User Guide Planner

This guide contains requirement for this assignment and a planning process for thinking about key details of this assignment:

  1. Requirements
  2. Planning process

Note: Continue using custom character and paragraph styles in this writing project as you did for the instructions.


To begin, make sure you have read the user-guide chapter in the online textbook to learn about the design, contents, organization, and process related to user guides.

Here is a user guide tour (password ACCstudent) to show you the various components of a user guide. This user guide was developed in FrameMaker (which is featured in ETWR 2472) and contains formatting that is rather hard to replicate in Word or OpenOffice. You are not expected to develop user guides at this level.

Here are the requirements for the user-guide project:

You can add other components as you wish (for example, glossary, list of figures or appendixes).

Your goal for this user guide project should be a document that looks like a typical user guide published by software or hardware manufacturers (or better, let's hope). It should be a nice item in your portfolio that you can show off when you go into job interviews. Your user guide should represent good writing, good document design, and good software skills. In fact, it should show potential employers that not only can you be productive in the potential employer's environment right away but that you actually have a few things to teach the current employees!

Name the files within this project anything you like; but compress these files into one file, and name that file according to the directions on your schedule page.

Note: To be safe, keep a safe copy of this and all other assignments. Expect to receive confirmation from your instructor that your e-mail attachments have been received. If you don't receive e-mail confirmation in 3 or 4 days, get in touch with your instructor.


Use this planner to define the key details for your user guide (it is not required). When you are through, you can e-mail this planning information to yourself (and to your instructor, if you wish).

  1. To get started on this project, study the essentials of writing instructions in the online textbook:

  2. Next, study the important page-design features associated with user guides:

  3. We have student-written user guides at
  4. While the student-written user guides are more in the scope for this course, you can explore these sites for other online user guides:

  5. Study the book-design chapter in the online textbook to learn about the typical contents, format, style, and sequence of components in a user guide.
  6. Make sure you have read the user-guide chapter in the online textbook to learn about the design, contents, organization, and process related to user guides.
  7. Describe the topic of your user guide.
  8. Describe the intended audience for your user guide—who are these readers? What skills or knowledge do they need to perform the instructions in the user guide? (Try using the audience planner for this.)
  9. Explain what tasks or procedures you want your readers to be able to perform as a result of reading your user guide.
  10. If your instructions divide into tasks, list the tasks for which you will provide directions; if your instructions divide into phases, list the phases.
  11. Describe the warning, caution, and danger notices you think the instructions in your user guide will require. (See the chapter on special notices in the online textbook.)
  12. Describe the illustrations (drawings, diagrams, schematics, photos) you think you'll need in your user guide. (See the chapter on graphics in the online textbook.)
  13. Describe the highlighting scheme you think you'll use in your user guide. (See the chapter on highlighting in the online textbook.)
  14. If you think that your user guide will require other reference (non-instructional) information, explain that in the box below.
  15. List the first- and second-level headings you'll use in this user guide. (See the chapter on headings in the online textbook.)
Your name:
E-mail this planning info to me:
E-mail this planning info to my instructor (optional):

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