Re: Purpose Statement for Style Guide

Subject: Re: Purpose Statement for Style Guide
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Rebecca <rebeccam -at- envworld -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 08:31:37 -0700 (PDT)

We've had a lot of style guide questions lately,
haven't we?

--- Rebecca <rebeccam -at- envworld -dot- com> wrote:
> Our new management thinks that our Style Guide is a
> luxury and a waste of
> time. Can you provide me with some well-thought-out
> arguments as to why a
> tech. pubs. team would "need" to have one?

Well, the most obvious reason is consistency. With
everyone in the company reading (literally) from the
same page, everything should come out "looking" pretty
much the same. This is especially important if
different people work on different parts of the same
manual. Without a style guide, it's entirely possible
that chapter 1 could talk about "E-mail" while chapter
6 discusses "email."

While many of the elements of "style" are understated
and probably won't register on the average jo/sephine,
the user will generally have a feeling something is
wrong if things change subtly from one point to the

Customers also will appreciate everything having the
same "feel" that results from consistent use of
headers, footers, bullets, et cetera. After reviewing
just one of your books, they learn to trust you
because they know they won't have to relearn the
interface to get to the material.

It also makes the editor's job easier, looks
professional, and is an industry standard.

Jeff Hanvey
Memphis, TN

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