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Feb 3

Page history last edited by Jared 6 years, 3 months ago

On Deck:

  • Discussion of what makes project two good
  • Discussion of what's due this week
  • Three Rounds of Practice with instruction sets 

 

Due Next Class:

  1. ReadCh. 14 “Creating Reader-Centered Graphics” and Ch. 16 “Designing Reader-Centered Pages and Documents” inTC. 

  2. Read:  How to Contribute to WikiHow 

  3. ReadHow to Format a WikiHow Article 

  4.  On your Roster, create a page called "'X's Project 2 Planning Guide"  for your chosen instruction set, which should include:
    1. A brief "Definition of your Goals" including your 'obvious goal' and your less obvious 'persuasive goal' (p. 574-5)

    2. A brief analysis of your Intended Readers responding to the Six Questions on p. 573

    3. A brief analysis of the Wikihow community.  Whether you are responding to a "requested topic" or pitching a topic of your own, you should look at comparable entries.  Link to two comparable Wikihow entries and analyze them briefly.  Note briefly what similarities and differences your page will have, and what good/bad ideas you could borrow or avoid.

    4. A brief statement of the research you will need to do as you draft your instruction set.

    5. A full draft of all steps in the "Directions" or "Procedure" -- including the headings you will use to group the steps.

    6. An example of one potential graphic and notes on how you created it


Recall our Overview of Chapter 28

  • Introduces the superstructure for instructions, a type of writing that most employees compose at sometime in their careers.
  • This chapter’s advice applies to both printed and online instructions.
  • Graphics are especially useful in instructions.
  • This chapter models for students the strategies for preparing effective instructions.
  • The exercises require students to analyze both print and online instructions.

Writing How-To Documents

What Makes Instruction Documents Good?

 

 

Knowing your Readers or User Group

 

 

In the case of your projects, it would likely be best to seek advice from the members who most fit the bill of your project’s likely user (i.e., the one who does not already know how to do the process but who might be interested in learning it).  You will need to apply "the questions users ask" (p. 573) from Anderson in an audience analysis.  

 

Using the Superstructure for Instructions 

 

Given the knowledge base we are contributing to (wikiHow), your Introduction section will be critical.  This introduction is an "overview" and will likely be most important as an opportunity to let a reader know if the tutorial is “right for them” – you should target their potential interest but also be open about the relative difficulty or ease of the project (consider, for example, the entry on How to Migrate to Open Source Software; for a negative example, see How To Cheat on a Test). Sections on such items as "Description of the Equipment" and "List of Materials and Equipment" (or “Things You’ll Need” and/or “Ingredients”), "Troubleshooting"  and possible risks (or “Warnings”) are integrated into wikiHow‘s format, so you can include that information in those places rather than in the overview.

 

Writing Usable Steps

 

Key strategies for composing usable steps in a how-to is include dividing each action into its own step, using chronological order, and putting your statements in the imperative  (see the entry on How to Make a French Breakfast for imperative and non-imperative phrasings.)

 

Subdividing Processes

 

Dividing instructions into not only individual steps, but also subsections dedicated to smaller segments of the overall process (“chunking”), will make them more attractive to a potential user and more valuable once they are using them. Due to the format of our knowledge base, you might also be able to incorporate existing tutorials into your how-to. (Consider the subdivision that takes place in the tutorial on How To Paint the Interior of a House)

 

Illustrating Procedures

 

Illustrations might be a necessary tool for your instruction set, or they might just be useful as “eye relief” or an attention-getting device. You might, for instance, need to use screen shots if you are relating a software process (cf.How to Remove Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications or How To Rip a DVD with DVD Decrypter). If you are providing instructions that contain multiple physical manipulations, particularly ones that are very precise or may be unfamiliar to your reader, you might need to provide an image for all or most steps (cf. How To Fold a Towel Monkey). For both of these cases, you may use some combination of the three categorical text-visual relationships your text describes: supplementary, complimentary, or redundant. If your how-to does not necessarily need illustrations to make instructions clear to your reader, you might provide one or more “background” visuals to make the document more visually appealing (cf.How to Save a Wet Cell PhoneHow to Cheat a Polygraph Test, or How to Flirt).

 

Doing Usability Testing

 

 

Usability testing is one of your easiest and most valuable ways to gauge the success of your how-to before its submission. We will recruit classmates, but I would also recommend recruiting friends and family to try out your instructions in order to iron out any kinks.


 


Learning By Doing:  Let’s Practice Writing Instructions!

 

Round One:

   With a team of three, on paper, create instructions for the image below in less than 10 minutes:

  1.  Create a title.

  2.  Write a caption for each panel with no more than 6 words per panel.

  3.  Determine a use for the blank panel.  Describe a picture, write a caption, and indicate where it should go in the sequence.


Round Two:

Let’s try with something a little more complex like Ikea Instructions.

 

Using this link or your own internet search, find a set of fake or real Ikea Instructions.  Select something with several steps (preferably four or more) and not offensive.  

 

Complete the following on a team page.  Then link us to that page in the comments below (and if you want to win today's challenge, include your names).  You have 30 minutes:

 

  1. Post the image you chose (right click, “Copy Image” then paste it a new page linked on your roster page.  Or upload it properly).

  2. Translate the Swedish (or, faux Swedish) title and provide a new one using a phrase such as “How to…” or “Building a…”

  3. Apply the "Superstructure for Instructions" (Anderson p. 574) to the instructions, adding an introduction before the image, description of the equipment, and list of materials.

  4. For the "Directions" section: write a short passage, at least two sentences or bullet point entry, for each image. 

  5. If you have time, write a brief 'troubleshooting' section.

     

  6. If you have time, comment on what images and instructions you may change, delete, or add for better comprehension.


 

Round Three: Become a Contributor (writer/reviser) on Wikihow


 

  1. Register for WikiHow and perform the following Instruction set REVISION tasks (before class ends):
    1. On "Tips Patrol" delete or publish a tip
    2. On "Knowledge Guardian" make a suggestion about improving an article (yes, maybe, not sure, no)
    3. On "Patrol Recent Changes" mark an entry as patrolled (making changes if necessary!) 
  2. Before you leave, review your favorite of "The 17 Most Perfect Wikihow Articles Ever Written" and how your team would contribute something equally perfect to this entry.

 


Next class we will:

  1. Share instructions and talk about how we are planning to arrange and group them.  We will also discuss potential teams/collaborations for this project (teamwork encouraged but not required for this project). We will then draft and develop our instructions and graphics.

  2. Begin drafting instructions.  Students will work on their instructions, drafting their steps, making rough sketches of visual aids, and so on. I will spend most of my time circulating, making suggestions, asking questions, reading over shoulders to assist students..

 

Due Next Class:

  1. ReadCh. 14 “Creating Reader-Centered Graphics” and Ch. 16 “Designing Reader-Centered Pages and Documents” inTC. 

  2. Read:  How to Contribute to WikiHow 

  3. ReadHow to Format a WikiHow Article  

  4. On your Roster, create a page called "'X's Planning Guide"  for your chosen instruction set, which should include:

    1. A brief "Definition of your Goals" including your 'obvious goal' and your less obvious 'persuasive goal' (p. 574-5)

    2. A brief analysis of your Intended Readers responding to the Six Questions on p. 573

    3. A brief analysis of the Wikihow community.  Whether you are responding to a "requested topic" or pitching a topic of your own, you should look at comparable entries.  Link to two comparableWikihow entries and analyze them briefly.  Note briefly what similarities and differences your page will have, and what good/bad ideas you could borrow or avoid.

    4. A brief statement of the research you will need to do as you draft your instruction set.

    5. A full draft of all steps in the "Directions" or "Procedure" -- including the headings you will use to group the steps.

    6. An example of one potential graphic and notes on how you created it