Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors

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Pearson Education, Apr 6, 2004 - Technology & Engineering - 464 pages
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"The examples are excellent--right on target and easy to understand and adapt. Even those who don't adopt the entire procedure can profit from the parts, but the greatest value will flow to those who adopt the whole." --Carolyn Mulford, senior writer and editor of Writing That Works

"This is also a book that students can keep for their professional libraries because it will increase in its value to them after they leave class and face real life experiences on the job. It is plain enough for them to understand while they are learning, and at the same time comprehensive enough to support them as professionals." --Elizabeth Boling, Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University

"It practices what it preaches. Its guidelines are understandable and appropriate; its examples clear. It contains exactly what writers and editors need to know. It is the book that I would have written." --Cynthia E. Spellman, Unisys

The #1 guide to excellence in documentation--now completely updated! A systematic, proven approach to creating great documentation

  • Thoroughly revised and updated
  • More practical examples
  • More coverage of topic-based information, search, and internationalization

Direct from IBM's own documentation experts, this is the definitive guide to developing outstanding technical documentation--for the Web and for print. Using extensive before-and-after examples, illustrations, and checklists, the authors show exactly how to create documentation that's easy to find, understand, and use. This edition includes extensive new coverage of topic-based information, simplifying search and retrievability, internationalization, visual effectiveness, and much more.

Coverage includes:

  • Focusing on the tasks and topics users care about most
  • Saying more with fewer words
  • Using organization and other means to deliver faster access to information
  • Presenting information in more visually inviting ways
  • Improving the effectiveness of your review process
  • Learning from example: sample text, screen captures, illustrations, tables, and much more

Whether you're a writer, editor, designer, or reviewer, if you want to create great documentation, this book shows you how!

 

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Contents

Welcome
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1Quality technical information
Part 1Easy to use
Chapter 2Task orientation
Chapter 3Accuracy
Chapter 4Completeness
Part 2Easy to understand
Chapter 10Visual effectiveness
Part 4Putting it all together
Chapter 11Applying more than one quality characteristic
Chapter 12Reviewing testing and evaluating technical information
Part 5Appendixes
Appendix AQuality checklist
Appendix BWho checks which quality characteristics?
Appendix CQuality characteristics and elements

Chapter 5Clarity
Chapter 6Concreteness
Chapter 7Style
Part 3Easy to find
Chapter 8Organization
Chapter 9Retrievability
Resources and references
Glossary
Index
About the authors
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

The authors have served on the Editing Council at IBM Silicon Valley Laboratory in San Jose, California, an organization dedicated to excellence in technical information. Gretchen Hargis is a technical manager at IBM for a group that provides user assistance and user-centered design for application development tools. She was a technical editor and writer and a pioneer of IBM Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). Michelle Carey is a technical writer at IBM and a technical writing instructor at University of California Santa Cruz Extension. She is an expert on topic-based information systems and on writing for international audiences. Ann Kilty Hernandez is a technical editor at IBM and has been a technical writer, manager, and marketing specialist. She was a co-author of An Introduction to DB2 for OS/390 and contributed to its next edition, The Official Guide to DB2 UDB for z/OS. Polly Hughes, now retired from IBM, worked as a visual designer for technical information and software interfaces and as a technical writer. Deirdre Longo is a technical editor and writer at IBM who edits product interfaces and writes customer information, mostly for content management products. Shannon Rouiller is a technical editor at IBM who has written and edited topicbased information systems, books, contextual help, wizards, and interfaces for products that are marketed worldwide. She co-authored Designing Effective Wizards. Elizabeth Wilde is a technical editor at IBM and a leader in developing quality metrics and quality assurance processes for technical documentation. She also educates writers and editors throughout IBM on developing user-centered information.

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