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1st Edition

Guidelines for Developing Instructions





ISBN 9780415322096
Published March 15, 2004 by CRC Press
160 Pages - 73 B/W Illustrations

 
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Book Description

Confusing, inadequate instructions for setting up and using consumer products are not only unhelpful, but potentially dangerous. They may contain wrong information, poor warnings, and no pictures or illustrations. Standards are either non-existent or little known, even though the U.S. government has developed and tested standards for the past thirty years. This book presents a set of guidelines written by The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society that have been tested by human factor specialists. This expert advice is applicable to writing assembly procedures, operational procedures, and user, shop, and repair manuals.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
Expected Mode of Use
Basic Units of Instructions
Considerations for Packaging Information
Components of Instructions

GENERAL PRESENTATION PRINCIPLES
Summary of Principles
Short-Term Memory
Consistency and Fixed Syntax
Text-Graphic
Figure-to-Ground Ratio
Sequence
Multilingual Format

INFORMATION TO PLAN THE WORK
General
Configuration
Prerequisite Conditions
Safety
Help Required
Tools, Equipment, and Supplies
Table of

GRAPHICS
Locators
Detailed View
Types of Graphics
Captions
Callouts
Application Guidelines

LANGUAGE CONTROL
Rules for Command Verbs
Command Verb List
Command Verb Dictionary
Non-Command Verbs
Nouns and Nomenclature
Other Parts of Speech
Abbreviations

TEXT AND FORMAT SPECIFICATIONS AND RULES
Headings
Command Steps
Sequence of Tasks and Steps
Callouts in Text
Sub-Procedures (Procedures within Procedures)
Tables to Supplement Instructions
Guidance and Routing Information (Notes)

PREPARING INSTRUCTIONS
Set Ground Rules
Gather Source Materials
Conduct Analysis
Design
Write and Edit
Conduct a User Test

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR MAINTENANCE
The Inherent Structure of Maintenance
Special Analysis for Troubleshooting
Format for Troubleshooting Instructions

APPENDIX: CHECKLIST FOR DEVELOPING EASY-TO-USE INSTRUCTIONS
Planning Information
Graphics
Language Control
Text and Format
Preparing the Instructions
REFERENCES
INDEX

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Reviews

"I recommend this book to anyone interested in writing effective procedural instructions."
-Ergonomics in Design

"[This book] is a thorough, methodical manual, which delivers just what its title promises. The process of this very specific type of writing is clearly laid out in overview and broken down into manageable steps; clearly this same excellent process was utilized in the preparation of this volume. … Highly recommended for academic, special or public libraries supporting technical writers and those in need of assistance with developing technical materials; in addition, for its attention to detail and the planning process, this source would likely be useful to anyone who develops instructional materials for any audience."
-E-Streams

"In the past, when I have taught a course on task-oriented communication, I have used a [different] text book … . In the future, I will use 'Guidelines for Developing Instructions' instead."
-Technical Communication