My colleagues, Tharon Howard + Gustav Verhulsdonck, and I are glad to share the publications of our two-part study in design thinking, content strategy, and artificial intelligence for technical communication & UX. We started this project in late 2019 after the three of us met at the Louisiana Tech Usability Studies Symposium (LaTUSS) organized by Kirk St.Amant. Our exigence was guided by the emergence of design-centric models for content creation and management, including the rising deployment of AI technologies in technical communication. So, these two articles, published by the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, make an argument for stronger focus on the trifecta (DT, CS, AI) in teaching and practicing tech comm + UX. We show several examples and a collection of resources to those who are inclined to learn more about the new streams converging with and diverging from mainstream tech comm. We hope these works inspire your own application in the classroom and the workplace.
Article 1: Investigating the impact of design thinking, content strategy, and artificial intelligence: A “streams” approach for technical communication and user experience (October 2021)
Abstract: Technical and professional communication (TPC) and user experience (UX) design are often seen as intertwined due to being user-centered. Yet, as widening industry positions combine TPC and UX, new streams enrich our understanding. This article looks at three such streams, namely, design thinking, content strategy, and artificial intelligence to uncover specific industry practices, skills, and ways to advocate for users. These streams foster a multistage user-centered methodology focused on a continuous designing process, strategic ways for developing content across different platforms and channels, and for developing in smart contexts where agentive products act for users. In this article, we synthesize these developments and draw out how these impact TPC.
Article 2: Extending design thinking, content strategy, and artificial intelligence into technical communication and user experience design programs: Further pedagogical implications (January 2022)
Abstract: This article follows up on the conversation about new streams of approaches in technical communication and user experience (UX) design, i.e., design thinking, content strategy, and artificial intelligence (AI), which afford implications for professional practice. By extending such implications to technical communication pedagogy, we aim to demonstrate the importance of paying attention to these streams in our programmatic development and provide strategies for doing so.