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Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors, Second Edition by Elizabeth Wilde, Shannon Rouiller, Deirdre Longo, Polly Hughes, Ann Kilty Hernandez, Michelle Carey, Gretchen Hargis

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Chapter 6Concreteness

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You look at me as if you're in a daze

It's like the feeling at the end of a page

When you realize you don't know what you just read.

—Missing Persons

Concreteness in technical information communicates what people can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch—not just what they can think or imagine. It deals with material things and physical actions in the real world, the nitty-gritty.

Many technical subjects, such as relational database access, inheritance among classes, and communication protocols, are abstract. Users cannot experience them directly, as they can see and touch the concrete blocks in a building, for example. ...

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