Contributing to a Rapidly Developing Wiki Article

Contributing to a Rapidly Developing Wiki Article
Photo by Karl Solano / Unsplash

My curious mind plagues me with multiple questions, and with my phone always at hand, I can answer most of those questions after they cross my mind. What year was a particular song released? What other movies or TV shows did this director take part in? What was the shark some scientists speculated could have been the Loch Ness Monster? (It’s the Greenland shark if anyone else is curious.) Most of my searches result in perusing the Wikipedia article about the subject, which usually leads to other related articles, creating a never-ending pursuit of info.  

As a result of my fact-seeking tendency, I’ve used Wikipedia and other wikis many times and have come to appreciate that someone took the time to accumulate the facts together in one place. However, I never thought I would be the one to learn how to edit wikis myself.  

The Wiki Collaborative Article  

Watching the Technical Writing in the Digital Age article in LitWiki rapidly grow and evolve has been fascinating and daunting. While collaborations are part of my career, the number of collaborators (over twenty) and the asynchronous way we have all worked on the article have left me feeling disconnected. There have been constructive conversations between the collaborators in the discussion area for the LitWiki article; however, some suggestions were only briefly discussed.  

white and black laptop
Photo by Ben Kolde / Unsplash

My Contributions  

A section that needed expanding was user experience design, and, as that is an interest of mine, I saw it as an excellent opportunity to further my knowledge through research and add my contributions. When a website or digital document is not created with a user-centered design and gives the user a poor experience, there is a risk of information not being communicated and user needs going unmeet. In his book The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garrett writes that users will most likely blame themselves for the experience. Leaving the user with such an experience is not the best practice for ensuring effective communication and keeping credibility as a writer.  

With technical writers creating content for digital spaces, writers need to know user experience practices and how to structure documents for digital screens. Since another contributor had already included user-centered design, I added information architecture, responsive design, and usability since the successful implementation of each contributes to a positive user experience. I also added citations to the accessibility section. In the next two days and until the deadline for the article’s completion, I plan to work with the other contributors to edit and add citations as needed.

person using laptop
Photo by Kaitlyn Baker / Unsplash

Knowledge is Vital  

With the popularity of text-generating AI, the technical writing field is rapidly changing as utilizing AI tools is now considered a needed skill set. Most professionals do not foresee AI generators taking the place of technical writing jobs, but making public the process of technical writing for digital content and the care a writer uses to create content specifically for the reader will go a long way in securing technical writing careers. Wikis are not considered credible sources. However, they contain citations that are credible, and any fact-seeking individual could use the article as a starting point for their search for technical writing in the digital age knowledge. 

Kimberly Myers

Kimberly Myers

A graphic designer in higher education specializing in print design working towards a master’s degree in technical and professional writing to produce user-friendly content and designs.
Carrollton, Georgia