Instruction manuals 120412

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Superstructure for writing an instruction manual

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Instruction manuals 120412

  1. 1. Writing Instruction Manuals The Last Powerpoint of the Semester
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda Writing Instruction Manuals One last chance at Presentations Workshop Time Grade Conferences Course Assessments
  3. 3. Questions Readers Ask Most Often What will these instructions help me do? Is there anything special I need to know to be able to use these instructions effectively? If I’m working with equipment, where are the parts I need to use? What materials, equipment, and tools do I need? Once I’m ready to start, what – exactly – do I do? If something isn’t working correctly, how do I fix it?
  4. 4. Superstructure for Instructions Introduction Description of Equipment List of Materials and Equipment Needed Directions Troubleshooting
  5. 5. Preparing Instructions Usability objective is obvious – to enable readers to perform a procedure Persuasive objective – to read the instructions at all
  6. 6. Conducting Research Depends on how well you know the subject For the assignment, show some outside research from another credible source or diagrams.
  7. 7. Planning Organize directions hierarchically List all the steps in the process Group together some steps if the instructions are long Graphics can be extremely effective Page design will help readers find their place. Consider subheadings, for instance. Color can help in some limited instances.
  8. 8. Drafting and Revising Write clearly and succinctly Use as few words as possible. When revising, consider showing someone else your draft.
  9. 9. Crafting - Introduction As short as possible Most don’t need one For this assignment, give a little context “This manual tells you how to…” Purpose Intended Audience Scope Conventions used in the manual  “Left and right refer to a user facing the dashboard.”
  10. 10. Safety Warning Stand out visually Place them before the action State the nature of the hazard Steps to avoid damage
  11. 11. Crafting - Equipment Describe what equipment is needed Diagrams List all items needed to perform the task
  12. 12. Crafting - Directions Give only enough information to perform the next step Present the steps in a list Use the active voice and imperative mood  Give commands. “Stop the engine” as opposed to “You should stop the engine.” Highlight key words
  13. 13. Sample – Make a PB & J Sandwich You’ll need:  Bread  PB & J  Hunger Warning: PB & J Sandwich presents a choking hazard. Use caution when eating this sandwich. Step 1: Get bread Step 2: Spread PB & J on bread Step 3: Put bread together Step 4: Eat sandwich Step 5: Enjoy (and don’t choke)
  14. 14. Crafting - Directions Help readers locate the next step  Number the steps  Leave white space between steps  Give one action per step  Put step numbers in their own column  Align them separately from the instructions
  15. 15. Crafting - Directions Distinguish Actions from Supporting Information  Spread PB & J on bread  Bread should be covered in PB & J Group related steps under headings  This helps readers find the portion of the instructions they need
  16. 16. Crafting - Directions Use many graphics  Show where objects are  How to perform steps  What should result
  17. 17. Crafting - Directions Present Branching Steps Clearly  If PB & J is fresh, continue to step 4  If PB & J is moldy, throw it out and acquire new PB & J
  18. 18. Crafting - Directions Explain what to do in case of a mistake or unexpected result  Acquire PB & J Note: If PB & J is on fire, do not acquire. Call 911.
  19. 19. Troubleshooting Answers to the various problem Table Format helps Error Cause Remedy My PB&J is not tasty You may not like it. Don’t eat it. My PB&J is outside You closed the bread Do it right. the bread. wrong.
  20. 20. Sample Instructions Check page 663 for a longer, more serious, sample.
  21. 21. Presentations? If you haven’t presented, today is the last day for making one up.

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