FIELD TESTING INSTRUCTIONS
A field test is a method of direct observation-s- a method by which you can check the accuracy of your instructions. You ask someone who is unfamiliar with the process you are explaining to follow your instructions while you watch. If you have written the instructions correctly, the reader should be able to perform the entire activity without ever asking any questions. When you field test instructions, keep a record of all the places where the reader either hesitates or asks you a question.One group of instructors recently had to write a set of instructions on how to use a computer -card catalog in a library. They planned the appropriate sequence, subdivided the process into steps, and designed uncrowded pages so that users could overcome their anxiety about using the computer catalog.. When they finished the instructions, they field-tested te results. The test revealed a major fault in the instructions almost immediately. The first person to use the instructions spelled an author’s name wrong. The instructions gave no information on how to undo a spelling mistake. Once they were aware of it, the writers corrected the problem, this example illustrates how easy it is to overlook a small point that C,11 have a major impact on the effectiveness of the instructions.
To write a useful set of instructions, you must carefully plan, test the document. Planning consists of several stages. You must decide whether your audience is at a beginning or intermediate level. You must identify the constraints, emotional or physical, in these situations. You must establish a chronological sequence by determining your end goals then analyze the tasks to be performed by working backwards You also want to tell your readers about any special conditions they should be aware of. You need to choose visual aids (usually drawings or photographs),and you must follow clear design principles so all the steps are easy to grasp. The introduction give the purpose of the instructions: the body contains steps. each numbered for clarity. Effective writers field test and before releasing them to their intended audience.
The model that follows is a set of instructions written for beginners. The introduction presents essential information to orient readers; the body contains
a clear sequence of steps and well-designed pages.
HOW TO MAKE STANDARD·SIZED PHOTOCOPY
The purpose of these instructions is to show you how to make a standard-sized photocopy from a standard-sized original. The instructions assume that the copier is turned on and that you have inserted an Audi tron.
SIN LE-SIDED COPY
- Place the original face down in the feed tray located on the left side of the
copier. The top of the page should face left.
- Make sure the Original Indicator, locate don the left side of the Communications
Monitor, highlights LETTER as in Fig. 1.
- If it doesn’t highlight LETTER, lift the cover of the Special Effects Panel,
located to the lea (If the Communications Monitor
- Press the Original Step.Select Key one or more times until the correct
direction light appears and the word LETTER shows.
- Write a set of instructions for a process you know well. If possible, pick a process that a beginning student in your major will have to perform; otherwise, choose something that you do at a’ job or as a hobby – waxing skis, developing film, ringing up a sale, taking inventory. After you have written the instructions, pair up with a classmate. Outside of class,
field lest each other’s instructions. Note every place that your classmate hesitates or asks a question, and revise your instructions accordingly Use visual aids, and design your pages effectively. Analyze several manuals for using word-processing programs (manuals for Apple Macintosh software programs arc good choices, but any manual is fine, even the instructions that accompany small appliances, such as hand-held calculators). Compare them for page design, and for methods of introducing and handling individual steps, including cautions or explanations of results. Then compare one of the manuals with a technical manual for, say, an electrical generator or some other piece of equipment. Write a memo to a supervisor recommending one of these manuals as a model. Give clear reasons for you choice.
John Deere, Jn~ 430 Will mid Garden Tractor Operator’s Manual. OM-M87456 Issue
H4 Molina, IL:-jhon Deere, Inc., 1985.