A summary of “Eating your technical communication veggies” by Larry Kunz

In this article, Larry communicates about his dislikes regarding technical communication. He realizes, however, that some of these matters are unavoidable and critical for success. He compares these topics to vegetables; not many people like to eat them, but we all know that they are vital for our physical well-being.

The first example Larry discusses is “Following the style guide.” He explains that during the writing process, interrupting his flow of ideas when, for example, he forgets “whether to spell out numbers below 10” can be frustrating. Even though following the style guide may be tedious, he knows that it enhances the quality of writing due to consistency of diction.

Another topic Larry discusses is the display of content on various platforms. The viewer needs to visualize identical content whether they are viewing on their tablet or smartphone, or if they are using Firefox or Safari.

The last matter he discusses is the implementation of metadata into technical documents. The goal of metadata is to extract basic information of data. For a document, the metadata would include the length, the author, a short summary, and the date of creation. This information can allow the data to be more easily tracked and manipulated. Many writers have a difficult time finishing their content before a deadline, so they often don’t include the code for the metadata, but Larry says that this is a mistake. Using metadata will become more common in the future, and Larry says that “someday your properly categorized and tagged content will be ready for targeting to specific audiences, for adapting to different output formats, and for easy management.” Even if you code the metadata into your document after posting, your future self will be gracious.

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-John Hill


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