Technical writing newsletter 28: October 2008

Document status: archived

Helping people to read

People struggle to read for many reasons, for example, bad vision, learning disabilities, and tiredness. There are guidelines for writing clear documents for particular audiences. In most cases, the solutions for one audience help all audiences. However, sometimes solutions for one audience cause problems for other audiences.

Controlling vocabulary

To improve the quality of technical documentation, restrict the vocabulary that documents can contain. For example, the terms 'decrease', 'cut down', and 'reduce' are synonyms. In a controlled situation, one term is used consistently. At the ISTC Conference, Mike Unwalla spoke about how to apply a controlled vocabulary.

Conference report

Topics at the 2008 ISTC Conference included how to improve the quality of documentation, the problems of user-generated content, management challenges, and business challenges.

Industry profile

Mike Unwalla's role as reporter for Independent Authors Special Interest Group has been extended to include the ISTC Discussion Group. You can read the reports on the TechScribe website.

Website accessibility

WAVE ( is a free website accessibility tool. It helps you to make your website accessible to people with disabilities. Instead of giving a complex technical report, WAVE displays the web page, and embedded symbols show the accessibility information in that web page.

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