Technical writer teams are asked the impossible: chronically understaffed, fulfill growing expectations, while dealing with the disruptions of a barrage of technological innovations.

Technology however doesn’t need to be a curse, it could be a blessing: new technologies could also be used to help technical writers. In this series I want explore how artificial intelligence and new/rediscovered interaction models for software documentation could redefine technical writing and its deliverables:

Part 1: Documentation at a crossroads
What jobs do we need documentation to fulfill? Why is documentation under pressure? Why do we need AI in documentation?

Part 2: The Helpful co-worker model
Teaching and giving advice is part of human nature. Helpful co-workers as a support services: when are they successful and how do they fail?

Part 3: Clippy: misunderstood brilliance before its time
Microsoft’s Clippy was a great idea: sometimes it does pay off to give people advice even if they didn’t ask for it yet. So why did it fail?

Part 4: Repeating Clippy’s mistakes with Walkthroughs
Learning from Clippy’s mistakes. How can we define proactive support? How can we avoid repeating Clippy’s mistakes?

Part 5: Automated proactive support as embedded messages
What are our next steps to explore the application of AI in documentation? How can we use a messaging framework to send highly relevant chunks of content to a user?



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About the author

Kristof van Tomme

CEO, Co-founder

Kristof Van Tomme is an open source strategist and architect. He is the CEO and co-founder of Pronovix. He’s got a degree in bioengineering and is a regular speaker at conferences in the API, DevRel, and technical writing communities.