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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 02/2021
  • 978-3-00-068352-7 3000683526
  • 114 pages
  • $14.95
Ebook Details
  • 09/2021
  • B09GNJ1VFD
  • 113 pages
  • $4.95
Kurt Ament
Author
Dysfunctional Documents
Kurt Ament, author

Adult; Business & Personal Finance; (Market)

This hands-on guide shows you how to use levels of edit to turn dysfunctional documents into healthy documents. It provides a flexible 12-step process to diagnose problems, develop treatments, and prevent relapses. And it explains how to create, maintain, enforce, and even automate consensual writing guidelines to keep your documents healthy. Each step identifies the roles of writers, editors, and managers. You can customize the process, as needed.
Reviews
Technical communications expert Ament (Indexing: A Nuts-and-Bolts Guide for Technical Writers) offers a clear-eyed, practical, and adaptable guide for technical writers, editors, and publishers and their teams to “to define and use edit types and levels to systematically ratchet up the quality of their user documentation.” That means establishing a process, defining roles and terms, and developing and approving the guidelines that can ensure that the team responsible for the development of technical documents remains focused, connected, and achieves consistent quality. Chief among Ament’s insights: That a team that formally establishes (and updates) its own guidelines is more likely to implement them consistently, taking the documents it produces “to the next level.”

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.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 02/2021
  • 978-3-00-068352-7 3000683526
  • 114 pages
  • $14.95
Ebook Details
  • 09/2021
  • B09GNJ1VFD
  • 113 pages
  • $4.95

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