Topics

Overall style points


 

Mark,

1) How about Title Case for section titles? I think that would help them stand out in the document body.

2) How about section numbers? In both the TOC and the body. Though they might be subject to change with each major revision I think they will help in citations to the manual. In the HTML version maybe supplement that with hover permalinks similar to those in the Help page - but keep them the same as the TOC links (if practical) and as short as practical, even when on a Header 2 or Header 3.

3) Will this be all one big HTML page? I'm a little ambivalent. That does enable browser-based search, but it seems like it could be a bit much. I think I'd prefer it broken into chapters (or smaller) with a dedicated search. Perhaps like a Wiki of its own, but with only Groups.io having edit permission.

4) PDF Bookmarks, please! I don't know what tool Nina is using, but hopefully its export to PDF function can be coerced to emit bookmarks. In MS Word that's in an option pop-up you open from the File dialog when you Export. In Acrobat Reader these Bookmars show up as a sidebar on the left with clickable links to go directly to headings.

5) For the PDF pay attention to page breaks. This goes beyond simple orphan/widow control in paragraphs (which seems to be mostly under control); there needs to be more use of Keep With Next (or whatever it is called in Nina's authoring tool) to avoid having headings orphaned at the bottom of a page; examples on pages: 12, 13, 15, 24, 26, 45, 52, and 73. Or widows at the top of a page; examples: 4, 7, 11, 12, 20, 54, 66, 69, and 71.

6) For the PDF consider using a new page for selected headings. All Heading 1 likely, and maybe all of Heading 2 as well.

Shal


Bill Hazel
 

On Sat, Mar 7, 2020 at 10:10 PM, Shal Farley wrote:
Perhaps like a Wiki of its own, but with only Groups.io having edit permission.
I like this idea. Then it is easy to search and to link to from other groups.io. I really like linking to the source vs copies of it.
An advantage of the wiki is that all the currently linked to material (see would have their own wikipage to link to.
Also, instead of dealing with multiple static copies we would always be looking at a dynamic current version.

Bill


Mark Murphy
 

I agree with section numbering in the main body and TOC, preferably in an outline format like:


Nina E
 

Hi, all. I'm the writer working on the Groups.io documentation. Thank you for the comments on the owner/moderator reference doc so far!

To address some of the points that Shal raised:

1) How about Title Case for section titles? I think that would help them stand out in the document body.

I used sentence case from force of habit because that was the standard in my last tech writing/editing job. :-) That said, because many headings contain proper nouns (names of web pages, menu items, fields, and so on), I think sentence case helps those proper nouns stand out in the headings. Also, numbering will help the headings stand out (see the next item).

2) How about section numbers?

I agree that heading numbers will help in the printed/PDF version. (I'm not convinced that heading numbers are terribly useful in online presentation, but we'll see how it goes.) I didn't include them initially because I'm writing the documentation in Google Docs (that's the approach Mark and I agreed on when I first contacted him), and Google Docs doesn't have a heading numbering feature built in. However, I recently found an add-on that does the trick, so I'll try that in the next draft.

4) PDF Bookmarks, please!

As I mentioned above, I'm currently using Google Docs, but I'm not very familiar with its export-to-PDF capabilities. Maybe there's an add-on that will add bookmarks to PDF files; I'll look around. (If anyone happens to know of such a Google Docs add-on, please let me know.)

5) For the PDF pay attention to page breaks.

For sure. I'm waiting until the final draft, so I don't have to redo too many. :-)

6) For the PDF consider using a new page for selected headings. All Heading 1 likely, and maybe all of Heading 2 as well.

Good suggestion - I'll give it a try.

Thank you again!

Regards,
Nina

P.S. For the record, I own/moderate a restricted Premium group for a chorus of which I'm a member, and I serve as secretary on its board. We transferred our group from Yahoo Groups to Groups.io two years ago this February, and we couldn't be happier that we did so!


Kristen James Eberlein
 

Nina, many thanks for your work on the documentation. I found it very useful.

Just a few comments:

  • Consider adopting a style guide and sticking to it. There are several widely used in the industry, including Microsoft Manual of Style and IBM Style Guide. The latter is my personal favorite and what I most often recommend to clients.
  • Sentence-style headings are best. All usability studies (dating back to the 1950s) show that it is more readable than the alternatives. If the headings are not standing out from the text, that's a reason to adjust how the headings are styled, for example, font size or color or a bottom border.
  • PDF bookmarks would be wonderful and make the document much more usable, but I don't know if Google docs can accommodate that :(

I moved a group (DITA Users) from Yahoo! to Groups.io last fall, and I am extremely happy with the platform. And BTW, lots of technical communicators in our group!

Best,
Kris

Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
OASIS Distinguished Contributor
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting LLC
www.eberleinconsulting.com
+1 919 622-1501; kriseberlein (skype)

On 3/10/2020 7:09 PM, Nina E wrote:

Hi, all. I'm the writer working on the Groups.io documentation. Thank you for the comments on the owner/moderator reference doc so far!

To address some of the points that Shal raised:

1) How about Title Case for section titles? I think that would help them stand out in the document body.

I used sentence case from force of habit because that was the standard in my last tech writing/editing job. :-) That said, because many headings contain proper nouns (names of web pages, menu items, fields, and so on), I think sentence case helps those proper nouns stand out in the headings. Also, numbering will help the headings stand out (see the next item).

2) How about section numbers?

I agree that heading numbers will help in the printed/PDF version. (I'm not convinced that heading numbers are terribly useful in online presentation, but we'll see how it goes.) I didn't include them initially because I'm writing the documentation in Google Docs (that's the approach Mark and I agreed on when I first contacted him), and Google Docs doesn't have a heading numbering feature built in. However, I recently found an add-on that does the trick, so I'll try that in the next draft.

4) PDF Bookmarks, please!

As I mentioned above, I'm currently using Google Docs, but I'm not very familiar with its export-to-PDF capabilities. Maybe there's an add-on that will add bookmarks to PDF files; I'll look around. (If anyone happens to know of such a Google Docs add-on, please let me know.)

5) For the PDF pay attention to page breaks.

For sure. I'm waiting until the final draft, so I don't have to redo too many. :-)

6) For the PDF consider using a new page for selected headings. All Heading 1 likely, and maybe all of Heading 2 as well.

Good suggestion - I'll give it a try.

Thank you again!

Regards,
Nina

P.S. For the record, I own/moderate a restricted Premium group for a chorus of which I'm a member, and I serve as secretary on its board. We transferred our group from Yahoo Groups to Groups.io two years ago this February, and we couldn't be happier that we did so!


Marv Waschke
 

I'll second "adopt a style guide and stick to it." I also prefer the IBM guide, but following the guide consistently is much more important than the guide chosen. As much as you can, embody the style guide in a word processing template. I've worked on many industry standards groups (including a few OASIS groups) and a well-wrought template saves a tremendous amount of error-prone and tedious work when enforcing consistency and adjusting appearance to suit different media. I haven't used Google Docs much, so I don't know its capabilities, but Msft Word styles are so useful, they are the reason I use Word. I even remove the font, size, bold, etc. section from my Word ribbon so I am never tempted to change appearance without changing the style.

I am not a big fan of elaborate numbering systems in living documents. As sections are added, deleted, and moved around, references to the numbers tend to get stale, i.e. wrong. I prefer hyperlink xrefs that are more durable as the doc changes. Numbers look nice, but I've been misled by them too often to like them.

The doc itself looks very good to me. Good work! Keep it up.
Marv


 

On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 4:23 PM Marv Waschke <marv@...> wrote:
I'll second "adopt a style guide and stick to it." I also prefer the IBM guide, but following the guide consistently is much more important than the guide chosen.

 
Maybe this is my ignorance talking, but what style inconsistencies are there in the doc right now? 

Thanks,
Mark


 

Marv wrote:

I am not a big fan of elaborate numbering systems in living documents.
I'll agree for the online (HTML) document; some form of permalinks to the headings would be ideal for citation.

Numbers look nice, but I've been misled by them too often to like
them.
For the PDF, which one might print, a human-readable heading identifier would be my preference. And my favorite of those is simple header level numbering (e.g. 1, 1.1, 1.2, 2, 2.1, 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.2, 3, ...). If the headings are styled in a way that makes those stand out then it is easy to skim through the pages and keep track of where you are.

I recognize that the difficulty in those two use cases would be in finding a way to author both styles from a single source document, given the authoring tool at hand.

Shal


 

Mark,

Maybe this is my ignorance talking, but what style inconsistencies are
there in the doc right now?
I haven't really paid attention to that, but Nina's earlier reply to me made me wince:

5) For the PDF pay attention to page breaks.
For sure. I'm waiting until the final draft, so I don't have to redo
too many. :-)
It implies to me manual insertion of page breaks, and that never ends well.

I don't know what formatting Google Docs is capable of but you really want marking for conditional page breaks (such as Word's "Keep with next" style option) so that the page breaks are only present where needed. You may need to add a few at each "final" draft, but you never need to re-do the ones you've done.

And yes, I throw scare quotes on the word "final", as I expect the site and its manual to continue evolving.

Shal


Nina E
 

I don't know what formatting Google Docs is capable of but you really want marking for conditional page breaks (such as Word's "Keep with next" style option) so that the page breaks are only present where needed. You may need to add a few at each "final" draft, but you never need to re-do the ones you've done.<<
I'm fully aware of best practices for page breaks, and yes, Google Docs does have "keep lines together" and "keep with next" options, which I am applying as needed. But getting the content written and ensuring its accuracy are higher priorities for me at the moment than page breaks for PDF printing.

- Nina


 

Nina,

I'm fully aware of best practices for page breaks, ...
My apologies. I didn't mean to imply that you didn't.

and yes, Google Docs does have "keep lines together" and "keep with
next" options, which I am applying as needed.
Ok, that's good to know. I was concerned that it did not have that capability. I guess I over-interpreted what you meant by having to "redo" too many of them.

But getting the content written and ensuring its accuracy are higher
priorities for me at the moment than page breaks for PDF printing.
I wholeheartedly agree.

I just wish I had more time during the week so that I might give you more substantive comments, but it is crunch time for me at work.

Shal


Nina E
 

Thank you, Shal! I appreciate your taking time to review the document and welcome your comments whenever you have a chance.

Best,
Nina

-----Original Message-----
From: docs@beta.groups.io <docs@beta.groups.io> On Behalf Of Shal Farley
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 1:39 AM
To: docs@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [docs] Overall style points

Nina,

> I'm fully aware of best practices for page breaks, ...

My apologies. I didn't mean to imply that you didn't.

> and yes, Google Docs does have "keep lines together" and "keep with > next" options, which I am applying as needed.

Ok, that's good to know. I was concerned that it did not have that capability. I guess I over-interpreted what you meant by having to "redo" too many of them.

> But getting the content written and ensuring its accuracy are higher > priorities for me at the moment than page breaks for PDF printing.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I just wish I had more time during the week so that I might give you more substantive comments, but it is crunch time for me at work.

Shal


Kristen James Eberlein
 

I did not see style inconsistencies. I suggested a style guide because it can be useful in the following ways:

  • Authors can follow the rules that the style guide lays out, rather than taking time to make decisions such as "Should I use sentence-style or headline-style for headings?" -- or remember previous decisions.
  • Prevents stylistic inconsistencies
Best,
Kris

Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
OASIS Distinguished Contributor
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting LLC
www.eberleinconsulting.com
+1 919 622-1501; kriseberlein (skype)

On 3/11/2020 8:22 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 4:23 PM Marv Waschke <marv@...> wrote:
I'll second "adopt a style guide and stick to it." I also prefer the IBM guide, but following the guide consistently is much more important than the guide chosen.

 
Maybe this is my ignorance talking, but what style inconsistencies are there in the doc right now? 

Thanks,
Mark