5th Edition

Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings, Fifth Edition

By Patricia A. Robinson Copyright 2020
    338 Pages 4 Color & 55 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    338 Pages 4 Color & 55 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Technology is changing the way we do business, the way we communicate with each other, and the way we learn. This new edition is intended to help technical writers, graphic artists, engineers, and others who are charged with producing product documentation in the rapidly changing technological world. While preserving the basic guidelines for developing manuals and warnings presented in the previous edition, this new edition offers new material as well, including a much-expanded section on hazard analysis.


    • Provides more explicit guidance on conducting a hazard analysis, including methods and documentation
    • Offers in-depth discussion of digital platforms, including video, animations, and even virtual reality, to provide users with operating instructions and safety information
    • Incorporates current research into effective cross-cultural communication—essential in today’s global economy
    • Explains new US and international standards for warning labels and product instructions
    • Presents expanded material on user analysis, including addressing generational differences in experience and preferred learning styles

    Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings, Fifth Edition explores how emerging technologies are changing the world of product documentation from videos to virtual reality and all points in between.

    Part 1: Product Safety in the 21st Century. 1. The Changing Landscape. 2. Know Your Users and Your Product’s Hazards. Part 2: The Making of a Manual (Or More Than One!). 3. Designing a User-Friendly Manual. 4. What You See is What You Read…or Not. 5. A Picture is Worth…It Depends. 6. Thinking Outside the Books. 7. Special-Purpose Manuals. Part 3: You Have Been Warned. 8. The Duty to Warn. 9. Warnings that Work. Part 4: Making It Work in the Real World. 10. Who Writes a Manual? 11. Integrated Product Safety: The Manual is Just the Beginning.


    Patricia A. Robinson has been involved in technical writing for forty years. After earning her Ph.D. (in a different field) she joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering where she taught technical writing for thirteen years. During her tenure at the University, the technical communication program grew from a single report-writing course into a full certificate program. She served as the first Director of that program. Dr. Robinson also served as program director and primary instructor for continuing education seminars for practicing technical writers and engineers, covering everything from Effective Speaking to Managing the Technical Publications Department. An early invitation to teach an in-plant course on operator manuals for a farm implement manufacturer led to an unexpected—but greatly satisfying—career focus on instructions and warnings.

    Dr. Robinson is the author of Fundamentals of Technical Writing and co-author of Effective Writing Strategies for Engineers and Scientists. She has also published articles in various professional journals and presented papers at professional conferences. She is a regular speaker at product liability seminars on the role of instructions and warnings. Dr. Robinson is a Full Member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, a member of IEEE, and a member of the ANSI Z535.6 subcommittee.

    As owner of Coronado Consulting Services, LLC, Dr. Robinson consults widely for industry both in the United States and internationally, and occasionally provides expert testimony related to instructions and warnings. Dr. Robinson presently makes her home in a small southern Arizona community, where horses and cattle considerably outnumber humans. She can be reached at [email protected].

    "Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings is intended as a reference fortechnical writers, marketing directors,

    product safety managers, and anyone involved with or interested in manuals, manufacturing, and safety. This book

    has been the authoritative resource in instructional writing and manual design since its first published edition

    in 1984."

    -Michael Opsteegh, Certified Technical Professional Communicator