Instructions Project

250 points (25% of grade)

This assignment is an exercise in team production of an instructional text. You will work in teams of 3-4 and adopt production roles based on interests and/or skill sets. You will collaboratively design a Lego object, write instructions, design a multimedia instructional website (wiki or website), conduct usability testing, and revise accordingly. This entire sequence will take approximately 4-5 weeks.

Basic Guidelines


  • Designs must use 30-50 pieces and must have at least four modular “sub-assemblies.”
  • Be flexible with ideas. Make sure that your masterpiece can be described and constructed easily, but not so easily that it can’t fulfill the requirements of this assignment.


  • Instructions should have a complete parts list.
  • Instructions must have at least ten steps, presented either in a modular or sequential fashion.
  • Follow the principles outlined in Chapter 27 of Anderson.
  • Communicate about which parts of the assembly may need illustrations to prevent assembly errors.
  • Identify necessary revisions if the design does not lend itself well to instruction design.


  • Images should be crisp, clear, cropped, and paired with corresponding text.
  • The parts list should include images.
  • Include a visual of the assembled product.
  • Communicate with each other about parts that are difficult to depict, and suggest a different modular design to make sketches of the component parts more effective.
  • Devise one or two methods for testing your instructions, such as read-and-locate tests or timed tests on the assembly.
  • A usability test result report will be part of the final project and is just as important as the instructions. You must anticipate what potential problems will be before the product is tested and list them in your report.
  • The final project will include not only your anticipated problems, but empirical data from a real usability test which lists modifications made to the instructions to address these issues.
  • Be sure to include data on the amount of time spent reading the instructions versus assembly time. Do users use your instructions? Do they have to refer to them constantly during the process, or do they simply read and then execute them?
  • Make sure that the instructions allow for error. How can a user troubleshoot the results if their results do not match the instructions?

Delivery Requirements

  1. Instructions. The actual instructions should be digital and created with online tools (i.e. Google Sites, WIX, Instructables, Wikispaces, etc.). It will include:

– Landing page. This should introduce your product (perhaps including a photograph or drawing of the completed object) and instructions. Have fun here.

– Team Intro/Bio. This should include a listing of all group members and their functions, similar to what you created at the beginning of the course with the bios.

– Sidebar. Your instructions should be simple and easy to navigate.

– Body Text. This is where the actual instructions go.

2. Letter of Transmission. On the due date, you will send an email to me that includes:

-An introduction to your project. (If you’re confused on the purpose and format of such a letter, take a look in Anderson.) Discuss design objectives and the process involved in creating your design/instructions. Also summarize what you learned from your usability report and how certain decisions were negotiated within the group.

-A link to your instructions site

-Your usability report, attached as a pdf

3. Team Evaluation Form. Assess your team’s work distribution by having each team member complete this form on Google.

Usability Report Guidelines

Usability reports are professionally-produced workplace documents. A successful report will demonstrate the multi-level document conventions we’ve discussed throughout the semester. Pay close attention to producing solid, clean document design. We’ll be taking a look at a report on the iPad, in a week or two.

As with your other assignments, it should be as long as necessary to sufficiently cover the information at hand. Typically, this work takes at minimum 6-8 pages of single-spaced, solid text, and will frequently run significantly longer as you add in visuals and appendices. (Note that “bare minimum” does not frequently equal an A. However, adding in extraneous material solely to expand length will also not equal an A.) All text should be 12-pt, single-spaced paragraphs with double spaces between paragraphs. Pages should have one-inch margins.

Each report should contain the following elements:

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods and Protocols. (Be sure that you not only describe them but also justify your choices.)
  • Predictions before testing
  • Description of first round of testing and findings (This includes environment/ conditions, demographics, a summary of subject responses, and the conclusions you drew from those responses. Narrative information should be visually reinforced with charts/graphs.)
  • Description of page revisions made based on findings
  • Description of second round of testing and findings (Includes the same elements as the first.)
  • Description of second revisions
  • Conclusions (and broader recommendations for the site, if you’ve got any)
  • Appendices (which will include your raw data and any other things you want to throw in)