Word count: 350, please read the example, there is one similar can help work with this one.
Instructions spell out the steps necessary to complete a task or set of tasks. For this assignment, you will compose a set of instructions for a general audience. Choose for the task an activity or process with which you are very familiar. I have seen good student instructions for inserting an acupuncture needle into a trigger point, planning character strategy for a computer game, soldering fine metals for jewelry, binding a quilt, and parsing a string of hexadecimal characters to decimal numbers.
Note: Make sure that the task is sufficiently complex to required detailed instructions. Tying a tie or shoelaces, taking a shower in a certain time limit, adopting a cat from a shelter, etc., are not sufficiently complex.
You should assume that you are writing to a non-specialist audience. As such, your audience does not share your specialized knowledge or vocabulary as applied to your task. Thus, you will need to define the terms and describe the equipment necessary to following your instructions.
Some Elements of Usable Instructions
- Clear and limiting title that accurately defines the task at hand
- Introduction: Provide background and explain the benefits of performing the task
- Logically ordered steps: usually chronological order
- Division of complex tasks into sections with sub-steps
- Appropriate level of detail
- Helpful images*
- Hazard notes and warnings
- Language of instruction: imperative mood, direct address, and active verbs
- Page design and text layout that lends itself to rapid comprehension
*Please feel free to use images! You can draw your own, thoughtfully borrow from the Internet, take your own pics, etc. Just be consistent and choose your images wisely – make sure they help rather than distract.
As single-spaced instructions are easier to follow, you may single-space this assignment. In fact, you may experiment more broadly with page designs that you think organize and present your instructions in the most usable fashion. *This supersedes the general submission guidelines in the syllabus. I do, however, want to see a word count.*
- Divide the task into two or three major sections and title them. The more specific your title is, the more helpful it will be to the reader.
- Working from the titled sections, draft out as many steps as necessary for each. You may want to bullet or number the steps in each section. Anticipate as best you can what a non-specialist might need to know in order to follow your instructions. Consider whether visual aids are necessary and what hazards might need to be avoided along the way.
- Write an introduction. This is the place to provide background information and also an explanation as to why someone might want to perform the task in the first place. For instance, why in the world might someone want to transform his or her bicycle from a multi-geared bike, to a bike with a single gear and without the capacity to coast? What are the benefits to completing your set of instructions?