I used the following criteria to critique this manual, audience recognition, components of instructions, safety instructions, instructional steps and anally graphics and videos. The first criteria I used is audience recognition. This manual is written for landscape professionals who have some experience using this type of machinery in the past. The terminology that is used throughout the manual suggests that the user knows what the overall operation of the machine is for.
This is a good idea because if the machine Is not used properly it could have the potential to be dangerous, causing injury or even death. This Is also a problem because If someone is not familiar with the machine and attempts to use It the manual could confuse them, and they may to assemble the machine correctly, and not follow all the safety warnings that are In the manual. This could also be a dangerous situation since the chemicals that are used in conjunction with the machine could be hazardous.
The second criteria I chose is the components and instructions of the manual. The first page shows a general overview of the sprayer with pictures of specific parts of the machine. One problem with the main page is that it said that there was a search option but I never found that option in any part of the manual. The introduction page gives a brief overview of the manual and points out potential hazards associated with the machine and identifies signal words throughout the manual such as danger, warning, caution and important and their context in the manual.
It Is laid out with a table of contents and each header in the table has sub- headings that are all hyperlinked to the correct page of the manual and navigation Is fairly easy throughout the sections. The table of contents Is also presented In a logical order, starting with the introduction all the way through setting up and operating the machine, and finally ending with warranty and contact information. The third criteria I chose is safety instructions. This piece of machinery deals with the spraying of chemicals and therefore if not used properly can cause harm to the user or people around the area.
The safety section of the manual goes over all the precautions that need to be followed when dealing with chemicals, such as wearing the proper safety gear when using the machine. Each sub-section has clearly laid out the steps required to prepare, use, and maintain the sprayer in a safe manner. One thing I noticed Is there are no links to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website which could have even more detailed safety Information for the use of chemicals. The fourth criteria I chose was Instructional steps.
The manual has detailed instructions on how to setup the sprayer for use. It goes through step-by-step and sprayer. Each section has written instructions as well as pictures and videos on the installation and use of the sprayer. It goes through starting up the sprayer and how to drive it, and shutting it down. It is a very complicated machine to use, and the writer did a good Job of trying to instruct the user on how to use it. There are some minor issues I noticed with the instructions however.
The manual can be over- complicated sometimes and may lose the reader. The is a wealth of information and could have been condensed down and incorporated into smaller groups of information. Without a working search function, the reader has to go through multiple areas to find what they are looking for. The final criteria I chose is the manuals incorporation of graphics and videos. The Ritter did a great Job of having photos of each part of the machine that was being described in that section, and also includes a good amount of videos as well.
The thumbnails can be clicked on and a larger image comes up, but they are still a little on the smaller side so it can be difficult on some pictures to see all the components being described. There are illustrations that when clicked on, show a demo of what the task is, which can be very helpful to the user. The videos are useful for describing what needs to be done, and the narrator speaks in a clear tone that is easy to understand.
The main issue with the videos however is they are not high quality so when they are made full screen the image is not clear and can be difficult to follow. If they had used higher resolution video they would have been that much more helpful. Overall the writer did a great Job when creating this manual and the user should not have many problems following it, as long as they are familiar with the equipment to begin with. A novice user will need more help using the machine then the manual gives, but when buying such a machine, they should be competent with using this type of sprayer.
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