HyperSTE is the content optimization tool for all technical writers.
Whether you’re a freelancer, small-to-medium-sized business, or enterprise, HyperSTE helps you create clarity in writing, align your content with your style guide and other content objectives, get quality and cost-saving metrics, and win new customers with engaging content.
With the release of 9.5, HyperSTE is now also available as a plugin to easyDITA, which will allow easyDITA users to check their content against style guides and terminology rules to help create clarity and consistency in writing.
But in order to understand the values this brings to easyDITA, let’s first dive into what Simplified Technical English (STE) is.
What is Simplified Technical English (STE)?
Simplified Technical English (STE) is a controlled language developed in 1986 so that second-language speakers of English could clearly understand technical information written in English.
The specification gives technical authors approximately 60 writing rules and a dictionary that contains about 3,000 words (although companies will need to add their own corporate and industry terms as well) to help them improve clarity in writing. When writers use the rules and the approved words, they are more likely to create information that is clear, concise, and universally recognized.
Although the STE specification originates from the aerospace and defense industries, the number of non-aerospace and defense industries requesting a free copy of the specification is more than 60% as STE has proven to be a great basis for anyone’s controlled language efforts.
To read more about the STE specification, please click here.
What Value Does Writing Clarity Bring My Business?
Technical information plays a crucial role in safe product use and maintenance. Technical writers can have different linguistic, cultural, and technical backgrounds, and write for audiences that are non-native English speakers and have diverse cultural and technical backgrounds. English is a rich language with many words having more than one meaning, so it’s easy to get confused. Confusion and misinterpretations can lead to dangerous situations.
Simplified Technical English helps you to create one voice for your customers because it gives all of your writers, wherever they are in the world, a common standard to work with. STE also improves the quality of your writing because it enforces clarity. If end users can easily understand supporting documentation, they are more likely to be satisfied with their product, which will positively affect your company’s reputation and brand.
Simplified Technical English can also create efficiency throughout the product life cycle:
- Shorter time-to-market as STE leads to more efficient writing and editorial processes (writing less content that is more reusable, and faster and cheaper to translate) in the long run
- Efficient installation, commissioning, and training thanks to the short and clear instructions
- Safe and efficient operations, increased productivity, and uptime
- Improved aftermarket business thanks to the consistent use of terminology in (spare) parts, making them easier to find and buy
In addition to making content more reusable due to it being shorter and to-the-point, especially when combined with standards like DITA, STE also facilitates your digitalization, IoT (Internet of Things), and Augmented Reality strategies.
Digitalization is an important industry trend, where companies are digitizing their products and product information to create more value for their customers. STE facilitates this because it allows for digital data, which is now clearer and more concise, to be used — for example — for machine learning (an important aspect of IoT) to make products more intelligent, and augmented reality applications, such as providing field service engineering with interactive and clear instructions on headsets.
HyperSTE in easyDITA & Beyond
Now that we’ve got HyperSTE to keep our technical content clear, concise, and standardized, let’s see how it works. If you’ve ever used the Grammarly application while writing in your web browser or a document, you know how helpful a content checker can be.
With technical content, having the HyperSTE content checker based on the STE standard, you all but eliminate potential confusion by adhering to the standard itself. Furthermore, you’re able to add industry and organization-specific terminologies according to your own style guides and taxonomies.
Take a look at HyperSTE in easyDITA:
As we hop into the easyDITA interface, we select a ditamap file to run a content check on. Once we open the ditamap, we can select individual topics. From there, we’re able to activate the HyperSTE functionality and check the text in the ditamap. HyperSTE analyzes writing based on the adherence to Simplified Technical English, showing us how compliant the writing is and what changes to make to increase that compliance.
It highlights the terms that don’t meet STE writing rules and allows us to change them by hovering over the highlighted terms. Alternatively, we can also have HyperSTE analyze the whole document and look at a fully detailed error breakdown in the HyperSTE dashboard. Here we can see each error, separated by category: terminology and spelling, grammar, length, style and structure, and specific terms.
Users have the option to access HyperSTE natively in easyDITA’s authoring environment and via the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge extension if they wish to use it outside of easyDITA.
Though this example is in easyDITA, HyperSTE supports numerous integrations that aid in standardizing and clarifying your technical writing. You already create purposeful content, but now — with the support of Simplified Technical English embedded in your authoring environment — you can take your content to the next level.
Naturally, metrics, KPIs, and business cases will differ per organization, but the idea remains constant. Having a tool that checks for clarity and consistency based on an international standard helps businesses build content that’s more universally accessible to customers, users, and internal stakeholders.
To learn more about what’s involved in an implementation, check out this page: Clarity in Writing: What’s Involved in an Implementation
They also offer free business case analyses. Want to see what HyperSTE looks like for you? They can help you out. Contact them here.