, explore new ways to explain various terms in a clear way. 

Information is becoming more personalized and customized. People in 2024 are more aware of how they want digital information distributed to them, so you have to adapt to their needs. 

Part of adapting technical writing is making the users’ experience a nice one. This means user-friendly documentation that helps people going through your text to find the essential knowledge they are looking for quickly and effortlessly. Glossaries, content, navigation, and other parameters should make it easy and uncomplicated. It’s not that people are becoming lazy, it’s just that they have so many things on their minds that they want the information to be as accessible and straightforward as possible. 

Embrace AI on your own terms

There has been so much talk about AI. In our view, it’s just another tool in the writer’s toolbox. AI is here to stay and can make our content process and content management better and more productive. 

Using AI efficiently doesn’t mean that it will write all your technical writing, white papers, or API documentation for you. However, you can use it for creating documents, doing your research, getting ideas and inspiration, and coherently organizing your writing. It saves time and effort and can improve the end result. AI and machine learning tools help generate first drafts, automate routine updates, and even provide content suggestions based on user feedback and behavior analytics. 

Never rely on AI solely, though: always check the accuracy of AI-generated content and include a personal touch with technical documents. Perhaps in the upcoming years, AI will become even smarter, but for 2024, it’s simply a useful tool that can expedite your document writing. 

Keep up with compliance and regulatory requirements

The world is changing fast and some industries are changing even faster. 

Compliance and regulatory challenges affect trends and predictions in many industries, particularly pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing, and finance. When you write technical documents for these industries, you have to follow strict compliance and regulatory requirements. There are safety, security, and ethical standards that must be met to safeguard the company and its reputation. 

Well-written technical documents ensure compliance as they detail exactly how technology products, processes, and systems meet specific regulatory standards and terms of service. Effective technical communication maintains compliance and streamlines the process of audits and inspections. Clear documentation makes it easier for regulatory authorities to verify compliance. 

And of course, effective technical writing in compliance contexts helps minimize risks associated with regulatory violations. No company wants to pay penalties because of a badly written technical document or wants its reputation damaged because of sloppy writing.

Include visual communication

Visual communication has been going strong for years and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. People assimilate information much better through videos, infographics, and other visual content. Simply adding photos and graphs to your copy makes it lighter and more accessible. 

The growing importance of visual content and interactive elements within technical documentation is emerging as a leading trend in 2024. Videos, interactive diagrams, and augmented reality (AR) components are becoming more prevalent to improve user engagement. The goal of technical writing is to help people access information and understand it, so let’s make it easier for them. This shift demands that technical writers acquire new skills in multimedia content creation and editing. You don’t have to become a pro in editing but basic skills are certainly helpful and in demand. 

Make your technical writing accessible

What’s the point of a piece of content if only a few people can access it? Our society is moving toward accessibility and inclusivity: people with disabilities should be fully engaged and part of our community. 

To be a successful technical writer in 2024, you should create content accessible to everyone, including audiences with disabilities. This means technical writers should understand accessible design principles and use tools to maximize compliance with international accessibility standards.

Businesses are more socially responsible and want to be more inclusive. If you want to create documentation for all people, you should make it accessible and inclusive. 

Collaborate with other technical writers

No man is an island, and that’s true of technical writers as well. The trend in 2024 is for technical writers to work, collaborate, and share their experiences. There are many collaborative tools and platforms that make life easier and reshape the workflow in technical writing. 

If you want to succeed in this world, consider platforms that facilitate real-time collaboration across different locations. You should be open-minded about working with others and sharing ideas and content with fellow writers. Collaboration also means you adapt to novel project management tools and organize your work with other people in mind. 

Technical Writing in 2024

Things are moving fast and that includes technical writing. In the field of technical writing, content writers have to become more astute to changes around them and more flexible to what businesses require. 

The future of technical writing goes beyond simply describing features and functions. By now, technical writers are required to improve how users engage with the information. This shift towards a more user-centric (UX) approach in technical writing focuses on the importance of clear, concise, and interactive content. Writing is shifting from information to engagement. 

Today’s technical writers’ role is to adjust their content strategy to many different audiences. This evolution is pushing technical writers to continuously learn and adapt to new tools and methodologies. That’s how you can stay relevant as a professional in any content writing job. 

Technical writing will help industries expand and reach audiences across the world. The trends of 2024 suggest a future where technical writing is more dynamic, precise, and user-focused than ever before.

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