Adobe Robohelp

Get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscriber count: 4,039

Stitcher radio

follow us in feedly

Want more tech comm blogs to follow? See my Tech Comm Collection of Blogs on Feedly.

Adobe FrameMaker

Does Tech Comm Fit into Mobile Trends?

Dec 21, 2010 • general

In looking back over 2010, mobile trends dominated the marketplace. created the following video to illustrate:

Here are a few of the surprising mobile stats:

  • FIVE BILLION apps downloaded — up from 300 million in 2009
  • 347 PERCENT growth in Twitter mobile usage
  • 100 MILLION YouTube videos played on mobile devices everyday
  • 3,000 PERCENT growth in one carrier's data traffic since 2008
  • 3,339: average number of texts sent per month by US teens.

For more, see Mobile 2010 Year in Review. (Hat tip: Future Changes.)

I admit that I've developed a love affair with my Palm Pre. I had the phone for six months before deciding to download paid apps. Last week I downloaded Feeder, Read it Later, Daily, Angry Birds, and Tweed. My wife bought an iPod Touch last month and also downloaded a bunch of apps too.

I actually prefer to consume content, especially RSS feeds, on my mobile device. When I'm sitting down at my computer, I'm more focused on work or writing, not reading. But the mobile experience provides all kinds of benefits for content consumption -- namely, it offers content in convenient places.

In all of this mobile frenzy, tech comm must figure out where we fit into this picture. With 5 billion apps downloaded, how many users asked for help files for these apps? Is this a market we should be up to our heels in? Despite the thousands of apps, no one has yet to contact me about creating help content for a mobile device -- not at work, nor on a freelance basis.

This past year I interviewed two people who see mobile as a major trend for technical communication. Both Neil Perlin and Joe Welinske are both involved in mobile markets.

I think that despite the predominance of the mobile market, most apps are too simple and straightforward to need a professional technical writer. Where technical writers might be most useful is in creating quick screencasts to both demonstrate and sell the product to users. With so many apps to choose from, users want a quick preview of the functionality to see how it will work once they purchase it. The ability to create engaging screencasts (a la Michael Pick style) might be a more relevant to move technical writers forward into the mobile market.

follow us in feedly

Get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscriber count: 4,039

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.