Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry / Edition 2

Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry / Edition 2

by Sun Technical Publications, Technical Pu Sun Technical Publications
     
 

ISBN-10: 0131428993

ISBN-13: 9780131428997

Pub. Date: 07/16/2003

Publisher: Prentice Hall

“Clear content and consistent style are essential for the usability of any system. If you're  doing something complex, describing it simply becomes that much more important. Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry tells you how to achieve these elusive goals, and does so following its own advice: it's clear, consistent, and

Overview

“Clear content and consistent style are essential for the usability of any system. If you're  doing something complex, describing it simply becomes that much more important. Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry tells you how to achieve these elusive goals, and does so following its own advice: it's clear, consistent, and presents advanced topics in an actionable and approachable manner.”

Jakob Nielsen
Principal, Nielsen Norman Group
Author, Eyetracking Web Usability

“The third edition of Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry has all the excellent content of the first editions and more. The new chapters provide insights to new forms of communication. They include sound advice on writing alternative text for illustrations, writing narrations for screencasts, and working with wikis to enhance and manage content contributed by the user community. The material on writing procedures is invaluable for those who are struggling with task-oriented information. If you need to understand the best practices for developing useful and usable text, start with this volume.

It brings together a wealth of knowledge that all technical communication professionals must have to succeed.”

Dr. JoAnn T. Hackos, President, Comtech Services, Inc.

The definitive reference for technical writers, editors, and documentation managers, Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, Third Edition, has been revised and updated to cover everything from creating screencasts and referencing web sites to writing for wikis.

This award-winning guide to creating clear, consistent andeasy-to-understand documentation covers everything from grammar and writing style to typographic and legal guidelines. The authors, who are senior editors and writers at Sun Microsystems, share their extensive experience and provide practical tips and recommendations, including guidance on hiring writers, working with illustrators, managing schedules and workflow, and more.

The third edition features new chapters on:

•    Writing for wikis and encouraging wiki collaboration
•    Creating screencasts, using screencast terminology, and guidelines for writing narration
•    Creating alternative text for nontext elements such as screen captures, multimedia content, illustrations, and diagrams

It also includes new tables for symbol name conventions, for common anthropomorphisms, and for common idioms and colloquialisms. An updated and expanded recommended reading list suggests additional resources.


Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780131428997
Publisher:
Prentice Hall
Publication date:
07/16/2003
Edition description:
2nd Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface.
1. Mechanics of Writing.
Capitalization. Contractions. Gerunds and Participles. Numbers and Numerals. Pronouns. Technical Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Units of Measurement. Punctuation.

2. Constructing Text.
Headings. Lists. Tables. Code Examples. Error Messages. Cross-References. Endnotes, Footnotes, and Bibliographies. Notes, Cautions, and Tips. Part Dividers. Typographic Conventions. Key Name Conventions.

3. Writing Style.
Why Is Style Important? Stylistic Principles. Some Basic Elements of Style. Writing for the Reader. Style That Could Offend the Reader. Common Writing Problems to Avoid. Ways to Improve Your Style.

4. Online Writing Style.
About These Guidelines. Solving Online Writing Problems. Creating an Effective Document Structure. Writing Short, Self-Contained Topics. Constructing Scannable Paragraphs, Headings, and Lists. Preserving Context in Online Documents.

5. Constructing Links.
About These Guidelines. Where to Place Links. General Linking Strategies. Guidelines for Writing Link Text.

6. Writing Tasks, Procedures, and Steps.
Understanding the Relationship Among Tasks, Procedures, and Steps. Developing Task Information. Writing Procedures. Writing Steps.

7. Writing for an International Audience.
General Guidelines for Writing forTranslation. Cultural and Geographic Sensitivity. Definitions and Word Choice. Grammar and Word Usage. Numbers, Symbols, and Punctuation. Illustrations and Screen Captures.

8. Legal Guidelines.
Copyrights. Trademarks. Third-Party Web Site References. Protection of Proprietary/Confidential Information.

9. Types of Technical Documents.
What Is a Documentation Set? Documentation Plans. Document Plan. Abstracts. Structure of Manuals. Descriptions of the Manual Parts. Types of Hardware Manuals. Types of Software Manuals. Other Product Documents. Training Documents.

10. Working With an Editor.
Technical Editor's Role. Editor's Role in Producing Online Documents. Types of Editing. Edit Schedules. Document Submission. Editing Marks. Edit Style Sheet.

11. Working With Illustrations.
Working With an Illustrator. Illustration Formats, Styles, and Types. Examples of Illustrations. Placing Illustrations. Writing Captions for Illustrations. Writing Callouts for Illustrations. Creating Quality Screen Captures. Creating Leader Lines. Simplifying Online Illustrations.

12. Writing About Graphical User Interfaces.
Using GUI Terminology. Writing About Windows, Dialog Boxes, and Menus. Writing About the Web.

13. Glossary Guidelines.
Glossary Content. Terms for an International Audience. When to Include a Glossary. Writing Good Glossary Entries.

14. Indexing.
What Is an Index? Style and Format. Creating an Index. Refining and Checking an Index. Bad Page and Column Breaks. Checking the Size of the Index. Global Index. Online Index.

Appendix A. Developing a Publications Department.
Establishment of a Publications Department. Scheduling. Documentation Process. Internationalization and Localization. Online Documentation Considerations. Final Print Production. Post-Production Considerations.

Appendix B. Checklists and Forms.
Manuscript Tracking Chart. Request for Editing Form. Artwork Request Form. Technical Review Cover Letter. Authorization to Produce Document. Print Specification.

Appendix C. Correct Usage of Terms.
Appendix D. Recommended Reading.
Desktop Publishing and Document Design. Editing Standards. Graphics and Illustration. HTML and XML. Indexing. Information Mapping. Internationalization and Localization. Legal Issues. Online Help. Online Writing Style. Platform Style Guides. Printing. Project Management. Reference Works. Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). Typography. Usability Testing. User Interfaces. Web and Internet Publishing. Writing Standards. Writing Standards for Technical Writing.

Index.

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