The April issue of Intercom, with a theme of mobile communication, is now online. Below is a copy of the note from editor Liz Pohland for this issue. Remember, Intercom Online now has commenting available, so please ask questions, start a discussion, and give your thoughts
Every conference I’ve been to in the past couple of years has had a track for mobile content delivery and numerous sessions about mobile strategies and apps. While mobile is ubiquitous in our daily lives, mobile content development and business strategies are still maturing. As a result, the April issue of Intercom focuses on mobile—writing for mobile, developing mobile apps, and mobile heuristics and strategies. Mobile technology presents a new set of challenges to technical communicators in particular, such as how to write and create user-friendly content for consumption on mobile devices.
One of the themes that surfaces among the articles and columns presented in this issue is the need for technical communicators to design more effective information experiences for their users and customers, in the places users prefer to receive that information. Increasingly, this delivery preference is mobile. But, according to Stephanie Chacharon and others, having a mobile presence is not enough. As always, technical communicators must make informed decisions about how to communicate and design the interactions with specific information. The articles and columns here provide several suggestions for technical communicators to provide value in the mobile arena:
- Develop a common, shared mobile “vocabulary” and mobile heuristic by studying mobile resources
- Learn mobile authoring tools and standards as a new TC skill
- Develop mobile-first strategies that consider such features as platform, usage, and screen size in the planning stages of information design, not as an afterthought to delivery (such as forcing a print- or Web-based design onto a mobile platform)
- Use established information architecture models for mobile information design—scenario-oriented information architecture and progressive disclosure of information
- Consider information design and usability guidelines for the mobile environment
I’m looking forward to talking more about mobile with conference attendees at STC’s Technical Communication Summit, 20–23 May, in Chicago-Rosemont, Illinois. See you next month!