1. Understanding Style

If content is what we communicate, then style is how we communicate that content. Writing style is determined by all the decisions you make while creating a document, such as the type and tone of information you present, choice of words, language and format consistency, use of technical terms, and so forth. Your style is part of the unique value that writers add to the product. In the literary world, style is judged in part on artistic grounds, which may be highly subjective. In the field of technical documentation, however, experience and practice have provided objective criteria for evaluating style.


Why Is Style Important?

Good style is synonymous with effective communication. Effective communication is not some abstract academic goal to be achieved for its own sake. Documents that communicate effectively reduce your company's costs and increase customer satisfaction, both effects resulting in increased profits. Customer satisfaction increases when accurate and functional documentation enables your customer to use your product quickly and efficiently. A document written in a style that responds to the requirements of its readers also results in fewer revisions, fewer calls to customer support, reduced training needs, and easier translation.