Procedure writing: As easy as 1, 2, 3? Optional, conditional, and branching steps  ©  Marcia (Riefer Poulsen) Johnston  20...
To view in PowerPoint, press the F5 key (or in the menu bar go to  Slide Show  >  View Show ),  and click through the slid...
What we’ll cover <ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises </li></ul>
What do  all  steps have in common? <ul><li>True sequence 1, 2, 3 a, b, c </li></ul><ul><li>       </li></ul><ul><li>Us...
Definitions <ul><li>Optional step </li></ul><ul><li>A step that you can skip. </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional step </li></ul...
This is a basic (required) step. <ul><li>5. Press the power button. </li></ul>
What kind of step is this? <ul><li>4. If you are not registered on the LAN,  register your computer as a client. </li></ul...
What kind of step is this?   Trick question <ul><li>8. If desired, adjust the screen brightness. </li></ul><ul><li>Optiona...
What kind of step is this? <ul><li>5. Format the diskette. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have a UFS system, type  fdformat ...
What kind of step is this?   Trick question <ul><li>2. To specify the date, click  New . </li></ul><ul><li>Infinitives tha...
What if your steps do this? <ul><li>“ Trying to explain every possible way to complete a task makes a confusing procedure....
Exercise #1  How would you rewrite this? <ul><li>4. Post the file on the intranet if the file  is complete. </li></ul><ul>...
Exercise #2  How would you rewrite this? <ul><li>1. (Optional) Click  Timeout Settings . </li></ul><ul><li>2. Select a tim...
Exercise #3  How would you rewrite this? <ul><li>6. Determine whether to make this printer the default printer. </li></ul>...
Branching: A text-free example <ul><li>Step 3 from the text-free CP 50 electrocardiograph startup guide  </li></ul><ul><li...
Books that I pilfered from <ul><li>Read Me First!   Sun, 2nd edition, 2003, pp 127-132 </li></ul><ul><li>Developing Qualit...
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Procedure Writing

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Procedure writing: As easy as 1, 2, 3? Optional, conditional, and branching steps

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Procedure Writing

  1. 1. Procedure writing: As easy as 1, 2, 3? Optional, conditional, and branching steps © Marcia (Riefer Poulsen) Johnston 2009 [email_address]
  2. 2. To view in PowerPoint, press the F5 key (or in the menu bar go to Slide Show > View Show ), and click through the slides.
  3. 3. What we’ll cover <ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises </li></ul>
  4. 4. What do all steps have in common? <ul><li>True sequence 1, 2, 3 a, b, c </li></ul><ul><li>   </li></ul><ul><li>User action Press this. Open that. (imperative voice) </li></ul>We’ve all seen “steps” like this: Why are these probably not steps? 5. (Optional) Change the circle’s color. 6. (Optional) Change the circle’s size.
  5. 5. Definitions <ul><li>Optional step </li></ul><ul><li>A step that you can skip. </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional step </li></ul><ul><li>A step that you take if and only if… . </li></ul><ul><li>In that case, you can’t skip it. </li></ul><ul><li>Branching step </li></ul><ul><li>A step that gives you choices. </li></ul>
  6. 6. This is a basic (required) step. <ul><li>5. Press the power button. </li></ul>
  7. 7. What kind of step is this? <ul><li>4. If you are not registered on the LAN, register your computer as a client. </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional step </li></ul><ul><li>This step must be done if and only if this condition applies. </li></ul>
  8. 8. What kind of step is this? Trick question <ul><li>8. If desired, adjust the screen brightness. </li></ul><ul><li>Optional step </li></ul><ul><li>This step can be skipped. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearer form: </li></ul><ul><li>8. (Optional) Adjust the screen brightness. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What kind of step is this? <ul><li>5. Format the diskette. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have a UFS system, type fdformat . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have an MS-DOS system, type fdformat -d . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Branching step </li></ul><ul><li>Tip: If the same branches recur, consider separate procedures (UFS system, MS-DOS system). </li></ul>
  10. 10. What kind of step is this? Trick question <ul><li>2. To specify the date, click New . </li></ul><ul><li>Infinitives that directly follow the number are ambiguous. </li></ul><ul><li>Three ways to read this step: </li></ul><ul><li> Click New , and specify the date. </li></ul><ul><li>(Optional) Click New , and specify the date. </li></ul><ul><li>If the date is not specified, click New , and specify it. </li></ul>Required Optional Conditional
  11. 11. What if your steps do this? <ul><li>“ Trying to explain every possible way to complete a task makes a confusing procedure. If there are many ways to perform a task, decide which method you will present (the easiest to learn, the easiest to perform), and then be consistent. Refer to the alternatives in related topics.” </li></ul><ul><li>JoAnn Hackos Standards for Online Communication </li></ul>
  12. 12. Exercise #1 How would you rewrite this? <ul><li>4. Post the file on the intranet if the file is complete. </li></ul><ul><li>One possibility: </li></ul><ul><li>4. If the file is complete, post it on the intranet. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Exercise #2 How would you rewrite this? <ul><li>1. (Optional) Click Timeout Settings . </li></ul><ul><li>2. Select a timeout interval. </li></ul><ul><li>One possibility: </li></ul><ul><li>1. (Optional) Change the timeout interval. a. Click Timeout Settings . b. Select a timeout interval. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Exercise #3 How would you rewrite this? <ul><li>6. Determine whether to make this printer the default printer. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If no, go to Step 7. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If yes, select Default . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One possibility: </li></ul><ul><li>6. (Optional) Select Default . </li></ul>
  15. 15. Branching: A text-free example <ul><li>Step 3 from the text-free CP 50 electrocardiograph startup guide </li></ul><ul><li>Saved us from translating this: “Install the thermal paper. If you have z-fold paper, do this… blah blah blah. If you have roll paper, do that … blah blah blah. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Books that I pilfered from <ul><li>Read Me First! Sun, 2nd edition, 2003, pp 127-132 </li></ul><ul><li>Developing Quality Technical Information IBM, 2nd edition, 2004, pp 41-44 </li></ul><ul><li>Single Sourcing: Building Modular Documentation Kurt Ament, 2003, pp 123 </li></ul><ul><li>Standards for Online Communication JoAnn Hackos & Dawn Stevens, 1997, pp 271-272 </li></ul>
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