Technical communication: a wicked problem

As technical communicators, we aim to deliver just enough information to users when and where they need it. But new technologies such as Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things provide an ever-increasing number of use scenarios – leaving us with little to no knowledge of our users’ context. Nemetics offers a solution here.

Text by Ray Gallon


Technical communication: a wicked problem

Image: alphaspirit/

Our world – the one we live in every day as well as the world of technical communication – is getting ever more complex at ever faster rates of change. Our job, of course, is to make sense of it all: to help people live their lives better inside of this accelerating complexity. How to do this when information can change in the time it takes to verify it? How to do this when so much of what individual people need to do is dependent on so many delicate variables about which we know little or nothing?

This is what complexity scientists call a "wicked problem". Leaving aside, for the moment, our sense of amazement about a world where complexity needs its own scientific discipline, wicked problems are defined as problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. In addition, complex ...