edc_2011_22 - Chapter 22: Instructions CHAPTER 22:...

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Chapter 22: Instructions 221 CHAPTER 22: INSTRUCTIONS Chapter outline Planning Organizing Testing and revising Key guidelines for instructions Write an introduction that explains what the instructions will enable readers to do List the materials and equipment in a logical order Keep each step short and on a separate line To make a long list of steps easier to follow, break them into catego- ries Use pictures to illustrate the steps Warn readers of dangers and hazards in emphatic terms Test a draft of the instructions with a user and then revise accordingly Depending on your project, you may need to write instructions for users to build, operate, fix, or maintain your design. For example, a toy designed for children with disabilities might include instructions for assembling, cleaning, storing, and safely using the toy. In addition, you may find it useful to write informal instructions for teammates to help them complete different tasks. It’s wise to draft instructions early because doing so can help you figure out specifications and uncover problems with a design. In addition, you may need to draft instructions for users who will test design mockups. 22.1 PLANNING As with all technical writing, keep in mind the purpose, audience, and tone when writing instructions.
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Chapter 22: Instructions 222 22.1.1 Purpose Think of your purpose as defining the task or tasks that users will be able to perform as a result of reading the instructions, and state this purpose in the introduction. For instance, here’s the first sentence of a set of instructions: “These instructions will lead you through the process of safely and efficiently setting up the wheelchair ramp for Northshore Opera Company perfor- mances.” When instructions explain more than one major task, the introduction should state the multiple purposes. Here’s an example from the instructions written to accompany a design for a footrest attachment to a highchair: “In these instruc- tions, you will learn how to attach the footrest safely and securely, adjust it according to the child’s height, and detach it for cleaning.” Notice how the multiple purposes are described in grammatically parallel phrases (a series of verbs). 22.1.2 Audience Before you write your instructions, ask yourself: Who is the audience? How experienced are they with this kind of procedure? Are they familiar with the technical terms and equipment referred to in the instructions? What will their attitude be as they begin using the instructions? Will the audience use the instructions independently or will they first be trained and then use the instructions as a reference? Can the audience use the instructions either spread out on a surface or
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This note was uploaded on 05/30/2011 for the course MATH 203 taught by Professor Xia during the Summer '00 term at Culver-Stockton.

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edc_2011_22 - Chapter 22: Instructions CHAPTER 22:...

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