One might think that this post is about a superpower of being invisible…But it is not like that…Unfortunately. It is about feeling invisible…That is totally different.
Tech writers do a lot. They create docs for so many things! Even our everyday gadgets have a user manual =) But do users often think about who writes instructions and how they do it? I guess not. Long ago that was the case with me. But today I often think about all the effort that tech writers need to describe how to use all those appliances to say nothing about huge and complex mechanisms, machinery, software. I should say it is rather disappointing to take part in the process of creating a product but to feel that your role is underestimated. Manuals do not write themselves or appear from nowhere. They are a result of hard and detailed work.
But not only users may underestimate the role of tech writers. What about the companies and other departments? It may happen as well. Not all companies hire tech writers to create documentation thinking that their stuff is able to perform this function. As for engineers, developers, scientists, and other experts who delegate the writing duties to tech writers, they often think that to create a manual or instruction is less important and effort-consuming than to create a mechanism, a device, to research something, etc.
Actually, tech writers help companies save a lot of money. Can you imagine if you buy a smartphone without a manual and something goes wrong with it? You will try to reach out to the support team. But that will surely take a long time as other customers with the same problem will try to contact support as well. Can you imagine a pharmaceutical company that sells pills with no instruction? That might threaten someone’s life and end up in court. The role of documentation should not be diminished.
Technical writers do not only create documentation from scratch. They also update the existing documentation. The majority of products and services upgrade step by step. As they change, the documents need to be upgraded as well. Outdated docs are confusing for users and seem to be unprofessional. Moreover, things like that affect user experience in a negative way. The product becomes untrustworthy even if it is quite good and competitive on the market.