Making sense of step-by-step procedures


Steehouder, Michael and Karreman, Joyce and Ummelen, Nicole (2000) Making sense of step-by-step procedures. In: Joint IEEE International Professional Communication Conference and 18th Annual Conference on Computer Documentation, IPCC/SIGDOC 2000, 24-27 Sept. 2000, Cambridge, MA (pp. pp. 463-475).

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Abstract:Procedural instructions that consist of only a sequence of steps will probably be executable, but nevertheless ¿meaningless¿ to users of technical devices. The paper discusses three features that can make procedural instructions more meaningful: adding functional coordinating information, adding information about the use of the technical device in real life, and adding operational information about how the device works. The research literature supports the effectiveness of the first feature, but offers little evidence that real life elements enhance understanding of instructions. As for operational information, the research suggests that users are willing to read it, and that it contributes to better understanding and performance in the long term, but only if it is closely related to the procedure. As a conclusion, we propose a theoretical framework that assumes three levels of mental representation of instructions: syntactical, semantic, and situational
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright:©2000 IEEE
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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