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Writing Instructions. Instructions spell out the steps required to complete a particular procedure or task. . Audience Structure Readability. Know your Audience. Self-directed Want a reason Have prior experience Goal oriented Internally motivated. Busy Adults.
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Writing Instructions Instructions spell out the steps required to complete a particular procedure or task. Audience Structure Readability
Know your Audience • Self-directed • Want a reason • Have prior experience • Goal oriented • Internally motivated Busy Adults What attitude are your user’s likely to have?
Instructions Have Structure Beginning Middle End • Title • Purpose • Equipment / materials • Precautions • Step-by-step instructions • Illustrations / pictures • Conclusion • What’s next?
The Title should clearly state the task • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches • How to copy data to your CD • Washing your clothes • Programming your cell phone address book • Acid bath replacement instructions
Goal: Audience: Terms: The Purpose statement should relate the task to your audience Define any specialized terms that appear in your instructions Explain the goal of the instruction. What is the final outcome? When would you use this procedure. State your assumption about the user’s level of technical expertise: high-tech, low-tech, lay person.
Inform the reader about equipment and material requirements • materials • tools • equipment • data Resources Prepare the reader
State precautions up front • Provide warnings and cautions • Use graphics or text • Make it obvious WARNING Always wear a face shield
Provide step-by-step instructions • Analyze the task – Spell out the steps required to complete the task • Use visuals to illustrate steps, if helpful • Give warnings or special notes if needed • Make instructions complete but not excessive
Use illustrations if needed 3. Gather the spilled cement by using two of the cards, one in each hand, as shown below.
http://sailfish.exis.net/~spook/hip.html Make instructions complete but not excessive Handling the Drugged Hippo 1. Wait until the hippo is recumbent. A high-stepping gait indicates that the drug is taking effect. Note: a drugged hippo still cannot be handled safely.Later the animal sits and stands repeatedly before the forelegs collapse and it lies on its sternum. Full immobilization may take an hour. 2. Approach from the rear and stand against the side of the animal. Although the hippo is recumbent, its head remains active, and the animal can bite. Standing against the animal’s side keeps you out of the mouth’s reach.
http://sailfish.exis.net/~spook/hip.html Handling the Drugged Hippo • Wait until the hippo is fully immobilized (see picture). This may takeone hour. NOTE:The animal sits and stands repeatedly before the forelegs collapse and it lies on its sternum. A drugged hippo still cannot be handled safely. • Approach from the rear and stand against the side of the animal. WARNING: Although the hippo is recumbent, its head remains active, and the animal can bite. Standing against the animal’s side keeps you out of the mouth’s reach.
Readability Begin all steps with action verbs, using active voice wrong: The disk should be inserted next. correct: Insert the disk.
Readability • Use short and logically sequenced sentences • Use one sentence for each step, if possible If a step requires two actions, state them in a logical order: wrong: Before switching on the computer, insert the disk in the drive. correct: Insert the disk; then switch on the computer.
Readability Use parallel phrasing Wrong Correct 1. Switch the terminal to “on”. 2. The CONTROL key and C key are pressed simultaneously. 3. Typing LOGON, and pressing the ESCAPE key. 4. Type your user name, and press the ESCAPE key. 1. Switch the terminal to “on”. 2. Press the CONTROL key and C key simultaneously. 3. Type LOGON; then press the ESCAPE key. 4. Type your user name; then press the ESCAPE key.
Conclude your instructions Don’t leave your reader asking “What do I do now?” • Tell the next step • State warranties • Sell the product • Repeat the products uses • Provide corporate credentials or contact information • Provide a troubleshooting guide • Answer FAQs (frequently asked questions)