Re: Indicating a skipped portion in instructions

Subject: Re: Indicating a skipped portion in instructions
From: Chantel Brathwaite <brathwaitec -at- castupgrade -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 23 May 2011 17:54:31 -0400

How complex and how long are the instructions that you need to skip over? Also, how will the documentation be delivered (print, online ...). This will help us to help you with a solution.

There are a couple of generic ways to handle this. You've identified one - which is the if/then table. That often works well if a major chunk or two is different, but other instructions are the same. If you have a lot of little differences throughout the instructions though, it can feel a little kludgy. One way to handle that situation is to use an outline.

1. Everyone do this step.
2. The next step depends on the options you have. Do ONE of the following.
- If you have Option A do the following.
a. Option A step 1.
b. Option A step 2.
c. Go to step 3.
- If you have Options B and C do the following.
a. Option B step 1.
b. Option B step 2.
c. Go to step 3.
3. Everyone do this step.
4. This step depends on the options you have. Do ONE of the following.
- If you have Options A and B, do the following.
...
- If you have Option C, do the following.
...

And so forth.

If there are significantly more differences than similarities, especially there are a lot - but the instructions aren't all that long, it might be worth it to go ahead and separate them out and print each option separately even if it means repeating information. If your desktop publishing program (or whatever you are using to maintain documentation) allows you to import text from other places or use variables or conditional text, you can maintain a single copy yourself so that you aren't having to redo work - but can print things out separately. Customers sometimes appreciate this.

1. INTRODUCTION

About the Widget 3000
Options
How this guide is organized


2. WIDGET 3000 - OPTION A
....

3. WIDGET 3000 - OPTION B
....

4. WIDGET 3000 - OPTION C

And so forth.

As you mentioned, color is an option, but then again, you have to think about color-blind users and possibly expense (I don't know how you are delivering the document). If the changes are small (like selecting one option over another if you are using Option A vs. B) you might be able to simply indicate the changes in parenthesis [e.g. - Click the DC Input radio button. (Option A users: Select the AC Input radio button instead.)] Or you could use space - maybe all of the Option A instructions could be in a lightly shaded box next to the instructions for example.

If you are delivering the manual electronically, you could consider incorporating some sort of variable that they indicate up front so that the pages only show the information that they are interested in for the options they have. I don't know what you are using so I don't know if that is possible, but it is an idea.

Another approach could be to put the differences in an Appendix - especially if only a very small percentage of your audience will be using the options.

I'm sure there are many more ways to approach this, but if we know a bit more about the specifics of your project, it might help us to also be more specific.

Chantel

On 5/23/2011 5:17 PM, Martinek, Carla wrote:

Situation: Repair/Option kits that cover a product that is sold with multiple options. Depending on your option, you may not be doing every section of instructions within the kit.

Does anyone have suggestions for calling out steps which indicate that you need to JUMP OVER the following step(s)? Case in point is Section 1, step 3 below. Feedback we recently received was that they want this to stand out somehow (it's been like this for 7+ years... and they just NOW decide that they don't like it???)

Docs are currently printed in b/w. Color printing may or may not (likely may not) be an option, so that is a last resort.

If/Then table:
If you have Option A, go to Section 1.
If you have Option B, go to Section 2.

Section 1 - Option A:
1. Do something.
2. Do something else.
3. Go to Section 3.

Section 2 - Option B:
1. Another step.
2. Yet another step.
3. Continue with Section 3.

Section 3 - Common to A and B.
1. Step.
2. Step.
3. Etc.


-Carla

- CONFIDENTIAL-

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, and may also be legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you may not review, use, copy, or distribute this message. If you receive this email in error, please notify the sender immediately by reply email and then delete this email.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
http://www.doctohelp.com

---
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as brathwaitec -at- castupgrade -dot- com -dot-
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/brathwaitec%40castupgrade.com


To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/listinfo/techwr-l-chat


--
Chantel Brathwaite
Technical Writer
Cole Engineering Services Inc.
Web: http://www.coleengineering.com
Email: Chantel -dot- Brathwaite -at- coleengineering -dot- com
Phone: 407-207-1773 ext. 4138

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
http://www.doctohelp.com

---
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/admin%40techwr-l.com


To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/listinfo/techwr-l-chat



References:
Indicating a skipped portion in instructions: From: Martinek, Carla

Previous by Author: Re: Multi-Platform Environments and DTP
Next by Author: Re: Multi-Platform Environments and DTP
Previous by Thread: RE: Indicating a skipped portion in instructions
Next by Thread: RE: Indicating a skipped portion in instructions


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads