Regardless whether you are an engineer or a writer, a professional or a student, a business person or a scientist, you will be expected to communicate effectively with your supervisors, colleagues, clients, and the public. For most, that communication includes at least an occasional formal presentation.

Instruction Manuals

Many people associate instruction manuals with appliances, computer accessories, and products that require assembly (e.g., furniture). Because we don’t find ourselves using them regularly or we come to expect them only in certain contexts, it is easy to forget how important they are. The quality of a well-designed instruction manual may go unnoticed.

Learning Objectives

  • Design documents, visuals, and data displays that are rhetorically effective, accessible, and usable for specific audiences
  • Recognize ethical, legal, and cultural issues in business and the professions

Think of the maps you see produced by the television station or website from which you get your weather information. While the meteorologist explains that northern Florida has highs in the 70s, central Florida has highs in the 80s, and southern Florida has highs in the 90s, that information is accompanied by a map.

The sign in this image reads, “WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE AVAILABLE, PLEASE ASK INSIDE FOR ASSISTANCE.”  Obviously, this picture was taken and turned into a meme because someone thought it was funny, which it is.  But is it just funny, or does it reveal a deeper message about the way our society thinks about people with disabilities?  What does this meme actually tell us?  It tells us this building has been retrofitted with an alternative wheelchair accessible entrance, and its proprietors went so far as to post a sign with this information.