Good & Bad Instructions

Sometimes there are good and bad instructions. Many factors determine whether the instructions are good and whether they are bad. Some of the factors will be discussed in determining if the two examples of instructions are either good or bad. The first example is from snapguide.com and it is a set of instructions on “How to Fold a Napkin Like a Rose.” The instructions begin with the a picture of the final product, which shows what the napkin should look like at the end of the instructions. The materials are not clearly defined, and the instructee can only assume from the picture of the final product what materials might be needed. Along with the materials not being clearly defined, the tools and other supplies are not clearly defined, further confusing the person following the instructions on what is all needed. There is no indication of how long the actual process will take, but just that it will be ten steps to complete the task. It can be inferred through the pictures that the activity is a solo activity, and the author speaks in second person point-of-view to imply one person. The author of the instructions also does not tell about a person having to do something while another person does something else, which also implies that it is a solo activity. The steps are chronologically in order, which reduces confusing among how to fold the napkin. The steps are concise, but not necessarily clear. Throughout the instructions the author tells what to do, but not how to do it. In doing so, the reader has to look at the pictures to figure out how to complete the step(s). There are no safety warnings stated, but they are not necessary. Also, there are no age requirements stated. There are allot of visual aids and no audiovisual aids in the instructions. There is one visual aid for every step, and they are very beneficial in the instruction process. Overall the instructions are not so well written because of the lack of information prior to starting the actual folding and the effectiveness of the actual steps.

The other example of a set of instructions is from instructables.com and it is about making bulb plants. The final product is clearly defined with a picture of it and a description of its contribution to earth. The first step involves clearly defining the materials, tool, and other supplies needed to complete the task. There is no indication of how long the process will take, but just that it will take five steps to complete the task. There also is no indication of how many people will be required to complete the task, but by the pictures, there is only one set of hands doing all of the work, implying only one person is needed to complete the task. The steps are in a logical sequence and they are clear and as concise as they can be. There are safety warnings located throughout the instructions. There are no age requirements, but there should be considering the actual mechanics of lightbulbs. There are plenty of visual aids and no audiovisual aids. The bulb plants instructions can be classified as well written instructions.

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