writing instructions

writing instructions - the safety information follows...

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Lesson 10: Writing Instructions A good set of instructions enables the audience to carry out a task effectively and safely. The writer is an inappropriate person to judge that effectiveness because he or she is too close to the task at hand and not able to distance themselves from the instructions. For that reason, it is always a good idea to ask real users or user surrogates (like your classmates) to test instructions. Nothing shows the writer the deficiencies of instructions quite as effectively as witnessing another person fumble with what seemed to be a simple task. Many aspects of the set of instructions can, of course, be analyzed in the traditional way: by looking carefully at the instructions themselves without trying to perform the task they describe. Among the most common problems are the following: the writer has failed to explain why the task should be carried out; the writer has not described all the necessary tools and equipment;
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Unformatted text preview: the safety information follows, rather than precedes, the pertinent steps; the steps themselves are not consistently numbered and expressed in the imperative mood; the steps contain either too much or too little information; and the writer has failed to include appropriate graphics that would simplify the instructions. These common problems make instruction sets very difficult for users; work to avoid them as you create your own instruction set. Lesson Objectives At the end of this lesson you will be able to: 1. describe the role of instructions in the workplace; 2. explain the importance of assessing audience and purpose when writing instructions; 3. write clear safety information; 4. introduce and conclude instructions effectively; 5. write clear and accurate step-by-step instructions; 6. write effective front and back matter; and 7. differentiate between instructions and descriptions (as discussed in a previous lesson)....
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