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Assignment 2: Instruction Set

Draft: 3.2 | Final: 3.7

Purpose: Whether its telling users how to run a piece of computer software, training a new
colleague in how to operate a machine, or helping fellow scientists across the globe replicate
your experimentclear and easy to follow instructions are key to technical communication.

Task: In Assignment 2 you will create an instruction set for 1 specific technical process for a
technical program, machinery, or scientific equipment you are familiar with. Your topic should
fit into the format: How to perform X process using X device. I do not care what the technical
device isCAD software, Photoshop, Web Design, microscopy, excel, a Bunsen burner, a
geological surveying tool, a telescope, a tire gaugeall I care is that you are explaining how to
do some process that uses some kind of technical device.

Type: The process need not be hyper-complex. In fact, you should assume that youre
introducing someone that doesnt have much (if any) background knowledge to your process.
Your instructor should be able to understand your process. Good projects for this assignment
often explain a process youve learned in another class to a younger student who has yet to take
that class. To make your instruction set, use all the resources at your commandimages, screen
capture, videos, etc.

Test: Before you submit your instructions you will test them in 2 ways:
1. Walk through the instruction set with the technology yourself
2. Watch someone else (a friend, roommate, or classmate) walk through the technology

Deliverables: For your final project you will submit 1 version of this instruction set:
1. PDF version

User Data: In addition to your instructions themselves, you will turn in:
1. A user persona
2. Proof of data collected from at least 1 SME: Quotes, photos, etc.
3. Design justification explaining to your instructor how you collected and incorporated
user data, chose to design your document, and anything you struggled with.

Layout: Your Instruction set should begin by following the basic outline in Anderson
1. Introduction and Background
What will these instructions help me do?
Is there anything I need to know to be able to use these instructions effectively?
Includes subject, purpose of procedure, intended readers, scope, organization,
conventions, motivation, and safety.
An overview of the steps needed to complete the task
Definitions of terms or concepts they need to know before they proceed
Cautions or warnings that apply to the task as a whole
A sense of how long the task should take
Where readers should perform the task (i.e. in a well ventilated area, outside, on a flat
surface, etc.)

2. List of Materials
Before she begins to follow the set of instructions, is there certain equipment that your
reader needs to collect? Are there special things to pay attention to/collect while
performing the experiment?
Where do I gather materials from?
Are there tools I need? What are they and what do they look like? A visual list might
help.

3. List of Steps and Sub-Steps


Once Im ready to start, what exactly do I do?
Written for scanning, rapid comprehension, action-oriented headings, branching steps
clearly represented, notes on what might go wrong on specific steps.
Should be a numbered list.
Use the imperative mood or imperative voice.
Phrase each step clearly and concisely.
Provide feedback that informs the reader what will happen after they complete each
step.
Include warnings or cautions before readers will encounter problems.
Break long lists into sections with appropriate sub-headings.

4. Trouble-Shooting Tips
Something isnt working correctly. How do I fix it?

5. Glossary of Key Terms and Definitions


Key terms that you might have to use that I might not know.
Key websites and other sources of information that might prove useful.

Information on User Personas:


http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/personas.html
https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08/a-closer-look-at-personas-part-1/
http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/creating-personas/

Information on Empathy Mapping:


http://www.copyblogger.com/empathy-maps/
https://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/themes/dschool/method-cards/empathy-map.pdf
Instruction Set: Rubric
_______Use: (30 Points)
Are appropriate measurements of the time it takes to do things, the size, and weight of things
(if applicable) clear?
Are the feedback mechanisms cleardo you cue the reader into what the thing should look
like at each stage of the project? Should there be more? Consider all the sensory cues that are
necessary for the user to know they are doing a good job. What message will appear? What
should I see? What noise should I hear? What pop should I feel? What should I smell?
Are tips and warnings helpful? Do they occur before the step they describe? Could there be
more?
Do the instructions teach you not only how but why to do and avoid doing things?

_______Language: (25 Points)
Is there any unclear/too specific language that needs to be explained better?
Are technical terms well defined throughout and do you avoid confusion?
Is the tone appropriate for the subject matter? It can be creative.
In general, is the instruction set well writtenfree from errors (see our grammar
worksheets)?

_______Design: (20 Points)
Is some attempt at creativity/style made?
Scannable/Dual-Stream: Clear visual hierarchy of fonts, indents, bullets, numbers, and sizes
Are the images clear? Are they from the appropriate angle, big enough, etc.? Do the
instructions need more? Where? Are the images labeled with figure numbers and captions?
Are there both steps (individual actions) and stages (larger groups)? Do either the step of
stage have too much information in them?
Is there a well thought out color and font scheme?

_______5 Instruction Set Parts: (10 Points)
Intro, List of Materials, Steps, Trouble Shooting, and Glossary
Dont forget an informative title, page numbers, and a title page as well

_______Extras: (15 Points)
User Persona
Documented Subject Matter Expert Advice



_______Total: (100 Points)