– Rachel McAlpine
I had an intensely rewarding time at the STC India 12th Annual Conference, on my very first visit to India. There were many highlights for me. For example, I certainly won’t forget Dr Naresh Gupta’s visionary presentation on the future of content.
We can’t escape the mobile internet. That’s the future, coming ready or not. For my company, training by mobile phone or iPad will be a major development.
One message pleased me: “Globalize and localize”. Very few people realise that their own brand of English is not universally understood. Since living in Switzerland and Japan, I’ve taught global English: it crosses borders and is easy to translate.
Content, Dr Gupta pointed out, must also be modular, accessible, searchable, customized, multi-sensual, collaborative, consumable, interactive, and open to customer input or feedback.
What a list! Writing for work involves so much more than it used to. Clarity and correctness are not enough.
Whatever Dr Gupta predicted about content must be implemented by the people who create content. All those skills and more must be actively learned: they don’t come naturally. Content authors are made, not born.
I train content authors to write for work, and today, that means writing usable, reusable content. Moreover, content management systems and other technologies demand that people write with meticulous structure, focus, and economy. Soon the mobile internet will change requirements yet again.
For you, a technical communicator, all this may be an interesting challenge—and your writing skills have never been more in demand than they are today. But for most people and their employers, the ever-changing, ever-more-technical task of writing is an alarming problem. The whole reason for our existence here at Contented.com is to solve that very problem.
I thank Dr Gupta for his clear-sighted speech.
Rachel McAlpine is the Director of ContentEd.com.
About the illustration:
Used with permission from Nirupama Singh.