By: R.D. Sharninghouse
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“No offense to Mr. Emerson, but in software documentation, consistency is a virtue sometimes difficult to achieve and sustain.”
“A style guide is the key to enhancing consistency in writing and editing without lowering productivity.”
“This presentation offers tips for developing a department- or project-specific style guide to use in conjunction with style references.”
On Thursday, May 21st, the Orlando Central Florida chapter held their monthly meeting at the Winter Park Civic Center. Mary Burns, current Vice President of the STC Orlando Central Florida chapter, gave a presentation that shared “Five Tips for Wise Consistency.”
1. Piggyback on a style manual
2. Be a collector
3. Be a collaborator
4. Be flexible
5. Be a listener
The first step reminds the audience that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The second suggests saving frequent edits and emails on style decisions, since some may be incorporated into the style guide. Tip three is about working with others to put together the material. Number four focuses on bending or amending a rule to preserve user-friendliness or consistency. Finally, tip number five is about listening to the details of the project and knowing any additions to terminology, spelling, capitalization lists, or any other important information.
These tips may seem basic, but they are very important to the process of technical documentation. Thank you, Mary, for giving a wonderful presentation.