Presentation on theme: "Technical Writing: Process and Product 5th Edition"— Presentation transcript:
1Technical Writing: Process and Product 5th Edition Steven M. GersonSharon J. GersonPearson Education/Prentice Hall
2Chapter 12: Instructions and User’s Manuals This chapter discusses the following:ObjectivesCriteria for Writing Short InstructionsCriteria for Writing a User’s ManualProcess
3A primary job of technical writers is to write instructions. ObjectivePeople use equipment or make products that require instructions—every day.Examples:NOTE:A primary job of technical writers is to write instructions.operating machineryinstalling equipmentmaintaining equipmenttesting componentscleaning a productmonitoring a systemrepairing equipmenttroubleshooting a mechanismcaring for livestockcaring for plantssetting up a systemassembling a productbuilding a deckmaking a cake
4Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (1-3 pages) TitleTopicFunction (purpose of the instruction)TopicX320Z Radon ExtractorInstallation ProceduresFunction
5Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) OrganizationIntroductionName the productState the purpose of the instructionList the number of stepsProduct namePurposeThe X320Z Radon Extractor removes hazardous gases from your house. Installing this mechanism requires only 10 simple steps.# of steps
6Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Organization (cont.)Optional componentsRequired toolsInclude graphics to help lay readers
7Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Organization (cont.)Optional componentsHazards notationsDanger—the potential for deathWarning—the potential for injuryCaution—the potential for damage to equipmentInclude icons for visual impact
8Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Sample hazard alert
9Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Organization (cont.)BodyOrganize steps chronologicallyDevelop points thoroughlyConclusionState warrantiesSell the productRepeat the products usesProvide corporate credentials or contact informationProvide a troubleshooting guideAnswer FAQs (frequently asked questions)
10Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Audience RecognitionIs your audience High-tech, Low-tech, Lay, or combinations of all (Multiple)?Write to your audience’s level of understanding.
11Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) GraphicsPeople read instructions when they are unfamiliar with a product.Graphics help them visualize the steps.
12Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) StyleNumber the steps (for future reference)Use highlighting techniques (color for hazards; graphics for visualization, for example)Don’t overload steps—one action per step is enough.
13Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Develop points thoroughly.Define termsProvide detailed stepsBAD—too vagueGood DetailAdd enough air to inflate the tire.Add air up to 32 psi (pounds per square inch) to inflate the tire.How much is “enough”?“Enough” is 32 psi (defined parenthetically)
14Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Write concisely (short words, phrases, and sentences).Begin steps with verbs.BADGOOD1. You might want to consider tightening the clamp.1. Tighten the clamp.The verb “Tighten” makes the step a required action.Without a verb, this is not a required action.
15Criteria for Writing Short Instructions (cont.) Personalize text with pronouns.Do not omit articles (“a,” “an,” “the”).Article1. Use the 2” angle-edge brush to paint your window ledges.Personalized pronoun
16Criteria for Writing a User’s Manual (longer instructions) Long User’s Manuals include all of the topics already discussed:GraphicsHazardsRequired toolsDetailed information geared toward the audienceAn appropriate style (numbered steps, articles, verbs, personalization, etc.)
17Criteria for Writing a User’s Manual (longer instructions) Long User’s Manuals include the following additional information:Cover pageTopicFunction (purpose)GraphicTable of contents
18Criteria for Writing a User’s Manual (longer instructions) IntroductionPersonalized, positive toneEmphasizing the value and importance of the instructionGlossary—defining acronyms, abbreviations, and high-tech termsTechnical descriptions (optional)
19Criteria for Writing a User’s Manual (longer instructions) Warranties/guarantees (optional)Parts lists/accessories (optional)FAQs (optional)Corporate Contact information
20Process To ensure the success of your instruction, Prewrite Write
21Process (cont.) Prewriting techniques Gather data, determine your audience, decide on goals, and envision layout as follows:Brainstorm/list the components of your topicCreate a flowchart itemizing the steps in chronological orderUse storyboarding to determine layout
22Process (cont.) Writing Review the criteria for successful instruction.Review your prewriting.Draft your text.
23Process (cont.) Rewriting Revise the rough draft by Adding detail for clarityDeleting dead words and phrases for concisenessSimplifying terms for easy understandingMoving text for emphasisReformatting for easy accessEnhancing the toneCorrecting errors for professionalism