Consistency in technical communication means that we’re consistent about grammar, construction, voice, etc, within a document, a set of materials, or an entire system. We generally refer to and follow a style guide that helps us, and our editors, keep us consistent. Software developers follow the same principle. Or at least they should.
Here’s an example where there are obviously three opinions about how to label different versions of the Microsoft Windows OS.
Windows 7 Professional and Windows XP Professional were there first. Next they added Windows 8.1, notice the decimal and one place to the right of the decimal, and the missing Professional. And most recently, they added Windows (Version 10.0). Here notice that they put Version 10.0 in parentheses and again omitted the Professional.
I find this in the recently released Microsoft Update Services 10.0.10514.0.
If I were editing this, I’d change this list to display as:
- Windows 8.1 Pro
- Windows 10.0 Pro
- Windows 7 Pro
- Windows XP Pro
Following a parallel pattern such as this makes it easier to recognize differences.