His 12 steps call for clarity on the many different types and levels of edits that user documentation requires, the assigning and scheduling of those different edits, and what editors should offer the team in their reports. Implementing changes, in Ament’s process, doesn’t just come down to an editor’s fiat. Instead, he lays out a process in which writers evaluate and prioritize editors’ suggestions, noting that “If suggestions simply reflect the personal preferences of a particular editor, writers can—and should—ignore them.” Throughout, Ament emphasizes clear communication and evaluation of the process itself. The goal isn’t just the creation of quality documentation; it’s the creation and maintenance of a system that, with care and leadership, can make quality “automatic.”
Ament leads by example by presenting his material in the clearest, most approachable manner, a step-by-step approach laid out with an organizational clarity too often lacking in technical guides, and written in crisp, illuminating prose that on every page exemplifies the results of the process. While targeted to technical writers, Ament’s concise, inviting guide will prove helpful to anyone who leads an editorial team, especially in its scrupulous advice on establishing types of edits and team-specific guidelines.
Takeaway: An illuminating, highly practical guide to establishing an editing process for user documentation.
Great for fans of: Edmond H. Weiss, Marc Achtelig’s Technical Documentation Best Practices.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A