Interactive Intelligent Style Guides

Speakers

George Bina
Director, Syncro Soft / oXygen XML Editor

Start

January 23, 2019 - 2:00 PM

End

January 23, 2019 - 3:00 PM

Interactive Intelligent Style Guides

Style guides started as set of rules written in prose that people had to learn and follow when writing content. Using a style guide is a virtual necessity to help avoid repeating mistakes and to maintain consistency throughout your documentation. To eliminate the overhead of learning all the rules before starting to write, an intelligent style guide can be used to enforce the rules automatically by detecting problems and offering possible solutions the writer can choose from. Such style guides are not only possible, but immediately available to you!

This presentation will cover all aspects of an interactive intelligent style guide, covering both the writer’s perspective (the user of the style guide), and the information architect’s role (the person that creates and maintains the style guide). I will show and explain the main features of a modern style guide that distinguishes it from traditional ones:

  • Discoverable
  • Enforceable
  • Interactive
  • Dynamic

and how these can be implemented using the state of the art technologies available today, such as:

  • Structured formats/XML
  • ISO Schematron
  • Schematron Quick Fix
  • Versioning/Git
  • Continuous integration

Key takeaways:

  • You cannot expect people to learn and remember all the rules from a style guide before starting to write, the check against the style guide should be automated and writers should be informed when they break a rule, possibly suggesting them some possible solutions to solve the issue.
  • Style guides are not static, they need to evolve in time as the project evolves, so a modern style guide should enable some form of feedback to allow writers to provide feedback to the information architect in charge of the style guide maintenance.
  • We use single sourcing for documentation for its benefits, we should do the same for style guides and automated rules, so we should keep the rules and the style guide prose in the same place.

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