Instructions & Usability Test


The main purpose of this assignment is to give you practicein writing instructions, one of the most common kinds of technicalcommunication you will do in the workplace and in your day-to-day life. Somecommon reasons for writing instructions include

             specifyingdetails of technical activities,

             describingoffice procedures,

             preparingtraining manuals,

             explaininghow to operate computer programs, etc.

An important aspect of writing instructions is usinggraphics and design: good instructions contain graphics and are designed to beeasy to read and understand. Therefore, another important purpose of thisassignment is to improve your skills in the visual dimension of technicalcommunication.


You work in a field related to your major and yoursupervisor asks you to create instructions for something you do daily at work.The audience of the instructions is entry-level interns majoring in that fieldbut who have no experience with the job or any specialized tools it requires.

Your instructions should describe a simple, easily-conductedprocess related to your major, one that can be completed in one sitting. Avoidillegal, unethical, and potentially dangerous topics, but try to make itsomething interesting.

Your audience is a non-specialist audience. Assume that youruser is completely ignorant of the task at hand. I want to see you thinkthrough everything involved, even with a simple topic, and be very clear.Remember, you will have someone test your instructions before you submit thedocument to D2L.

Deliverables (3)

1. Submit your TOPIC only to the Instructions &Usability Test assignment dropbox by the end of this module.

You have the weekend to decide on your topic. You will needto submit your topic to this dropbox by the end of this module. I will reviewand approve them promptly after. You don’t need anything special for the topicsubmission, a simple “How to create a vector image in Adobe Illustrator”will do. Please begin the title with “How to…” You can write yourtopic into a Word doc and submit it in the same dropbox as the assignment.

Here are some topic idea examples. How to:

             constructa model for architectural planning

             editpictures in Adobe Photoshop

             create agraphic to display data visually

             useadvanced features of Adobe Acrobat

             write asimple computer program

             create abasic infographic in Adobe Spark

             create amodel for the best pumpkin launcher

             create aweb site home page in Adobe Spark

             performfirst aid or CPR

2. Submit a complete set of instructions AND the usabilitytest , along with a photo of your tester (taking the test) by the due date.Instructions must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document to the instructions& usability test assignment dropbox.

A complete instruction set will include the following parts:

             a titlepage with the author’s (your) full name. Focus it on the task’s audience, notthe class assignment.

             a tableof contents, auto-generated in Word. Here’s a tutorial for it:

             a briefintroduction (indicate the specific tasks or procedure to be explained as wellas the scope of coverage, the audience, a general idea of the procedure,indicate the time needed to complete.)

             a technicaldefinition and description of the software, device, etc. about which you areinstructing.

             cautionsand safety notices (include ANSI- or ISO-compliant safety information, asappropriate): warnings, hazards, etc.

             parts orequipment list

             1-3 pages(max) of step-by-step instructions


o             you mustinclude visual elements, and they should be created by you (whether it’s aphoto or a graphic). Please do not pull images from the Internet without citingthe source. If you use an image you did not create, you must cite the source.

o             allgraphic elements must have a caption (for example, Figure 1: Widgetconfiguration).

             aconclusion with a feedback statement

             anyrelevant back matter; this can include troubleshooting information if required


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