Chapter 2Task orientation

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Don't tell me how it works, tell me how to use it.

—A customer

Task-oriented writing is writing in terms of how the user does the task. You rarely help your users when you tell them only how a product works or how it is structured internally. Your users have a job to do, so they need practical information—how-to information.

You need to understand the tasks that you're writing about from your users' perspective. Do a task analysis to determine which tasks are most important to each group of users, which tasks are most frequent, and which tasks are most difficult. Make a list of the high-level tasks that users ...

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