Documentation of procedures

Subject: Documentation of procedures
From: Robert Maxey <Bob_Maxey -at- MTN -dot- 3COM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 16:53:59 -0700

>>Certainly there are times I feel a graphic
>>illustration of someone plugging a cable into a
>>port would do the job a thousand times better than
>>yet another tedious written procedure,
>>particularly if I am writing for a non-technical
>>audience or one that does not use English as a
>>first language.

I deal with this every day of the week. I am responsible for creating
technical procedures used on a variety of production lines, and photographs
are the only thing that does not need to be translated.

It is believed by many in my company, that all that is required is a
photograph showing the specific part of the process. I have started to look
at that with some concern. For example, if the production worker has never
seen a printed circuit board, and I am asking him to inspect for this or
that, what do they think I am asking, if a simple arrow is pointing to the
inspection areas? What do all of you think? A photo of the PCB with an
arrow and the words "Inspect Here" is added, the person who reads and
understands English will not have a problem. What about those who can't
understand English?

I have several documents that are all pictures without any words whatsoever
except for the title of the document.

How do others out there handle the creation of a document that a
non-English speaking person can understand? More importantly, have you
asked yourself what the photo is showing and how will it be understood, if
it is understood properly at all? I test it, but I would be interested in
talking to others with the same issues I face.

Bob Maxey

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