Reading and Writing... Instructions

Some examples that me and Dan Lockton took to the Brighton Mini Maker Faire earlier in the year. My favourite an edited set of Air-fix instructions that a user edited the glue line and other details that they thought Air-fix had left off. Which opens up a series of interesting set of research questions;
- How do you gauge the expertise of a user to tailor their
- How would users edit and develop their own
  instructions based on feedback?
- Who should create the instructions for your product?
- At what point does the relationship between written,
  visual and pictogram become the right format?
... At the end of the day as we proved at the Mini Maker Faire, if someone cannot build your make... then what is the point in making it? I welcome your comments.

The other image is of a parent putting a life jacket on an infant, it is the reassuring smile from the glasses wearing parent in a calm happy environment that makes me laugh... I am sure that it is not like that.

This week I have been reading around the creation of instructions and the processes that go with cognitive load that we place on users constructing products. Below is an extensive reading list if you are interested in this field.

Approaches to writing instruction, Sarah J. McCarthey a & Yeon Sun (Ellie) Ro

Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design: Recent Developments,
Fred Paas, Alexander Renkl & John Sweller

Creativity, emergence and evolution in design, John S. Gero

Design, Analogy, and Creativity Ashok K. Goel, Georgia Institute of Technology

Designing Effective Step-By-Step Assembly Instructions, Maneesh Agrawala
Designing for Usability: Key Principles and What Designers Think JOHN D. GOULD and CLAYTON LEWIS
Do Written Instructions Need Examples? Jo-Anne LeFevre and Peter Dixon

Educational Implications of Analogy A View From Case-Based Reasoning, Janet L. Kolodner

Instructional Design Models for Well-Structured and Ill-Structured Problem-Solving Learning
Outcomes, David H. Jonassen
Interest, Prior Knowledge, and Learning, Sigmund Tobias

Usage centred research for everyday product design, H. Kanis

Learning in an Instructionless Environment: Observation and Analysis, Jeff Shrager David Kiahr

On designing open-ended interpretations for collaborative design exploration, Tuuli Mattelmäki

The Impact of Human-Centred Design Workshops in Strategic Design Projects, André Liem and Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders

Contextmapping: experiences from practice, Froukje Sleeswijk Visser

Design with society: why socially responsive design is good enough Adam Thorpe & Lorraine Gamman

I have been working towards writing a paper and tutorial (workshop to most people) for the HCI conference in Vegas in 2013 (here).

The artefact cafe ran a design workshop at Maklab over the weekend, this was very successful with a series of insights and details that we will be writing up and sharing soon. I have had an amazing response from probes with the "Conversations with Bees" project, we will see where this goes and I will update you when I can.


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