Making sense of step-by-step procedures

Michaël Steehouder, Joyce Karreman, Nicole Ummelen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

2 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)

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
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIPCC/SIGDOC 2000 Technology and Teamwork
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings IEEE Professional Communication Society International Communication Conference and ACM Special Interest Group On Documentation Conference
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherIEEE
Pages463-475
ISBN (Print)0-7803-643 1-7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000
EventJoint IEEE International Professional Communication Conference and 18th Annual Conference on Computer Documentation, IPCC/SIGDOC 2000 - Cambridge, United States
Duration: 24 Sep 200027 Sep 2000

Conference

ConferenceJoint IEEE International Professional Communication Conference and 18th Annual Conference on Computer Documentation, IPCC/SIGDOC 2000
CountryUnited States
CityCambridge
Period24/09/0027/09/00

Keywords

  • Functional coordinating information
  • Human factors
  • Mental representation
  • Real life elements
  • Step-by-step procedures
  • Procedural instructions
  • Professional communication
  • User manuals
  • Theoretical framework
  • Technical device
  • Technical device users
  • Operational information

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