Instructions are part of the product.
They can make the product easy or hard to use.
A critical issue for education:
If the instructions don't work, the teachers do.
Recommendations on how to design instructions so they help market the product. Not just to hobbyists, but to educators and businesses.
We can meet in a virtual world
- Even if we are in quarantine or shelter-in-place
- No travel costs. No travel time.
- But you gotta know the territory.
Designing the instructions
- Yes, you don't just write them. You design them for the users' needs.
- Design thinking; User-centered design (UCD).
- You must be designing the product for the customers' needs.
- Surely you want the instructions to show how the product meets those needs.
- That's what Marketing needs to sell the product to educators and businesses.
- And the instructions should be part of the product design:
- It is easier to fix the software than to fix the instructions.
My rating steps
- Intuitive: Label and floating text are adequate.
- Easy: One sentence in the quick start guide is adequate.
- Hard: More than one sentence is needed.
- You lose customers as you go up those steps
- Update 3/26/2020 VWBPE 13th Annual Conference, March 26-28 2020. VWBPE conference is immune to COVID-19 VWBPE Immersive events started March 15
- Users start with a use-case. They want to figure out how to do something.
- Users learn by doing, not by reading.
- Education: The Secret of the Instruction Manual
- You will market the product by listing the things it will do.
- A smart buyer looks at your claims and thinks:
- Show me the instructions for doing that.
- It will be hard to get people to use the product if the instructions are hard.
Plan for use-case instructions
- Get a list of marketable use-cases.
- For each use-case, identify the tasks needed for successful execution.
- Task analysis
- List the skills that will be needed for each task.
- Organize the skills into skill-sets and give the instructions by skill-set.
What is a task?
- A task is what people need to do to produce a recognised result.
- That is the kind of result that might appear in a job description or job interview.
- Or the answer a person might give when asked "What did you do today."
- A task is likely to require a whole set of skills.
- Teachers and coaches know how to match skills to tasks.
- Writers of instruction manuals often do not.
- The Secret of the Instruction Manual
What is a skill set?
- A skill-set is a collection of skills that could reasonably be had by one person.
- And is sufficient to perform a specific task.
- A person would need a specific skill set to be qualified on that task.
- The use scenario: a person learning a task needs just the relevant instructions.
- That person does not waste time figuring out what instructions are needed.
- And does not spend time studying irrelevant instructions.
Example of use-case instructions
- Task: Attend a meeting or class in a virtual world.
- Skill sets: Move, chat, talk, look at things, contact people, create a profile, read notecards in inventory, use the world map, use landmarks, use important buttons.
- Scenegate beginner's instructions: for people coming to a class or meeting in OpenSImulator. DTA content
Visit me on the web
- Drop by my web offices Weekdays: 12:-12:30 pm Central time (US)
- I am available for free consulting on any topic in this blog.
- Cybalounge and 3DWebWorldz (Orientation room)
- I will be in both places, so you may need to speak to get my attention.
- Web-worlds, 3D virtual worlds running in a browser. Summary
- And we can visit the Writer's Workshop on the Web
- Don't register -- enter as guest.
- Original text in this blog is CC By: unless specified public domain.
- Use as you please with attribution: link to the original.
- All images without attribution in this blog are CC0: public domain.
- Second Life, Linden, SLurl, and SL are trademarks of Linden Research Inc.
- Annotated screenshots made with Jing
- This blog is not affiliated with anything. Ads are from Google.
- Selby Evans in Kitely and hypergrid, Thinkerer Melville in Second Life.