Replacing a Flat Tire

The challenges of technical writing often are overlooked or discounted. Writers must consider many elements, such as audience analysis and skill of the craft.

Consider a procedure for replacing an automobile flat tire. Some people might consider the task trivial. Some people would be almost clueless about replacing a flat tire. The contents could include the following.

  • Assessing the type of tire needed.
  • Assessing where to obtain the replacement tire.
  • Verifying the tire contains sufficient air.
  • A list of required tools:
    • Air pressure gauge
    • Lug wrench
    • Car jack
    • Gloves
    • A flat slab of wood for mounting the jack on uneven surfaces.
  • Instructions to operate specific types of car jacks.
  • Instructions to remove lug nuts. For example, many people learn the hard way to first loosen lug nuts before lifting the car with the jack.
  • Safely removing the tire.
  • Safely installing the spare tire.
  • Attaching the lug nuts.
  • Safely lowering the car.

Observant and experienced people might notice missing steps. For example:

  • How to remove the spare tire? Some spare tires are inside cars and some are outside.
  • What if the spare tire is an “emergency” tire that is not the same size as the damaged tire?
  • What tools are needed to remove the spare tire?
  • What if the damaged tire has a hub cap?
  • How to safely remove and install the hub cap?
  • What if the spare tire does not contain sufficient air?
  • Lug nuts often are installed with air tools, which means a lot of muscle to remove by hand. Perhaps another tool is a long pipe to provide an extension for the lug wrench in order to create sufficient leverage and torque.

An experienced writer sees both the forest and trees.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Tech Writing

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