Born in California in 1944, the author is a retired executive who has served as Chairman and CEO of a number of non-profit foundations and for-profit companies.
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Smashwords book reviews by Michael Blackstone
- Smashwords Style Guide
on Feb. 04, 2014
I appreciate the work that went into creating this guide and I certainly drew great benefit.
Much of the “Style Guide” is “how to” instructions and not style examples. Because of the length of the style guide and the number of “how to” instructions, it’s not easy to digest and distill out what might normally be a simple style guide that says “here is what it looks like” and “here is how to achieve it if you don’t know. Instead of saying - “here’s how it should look when you’re done” it launches into “here’s how to do it” and doesn’t really say “here’s what it looks like” at all.
Most of this guide is oriented to a PC and I have a Mac. Therefore the instructions must be studied and converted to Mac menus and procedures – yes, they are very similar, however, they are still “how to” and not an example of what I am trying to achieve.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that being a great author does not make someone an instructional designer. From that perspective, this guide would benefit from adopting an instructional design approach - (1) state an objective (2) show an example of finished product (3) provide a step-by-step process for achieving it (4) offer visual examples of work not done correctly (5) offer visual examples of common problems
The exact design model isn't as important as following a model - there are many and this is only one - but the most impactful change would be to offer an example of what we are trying to achieve as finished product when using the instructions.
Hope this is helpful.