Re. Troubleshooting

Subject: Re. Troubleshooting
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 13:05:07 LCL

Elizabeth Huff asked for suggestions on creating a logical
order for a troubleshooting section in a hardware manual.

One thing that comes to mind is a functional approach. What
will people try to do with the hardware? If there are major
categories of tasks, start here. For the car example you
gave, you might consider sections on starting the car,
steering, maintenance, etc. For a VCR manual, the sections
might be playing a tape (getting a picture on the screen),
recording a tape, working with the timer, etc.

Going to the next level of organisation, try to group
related issues based on the nature of the problem. For
starting the car, you might group "car stalls after
starting" with "no starter motor sound", but put "starting
on a steep slope" together with "starting after the engine
has been exposed to moisture" (that other form of flooding
the engine that fortunately happens rarely).

At a third level of organisation, if needed, consider
ordering things by frequency of occurrence. If you know the
main cause of starting problems is a dead battery, and the
least common is the type of flooding mentioned above, put
the dead battery first.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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