Table of Contents
Spot-On for Cats is a flea treatment solution. The instruction leaflet that the manufacturer includes in the packaging is, at best, not user-friendly and, at worst, confusing and misleading. I used the concepts learned as part of the MA programme to critique the existing set of guidelines and create what I feel is an improved booklet.
This project is one of the most practical assignments I completed as part of the Master’s course. I have included it in this E-Portfolio as I believe it demonstrates my ability to analyse an existing document and determine its’ flaws. It also shows my skill at instructional design, as well as my writing style and document design technique.
Before I could begin to produce a new version of the instructions, I first needed to evaluate the existing material. The original document was, in my opinion, defective in several ways. The text was tightly packed with very little white-space, making it difficult to read. The language used was overly technical, inappropriate for the non-skilled audience the manual intends to inform. The guide presents steps in large blocks, and the content is chunked poorly into smaller processes. This approach can be confusing for the reader (Markel 2012). No images or colour was used, making the document bland and uninteresting. A further consequence of the lack of graphics is that the readers may have difficulty visualising the procedure (Lannon and Gurak 2011).
My redesign aimed to address each of these issues. I created an appealing cover page for the guide, added a welcoming introduction, inserted a Table of Contents to allow the reader to navigate the piece quickly (Fernandes et al. 2014), created several useful graphics to illustrate steps and broke the procedure into different sections. I was careful to use non-technical language, given that my audience was the general public.
Completing this work was incredibly rewarding. The assignment was an opportunity to demonstrate the different ideas I had learned in all of our modules, tying them together to create a quality product. Producing the graphics I included in the instruction-set helped me to develop my skill at using image editing software. I also acquired many new techniques in Microsoft Word while designing the layout and overall look of the final deliverable.
This is the original instruction manual that the manufacture includes in the packaging with the product. Download a copy by clicking this link.
Below is a file containing my assessment of the original user guide. A full copy is available for download.
You can view the redesign I created in the window below. You also have the option to download the set of instructions.
Spot-On For Cats Redesigned Instructions
Fernandes, C. A., Teixeira, J. M. and Merino, A. D. (2014) “Investigation of complexity of the instruction manuals for electrical coffeepots”, Work, 49(4), 607-617.
Lannon, J. M. and Gurak, L. J. (2011) Technical Communication, 12th ed. Boston, Massachusetts: Longman.
Markel, M. H. (2012) Technical Communication, 10th ed. Boston, Massachusetts: Bedford / St. Martin’s.