Step 3: Organize information from your reader’s perspective
Now that you have broken down your information into its components, you are ready to organize and sequence it based on what readers need to do and what they need to know in order to be successful.
If your document includes extraneous information that buries important details or fails to anticipate questions that may be asked, then your readers will quickly become frustrated. They may turn to supervisors, coworkers or other sources for the answers they need—but those answers may not be accurate, complete or up-to-date.
If employees must wear safety goggles when performing a metal grinding procedure, you should bring that requirement to their attention early in the document, and make sure that it's placed prominently, where it won't be missed. This is important information that belongs right up front, not buried in dense text or left until late in the procedure.
Always put yourself in the reader's shoes.
Ask these questions:
- Have you presented information in the order in which readers need to access and use it?
- Have you explained new concepts for the benefit of novices, while making it easy for experts to skip these explanations?
- Have you placed cautions and warnings prominently at the beginning of a procedure, rather than burying them in dense text or leaving them as notes at the end?