English 300: Technical Writing

English 300: Technical Writing

English 300: Technical Writing

English 300: Technical Writing
Eastern Kentucky University
Dr. Rick Mott
rick.mott@eku.edu
x3190
Instruction Manuals
I would like you to create:
1. a set of instructions with a minimum of 20 steps
2. a cover document introducing the instruction manual
3. a memo detailing the results of your user test
1. The instructions will describe some process in sufficient detail that readers can perform the
described process. Refer to Chapter 23 for details – remember to include all of the following
components in your manual:
• Table of Contents
• Introduction
• Description of Equipment
• List of Materials and Equipment Needed
• Directions
• Troubleshooting
The instructions will vary greatly in terms of length and chosen medium – remember online
alternatives as well as traditional and non-traditional paper products. As the book explains, all
manuals should:
• include interesting and persuasive text
• incorporate abundant and appropriate visuals
• be designed to support your readers’ unconventional reading style
• be tested on the appropriate target audience
Make sure your text and visuals are big enough to be easy to read, and that you test your
instructions on a friend (see point #3) to make sure you’re really saying what you think you’re
saying.
English 300 – Technical Writing
EKU
Dr. Rick Mott
Page 2
2. In your ½ - 1-page cover memo, I want you to assume I'm your supervisor and I've given you
the project of creating this set of instructions. Please tell me the purpose of this manual, the
intended target audience, and the situations in which the manual will be used (information which
might well be duplicated in the introduction section of your instruction manual). Remember to
highlight for me any parts of the project that you feel need explaining or are particularly
impressive. Make sure you employ the appropriate tone in your cover memo.
3. Perform a usability test of your instructions with someone from your target audience (who’s
nice enough to perform a usability test for you). Next, write a 1-2 page memo detailing the
experience. At a minimum, make sure you answer the following questions:
• Who performed the test, when, and where?
• How does the person taking the test fit your target audience?
• Where did the test-taker encounter difficulties with your instructions?
• How did you revise the instructions to prevent confusion in the future?
(Be specific and detailed when describing how you revised the instructions.)

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