Techspirit TickArticles written for publication on Techspirit use an informal, conversational tone, though not at the cost of clarity or correctness. Experts require neither excessive formality nor excessive casualness to express their authority. If you write with TECHSPIRIT’s readership in mind and sound like yourself, you’re most of the way there already.

CONCISE ARTICLES WITH SNAPPY INTROS

Our article space is intentionally limited to 400-600 words . There is no room for meandering, no space for encyclopedic completeness. You need to get in, score, and get out. State your idea clearly and quickly. If your tutorial solves a problem, state the problem. Don’t warm up to your subject by preceding it with generalizations.

KEEP YOUR READERS IN MIND

Techspirit userExperienced web professionals read TECHSPIRIT. If you dumb down your article, you will offend these readers. But our readers come from many backgrounds—take time to define your terms and provide pertinent background information, if only as a link.

ON METAPHORS

Extended metaphors can provide gentle uplift and support. Avoid extended cooking and spell-casting metaphors unless you can carry it off in a truly novel and delightful way.

CLARITY FIRST

Avoid unnecessary jargon, trendy constructions, vagueness, and buzzwords. Omit needless words. Make sure that pronouns point the way to their referents like the tidy signposts they are. Strive for brisk pacing and precise explanation. Limit the use of opaque idioms and pop culture references to non-essential points; no reader should need to be familiar with a particular song or movie to understand your central argument.

IMAGES

Images should be wider than 750px. Images should also be attached separately to the email that you send to us.

If your images are high-DPI, please send both standard and high-DPI versions. For example, if you have a screenshot taken on a Retina device meant to be displayed at full-column width, please send one that is 696px wide, as well as one that is 1392px wide.

PNG, GIF, and JPEG are all acceptable submission formats. GIF or PNG are preferred for images in which text features prominently. (Don’t use JPEG for a gallery of typefaces or a screenshot of a web page.) If you save as GIF, please choose the Perceptual, Selective, or Adaptive color spaces, No Dither, and No Transparency; matte against #fff (white). Please give us high-resolution images; we’ll compress as needed.

AUTHOR BIO AND PHOTO

All final drafts should be accompanied by an author bio and photo. Author bios should be mentioned on the top of the Techwriter template file that you downloaded.

ARTICLE TITLES, HEADLINES, AND SUBHEADS

Title case article titles (each major word is uppercase). Sentence case article headings (only the initial word is uppercase). Neither take terminal punctuation unless a question mark is required. Article titles do not take the serial comma and use the ampersand in place of “and.” Article headings do take the serial comma and use the word “and.”

Markup article headings as h2 and subheads as h3 or h4 as needed.  h1 is reserved for use as a page header.

ELEMENTS

Inline elements should be presented in lowercase to maintain consistency with post-XHTML best practices and improve readability.

LINKING

Choose link text that concisely indicates the nature of the linked document. Do not link terminal punctuation. Prefer shorter links to long ones.

TITLE-ATTRIBUTE TEXT

You may attach title text to some markup elements to convey additional information. Many web browsers display this information when the user’s cursor hovers over a link. A useful title attribute for an outbound link might read:

Title-attribute text uses sentence-casing.

PUNCTUATION

Acronyms and abbreviations: The acronym element is obsolete. Use abbr.

The ampersand: Avoid the use of the ampersand except in article and page titles.

Citations: The titles of books and other major works as well as the titles of magazines and newspapers are marked up with the cite element. The titles of articles and other short works are enclosed in quotation marks.

Commas: Use the serial comma except in article titles.

Company and publication names: Capitalize the names of companies according to each company’s preference unless they begin a sentence, in which case they must be capitalized.

Hyphen’s: Hyphenate compound noun phrases used as adjectives unless the noun phrase is so popularly used that hyphenation appears awkward. Do not hyphenate compound adjectival phrases whose first element is an adverb. And remember—as the man said, “If you take hyphens seriously, you will surely go mad.” (The man being, in this case as in so many others, the Oxford University Press style manual.)

Quotations: Position punctuation according to rules. Use block quotes instead for more substantial quotations. Use the correct (“curly”) symbols, not a double prime.