Your task is to write a set of instructions related to your major/discipline or career. Please choose something at which you are an expert (or nearly one) and something that most people would not know how to do. Consider your audience to be intelligent but likely unfamiliar with the process.
The main purpose of this assignment is to give you practice in writing instructions, one of the most common types of workplace technical writing. Whether working with office staff, technicians, managers, or executives, technical communicators are frequently called upon to write instructions, such as specific office procedures, training manuals, and safety protocols.
Feel free to look at the sample sets of instructions in this textbook as well as ones found online to help you pick a format and structure—but, of course, your instructions must be your own.
An important aspect of instructional writing is the use of graphics and design: good instructions contain visuals and are designed to be easy to read and understand. Therefore, another important aspect of this assignment is to improve your skills in the use of visuals in technical documents.
*NOTE: Visuals should work to illustrate the writing rather than replacing it; in other words, don’t instruct the reader to complete the step in Figure 1 without also explaining the step in writing.
Your instructions should include both of the following:
- A brief reflective memo:
- Briefly summarize your process of developing and researching your instructions.
- Briefly summarize your audience and purpose.
- Discuss how you assessed your audience’s needs before writing your instructions. What did they already know? What did you have to explain and why?
- Describe your formatting and visuals choices.
- A complete set of printed instructions, including:
- A clear introduction
- Caution, warning, safety notices
- Clear formatting with steps, sections, and subheadings
- Visuals where appropriate (*be sure to properly cite your visuals)
- A conclusion