Posted by: Victoria Wright | April 21, 2011

Article: “Writing tutorials that actaully help users” by Peter Vogel

“…provide learners with easily recognisable signposts that allow them to determine if they are on the right track.”

I was shown this brief article by a colleague and I have to say the two pages contain some obvious, yet very informative methods for writing good tutorials. It encompasses everything I try to monitor when reviewing or writing tutorials.

The article summarises wonderfully what tutorials should include to focus on the learners need:

  • modify the instructions in the tutorial to meet the learners’ needs
  • don’t substitute your goals for your learners’ goals
  • learners will not be taking advantage of your sample data. Instead, they will be using their own data
  • write steps with a description of the purpose of the step
  • recognise the typical errors that learners may make and provide feedback

The article provides clear steps on:

  • selecting tutorial content
  • designing tutorials
  • writing steps and handling errors

I would highly recommend reading the article: Writing tutorials that actually help users, to learn more.

So, the conclusion? Always think of your audience, put yourself in their shoes – would you want to work through your tutorial?

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