Brief Procedure Project 1

In this project, you select a small hardware component or software application, or a portion of one, for which to document two or three procedures (procedures on how to install, use, or troubleshoot the component or application) using what you've learned so far about the help-authoring tool you are using.

There is no one right way to do this project—it will be interesting to see the diversity of approaches we use. We'll have an exhibit once everyone has gotten this project turned in. And remember: use this project to advance your skills with the help-authoring tool you are using—particularly in terms of TOCs, links, indexes, and formatting—not to mention writing.

Ideas for the Hardware Component or Software Application

The idea is to document 2 to 3 basic tasks associated with the hardware component or software application, rather than all tasks and associated information.

Take a look at LView Pro, PaintShop Pro, GifIcon, or other such applications and find 3 to 4 tasks that are "basic" and interesting enough to warrant careful documentation. For example, Netscape has a Calendar component that is in need of decent documentation (although some of its existing documentation is not bad). WinZip is a handy tool for compressing and consolidating files, unencoding files, and encrypting files. You could document some of WinZip's basic tasks (as well as how to get it and how to install it).

Go to the Internet and see if you can find shareware to download. For example, go to and browse the lists under Children, Shareware, Games, Freeware. Go to and browse through the shareware programs. Take a look at what is available at — the Home & Personal area has a lot of good possibilities. Try to find some useful little utility like an online calendar program, reminder application, online phone number/address book, biorhythms charter, fortune-cookie program, large-file-splitting program, or to-do list manager, Typically, because these are shareware items, the documentation is poor or nonexistent. Contact the shareware developer and see how you can work with that person to develop the documentation.

Find a hardware component, such as a mouse, keyboard, modem, joystick, printer, CD player, or speakers to document. Select just a few tasks to write about. If documentation already exists, don't look at at! Give it to someone who can provide you with the information it contains but not enable you to actually look at its design, format, or exact wording.

Note: Documenting games tasks is a possibility, but be careful. Doing so might not be the best challenge to your writing and designing skills and might not produce a good item for your portfolio.

Brief-Procedure Examples

Here are some examples of brief procedures. Content, organization, and format vary somewhat; write your brief procedure in the general spirit of what you see in these examples:

Example instructions 1: Using WS_FTP Pro for Windows Frames Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 2: Beginner's Guide to Eudora Lite for Windows Frames Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 3: Operating the Minolta Freedom 3 Camera Frames Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 4: How to Raise Potatoes in the Home Garden Frames Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 5: Instructions for a Simple Window Curtain Frames Nonframes Plain

Project Requirements

Here are the basic requirements:

Programs and information provided by