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Examine a Manual or Help System for Task Orientation

Part I

Examine a Manual or Help System for Task Orientation


Directions: Examine a copy of a manual for a software program such as a word processor, spreadsheet, or database, or examine a help system for a program you use regularly.  Study the table of contents, looking at all the elements in the documents (there may be more than one document included in the printed set).  Find instances where you think the manual or help reinforces the user’s workplace and workplace tasks.  How much of the document is in “how-to” format?


Part II

Evaluate the Manual 


Directions: Look back at the “Five Key-Task Orientation Questions” and answer each one for the manual you have looked at.  These answers will be fairly short, but should cover all aspects of the manual that are relevant.


Part III




Directions: For this third part of the homework assignment, you should reflect back on the answers you provided and write a response between one and a half and two pages in which you explain how effective the manual is.  If you find any places in the manual that you think could use some revision based on the first two parts of this assignment and on your readings, explain how the manual is lacking, and then explain how it could be revised and what could be added to strengthen it.


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