English Assignment – How To

Assignment Directions

Instructions are important documents in the real world. They are a way companies can connect to their customers, and they structure the way individuals do their jobs. Having correct and detailed instructions can also help ensure everyone does the same thing for the same task, providing consistency. They can show people performing tasks how to do so safely and effectively.

Unfortunately, instructions are often the worst-written documents we encounter: they miss steps, fail to orient the reader to important tools or concepts, assume too much or explain too much, and generally confuse a reader who is already unfamiliar with the task.

Writing instructions is harder than it seems, but more important than we assume.

For this assignment, you will produce a set of written instructions for a task of your choosing. Your instructions will be designed for users who have not necessarily worked through the process that you are describing. Your instructions must include both text and visuals and should allow even novice users to move successfully through your selected step-by-step process.

Your final instructions should:
    Be 250 – 500 words long
    Include 5 individual steps
    Include 5 accompanying images
    You should not be copying your steps from a sourcethese should be your own steps to complete a task.
 
This project will be both an exercise in writing effective instructions as well as clear document design that makes effective use of headings, bullets, lists, body text, and image placement.

Some sample tasks include:
    cropping and resizing images in Photoshop
    how to test soil
    scanning with an HP scanner
    how to make beeswax candles
    building a campfire

Some tips on choosing a task:
    Choose a task you are reasonably familiar with. If you are a novice, you might miss steps and mislead the reader unknowingly.
    Choose a task with specific steps that arent based on technique. How to sink a free throw or how to ballroom dance are interesting topics, but a readers success will depend on form, not function.
    Choose something appropriately complex. How to fix a blister involves too few steps for an effective project.

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