Keep it simple but clearly identify the task that will be performed. Use a “how to” or gerund (ing verb) when crafting it. Make sure the title adequately reflects the product and process users will be working on. It should be simple and clear.
The goal of the introduction is to give general information about the process. What is it? Why should it be done? It is an overview of the process and why it is important. Often times, the writer lists the benefits of completing the process so that the reader feels good about the task he or she is about to complete.
List the items necessary to complete the task so that the reader can gather and organize them before starting the process. Consider using a bulleted list or some other formatting tool so that it is easy for the reader to skim through.
Your reader will need visuals to refer to and act as a guide through the process. Remember to label the visuals as Figure 1, Figure 2, and so on, and then title each visual so the reader knows what he/she is looking at. Often times, the visual is referred to within the step-by-step part of the instructions.
Use a numbered list of step-by-step instructions for completing the process. Consider transitional words to keep the reader on track. Examples of transitions include: first, next, then, and finally. Also, write in clear and complete sentences throughout this section. In addition, refer to the visuals in this section. For example, a writer might include a phrase such as: “See Figure 3.” This will help the reader see the relationship between the steps and the visual.
Another reminder is to avoid the word “you” as you write; use the imperative mood. For example, instead of writing “You then push the blue button” write “Next, push the blue button.”
One last reminder is to explain to the reader why to do or not do something that may have negative consequences. This will help the reader have a positive experience completing the process.
End the instructions with positive comments about the product and/or the process the user just completed. Sometimes there is a phone number for a Help Line if further assistance is needed. The benefits can also be restated but in different words but make sure not to use the exact words from the introduction. Readers don't like to read the same exact words/phrases/sentences in the conclusion as they did in the introduction because it feels like the writer was too lazy to actually work on the document.
Just because this is listed last in this section it doesn’t mean it is any less important than the other parts of the document or that it actually goes last in the document. In fact, the writer has to decide where in the document to put the warnings. They should be dispersed throughout. Also, remember legal and ethical obligations. It is the writer’s job to protect the reader from harm or damage. This being said, any set of instructions needs a careful balance of warnings strategically placed throughout the document. If the writer overuses them, there is a risk of scaring the user or making it so that the reader doesn’t want to carry out the process being described in the instructions. If the writer under-uses warnings, there is a risk of someone getting injured.
In addition, don’t create instructions where the user has already completed the process and injured him/herself before the warning comes. If someone is injured as the results of hidden or omitted warnings, it is the responsibility of the technical writer whose job it is to keep the reader safe.
In fact, there are standard precautionary statements that are color-coded and used for danger, warnings, cautions, and notes or notices. Click on the following link and carefully review them: Precautionary Statements. Do NOT skip looking over this link! You will be expected to incorporate information from in it into the instructions you will create for the course.
What is a memo?
"Memo" (short for memorandum) is a business-oriented style that is best suited for interoffice or inter-colleague correspondence. Memos are generally used to provide or ask for information, announce a new policy, update on personnel transfers, or for any other internal issues.
For our assignment, you will be using the memo to explain your topic selection and its process (see the information sheet for the assignment in this module's folder - Module One).
How should it be formatted?
Your memo should be one single-spaced page. You should use 12-point Times New Roman font for the body text of your memo and Arial or Calibri for the headings in your memo. Your margins should be 1 inch on all sides (typical Word document size). Your memo should be written in full block format using Word. Full block format means no indention at the beginning of paragraphs and left justification (similar to how this post is typed!). To signal the end of one paragraph and the beginning of another, you should leave one blank line.
What makes a memo unique is its header:
As you can see in the image above, it has a To:, a From:, a Date:, and an RE:, which means "subject" or "regarding." All should be bolded. It also has "Memo" at the very top, in large and bold letters, and a line that separates the header from the body of the memo. The body of the memo is where you will follow the assignment to discuss your topic and its selection process.