Cognitive biases in technical communication

We are nowhere near as rational as we might think. How we make decisions, hold conversations, and even write documentation or train Artificial Intelligence is greatly influenced by our previous knowledge and experience – which are by no means objective.

Text by Dimiter Simov


Cognitive biases in technical communication

Image: Allvisionn/

We all make decisions every day. Technical communicators are no exception. Should I accept that job offer and join the big team in a big enterprise? Or should I join the small team in the startup business and be the one and only person responsible for documentation? Or should I freelance instead? How much should I pay for my DITA-based authoring system? Should I add more details to the description of the feature that I am explaining? Should I rewrite the procedure based on the feedback from that user, or just ignore him? The product owner and a developer have read through the documentation and told me that it is ok, so do I still need to ask users to read it as well before launch?

The answers will differ, of course, depending on various factors. When faced with these questions, we would rationally consider the different factors and base our decisions on the pros and cons. Sounds ...