For this assignment, you will write a set of directions for an ECU task for new NC State students. As part of a new orientation effort, you’ve been asked to write a set of instructions for a common activity that students need to do before or during their first semester on campus.
New students to ECU are tasked with getting set up in a variety of logistical areas, including registering for classes, etc. As someone who’s been here at least for a little while, you know the ropes, so to speak.
New ECU Students, who may be incoming freshmen or transfer students
You know that you have a wide variety of new students that you’re going to need to write to: the technically savvy and not, the new student and the transfer student, etc. One thing you do know is that this is an individual who has likely never done this activity before and needs a lot of handholding throughout the process.
This assignment consists of two parts:
You will create two documents in one file:
An audience analysis memo- The audience analysis should be written as an informal memo to me. Follow the directions for profiling your user – Creating your Audience Analysis (see details below).
A set of written instructions- The written instructions should be able to stand alone. The user should be able to complete a task, or subtask of a larger task, completely. Be sure to identify how long it will take, what is needed, and what should result from the user following the instructions.
Keep your audience in mind when you are designing and writing your set of instructions.
Use numbers to order steps and bullets to create lists.
Begin each step with an action word.
Format and design of the document are just as important as the written text; layout and visuals contribute to communicating a message.
Instructions are clearly written and that your visuals clearly relate to your text.
Begin your instructions with a purpose statement (what the instructions should help the audience accomplish) and an audience statement (who should use the instructions).
You can submit multiple files for project 2 through the assignment area. If you can, please put both documents into one file. Please, submit a word file or PDF file for project 2.
LESSON: Audience Analysis
Writing usable instructions requires that you first consider who will use them. All of us have tried to use instructions that were written at either too low or too technical a level. Because of these frustrating experiences, most people tend to view instructions with skepticism.
So that your readers will not anticipate your guidance with such skepticism, you should consider the following questions before you begin structuring your information:
What is your objective?
Who are the primary/secondary users? (Consider education, technical background, cultural aspects, etc.)
What will be the users’ main questions?
What will be their likely reading pattern?
What are the users’ main goals?
How will the users’ measure success when completing your instructions?
You need to view your audience as consumers. In order to facilitate readers’ “buying into” your instruction, you need to carefully consider their prior knowledge and expectations. The conventions, and steps, that you will use must match your users’ needs, as well as abilities. Viewing your readers as collaborators can help you anticipate areas where they may need additional guidance or cautions.
Creating Your Audience Analysis Memo
First, select your topic for the instruction assignment.
In your audience analysis memo, begin with an introduction that introduced your topic and generally describes your audience.
As part of the introduction give a purpose statement that reflects the purpose and content of the memo.
Once you have written the introduction, present the audience analysis. In the audience analysis section, answer the following questions:
What kind of information does the user need to know to complete the desired actions?
What kind of information about my topic can my user do without?
What are the activities the user will need to do to achieve the overall action or goal of the manual?
What kind of frustrations will the user likely to bring to the task, and how can I keep from making these worse and avoid others?
What kind of strengths will my typical user bring to the task, and how can I build upon these in delivering the instructions?
Remember, the audience analysis needs to be written as an informal memo to me. Be sure to frame it with an introductory paragraph that clearly states your problem and purpose. As part of the introduction, give a purpose statement that reflects the purpose and content of this document. Use headings to organize and present the sections of the memo.
You may use a list format and restate the questions with the answers, but give responses in paragraph form. Go beyond the obvious; try to understand your users’ current knowledge, skills, and background. This will help you to create effective and usable instructions.