Re: Principles, practices, and patterns approach to writing style guides? (was: Writing guides)

Subject: Re: Principles, practices, and patterns approach to writing style guides? (was: Writing guides)
From: Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Kelley Walker <kelley -dot- walker -at- libtax -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 17:30:22 -0500

Interesting question, Kelley. I'm a technical writer with an abiding
interest in UX. In fact, I know many tech writers are, at least to the
point of being concerned about consistency in the user interfaces we
document.

I don't recall ever finding anything specifically aimed to writing.
What I've done is keep an eye on UX publications; it seems to me that
a lot of the information there is relevant to writing as much as to
websites, Help, etc.

Some other things I think are important when writing material (so far
as usability for the customer). These are really basic tenets of good
technical writing.
organization
clarity
organization
active voice
organization
topic driven (which translates well for those working with help systems)
organization
references (within the doc)
organization
illustrations and examples, where possible

A while ago I was a member/volunteer of the STC Usability and User
Experience SIG, and we reviewed some UUX books. You might check them
out to see if they've added anything. I'm not sure what the current
address of the SIG is, all my links seem to go to older versions of
the site, but I can find out if you need it.
Also, there's the UPA/UXPA, but I'm sure you know about them.
http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/

Please post to the list if you find anything specific!

Regards,

Kathleen


On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM, Kelley Walker <kelley -dot- walker -at- libtax -dot- com> wrote:
> Hi there -
>
> Speaking of writing guides, I'm a UX Architect tasked with developing style guidelines that developers will actually use and to do so for all aspects of the user experience - from the user interface guidelines for software engineers to a manual of writing style for content developers.
>
> I laughed when I took this position. User experience practitioners write UI style guides and the like all the time, but I've seldom seen much published about how to make documentation usable. Of course, I'm hoping that technical writers will know about resources with which I'm not familiar.
>
> At any rate, I've decided to draw on MMOS, 4th ed., and then supplement with our company style guidelines by employing the principles, practices, and patterns approach that is common to software engineering.
>
> Does anyone know if anyone has done this for a writing style guide? If so, is there a published, publicly accessible example?
>
> On an old home days note, I used to belong to the list years ago. What ever happened to Andrew Plato? :)
>
>
> Kelley Walker
> UX Architect
>
>
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--
Kathleen MacDowell
kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help. Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need.

Try Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.

http://bit.ly/doc-to-help

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