There are many situations in which you may be asked to explain a process or procedure to a colleague, client, or supervisor. You may need to produce documentation for one person or a large group. You may be required to create documentation that is printed or only available online. The documentation might be in the form of a video that you create, or it may be a combination of different media. Even if you do not anticipate creating documentation professionally, you will work with documentation produced by others. Understanding what makes documentation effective for an audience is a key skill in technical communication. We have all had the experience of using poor documentation in our daily lives.
This assignment asks you to prepare instructions that explain to an audience how to perform a task and to complete a usability test to determine the effectiveness of your work. You will also complete a reflective memo that explains the results of your work. You will submit that reflective memo as a separate assignment.
Your documentation should reflect an understanding of the principles discussed online and in Chapter 27 as well as elsewhere in Anderson’s text.
Creating this documentation will provide you with the opportunity to: understand and respond to the needs of an audience in a particular context practice your document design and page layout skills consider the usability of your document and revise to improve it.
Please choose one of the following options:
- Imagine that a friend of yours at Miami University admires how you do something – it could be cooking a favorite dish, playing a musical instrument, or some other hobby that you have some expertise doing. They ask you to create instructions for them – as a beginner – for how to do what you know how to do.
- If you are in a workplace or volunteering for an organization that can benefit from you creating documentation, such as instructions for how to complete a process or how to open/close a store, you are welcome to use this assignment to create this document.
If you have an additional idea for a project, please let me know. I want this assignment to be as useful to you as possible, so if you feel that you can develop a project idea that meets the requirements of the assignment, please speak with me.
Your documentation can be in any usable form: print, online, video, audio, or some combination. Remember that some media might be more useful than others. Your audience’s needs should dictate the form in which your documentation appears. You will need to incorporate image and text, and you will probably need to use multiple software programs to create this assignment.
- Complete the Canvas assignment Choice of Instruction / Documentation Project that asks you to choose your project by the required due date/time. If you change your topic, you must seek approval from me first. If you submit a project for which you did not receive approval, you will receive a 0 for the assignment.
- Although there is not a required length for this assignment, your documentation must be thorough and detailed enough to be useful. If you have any concerns about length and detail, please speak with me.
- Complete a usability test for your instructions. You can get good advice about planning and implementing a test by visiting this government Web site on usability (链接到外部网站。) testing. Anderson also addresses this.
- Submit your revised instructions or documentation here. Your reflective memo will be submitted separately.
When you submit your documentation, you are also asked to submit a reflective memo. Although there is no length requirement for this assignment, be sure you provide enough details to answer all of the questions effectively.
- Create a properly formatted memo addressed to me, your instructor, that addresses the following questions:
- Who is the audience for your documentation? Why did you choose this audience? What do you know about your audience that is relevant to preparing your documentation?
- How is your documentation “audience-centered”? In other words, what did you do to create these instructions that meets the needs of the particular audience you selected.
- How did you develop your documentation? Provide a narrative that explains the decisions you made.
- What have you done to test the documentation’s usability? What were the results? How did you use the results to improve your documentation?
- What have you learned so far in this class that you have applied to preparing this project?
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