User Guide Planner
This guide contains requirement for this assignment and a planning process for thinking about key details of this assignment:
- 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 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:
- Subject—Select a computer hardware component or software application to prepare a user guide for.
- Existing documentation—Ideally, the component or application you choose should have no documentation, or very inadequate documentation. If the component or application you choose does have adequate documentation, find yourself a technical lead who will retain that documentation, supply you with information from it, but not let you actually look at the pages of that documentation.
- Coverage—You do not need to document all the tasks and topics associated with the computer hardware component or software application. Select four or five of the most essential that also draw upon a full range of documentation skills.
- Book design—Include all the standard book-design components, both front and back matter. See the book-design chapter in the online textbook for details. Here the requirements for the individual components:
- Cover page (usually color with logo). Design an attractive cover with some sort of graphic. This is a writing exercise so don't spend too much time on this task. Model your back cover on examples that you see or on the notes you find in the book-design chapter.
- Title page (plain black and white)
- Edition notice (back side of edition notice). Contact your instructor for boilerplate edition-notice text, adapt an edition notice from one you find in a user guide. Include trademarks. Feel free to make up product and company names, addresses, book numbers, and the like.
- Table of contents (ending on even page)
- Preface (ending on even page). Include a standard preface with the contents recommended in the book-design chapter in the online textbook. The preface is user-guide terminology for introductions. See introductions for guidelines.
- Chapters (ending on even pages)
- Index (ending on even page). Create an index for this user guide. Use the two-column format.
- Back cover page
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).
Programs and information provided by firstname.lastname@example.org.