Is this the end of user assistance as we know it?

Practices around intelligent content and Information 4.0 are becoming increasingly popular in technical communication. Some predict massive, disruptive changes to the way our users consume information, and how we author and deliver it.

Text by Alan Houser


Is this the end of user assistance as we know it?

Image: Jay Pierstorff/

With new approaches to creating, managing, and delivering user assistance, how will the practices of technical communication change? How will they remain the same? Can we, as technical communicators and as a profession, make the appropriate distinctions necessary to provide user assistance for an increasing variety of scenarios and use cases, to be delivered via an expanding range of technologies?

Information 4.0 and technical communication

"Industry 4.0" labels the current transformation of manufacturing processes. In Industry 4.0, several technologies have matured to the point of having a profound impact on these processes. Industry 4.0 is a world of ubiquitous sensors; observing, reporting, and correcting problems as they occur, and the pervasive application of Artificial Intelligence.

These devices will presumably require associated content… not locked in a PDF, but associated ...