Re: Style guides and doc developers

Subject: Re: Style guides and doc developers
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 08:56:19 +0600

On 15 Oct 96, writestarr -at- aol -dot- com wrote:

> but I've seen many instances where there are three or more radio
> buttons in a given group. I would really rather that Microsoft
> hadn't changed horses in midstream by changing their terminology,
> but how can you fight city hall. I would like to continue to use
> radio buttons for consistency with previous documentation, but so it
> goes.


Unfortunately 300-pound gorillas sleep anywhere they want to sleep! I
try to stick to the Microsoft Manual of Style as much as possible,
not because I agree with it, but because it is the "only" real
standard for documenting computer software. In fact, they have a
couple of new terms that I absolutely hate, like "boxes" instead of
fields. It sounds very awkward to me and the programmers hate it. For
example, "...the boxes in the xyz dialog box." Bleaaaggghhh.

I would prefer to see SEVERAL software developers get together, with
some English teachers and some human factors people (who design
GUIs) and come up with a definitive guide for documentation. I think
we'd all benefit, but our readers/users would ultimately benefit the
most. They would see consistency in terminology, presentation of
material, etc. Part of the user's frustration is being forced to
figure out the manual itself before even getting to figuring out how
to accomplish the task. I can tell there is a real need for a
resource like this after hearing questions and discussions from the
writers on the techwriter list, the WinHelp list, and other lists.

Sorry to be so long winded.

Jane Bergen
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com
AnswerSoft, Inc.

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