Preparation of information for use (instructions for use) of products – Part 1: Principles and general requirements
Data di pubblicazione: 05-2019
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Information for use is a part of any type of product it supports. A product can be a system, a service, goods, software, information, or a combination thereof. People depend on the information provided to use products safely, effectively, and efficiently, unless they receive training from a human instructor or unless the functions are entirely intuitive. Confusing product information and inadequate instructions are major sources of frustration for consumers and skilled workers. Defective information can pose a risk of harm or loss, leading to prosecution or liability claims against the supplier or brand owner.
Information for use consists of three information types: conceptual information that the target audience needs to understand, instructional information to be followed or considered, and reference information to be consulted when needed. The information for use can include various information products that are selected, presented, and delivered on different media to meet the needs of different target audiences (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – Concept of information for use
Some product-specific information requirements (e.g. the wording of warnings or positioning of labels) are specified in standards for individual types or classes of products, but these do not provide a complete set of requirements for information for use. This document gives principles and general requirements for conveying information to users that are as applicable to complex and safety-critical systems (e.g. industrial plants), as they are to simple consumer products (e.g. a can of paint), to software, and to specialized testing equipment. Information for use is needed for anyone (skilled and unskilled) who encounters a product for the first time: whether to assemble from a kit, install, operate, maintain, or dispose of it.
The principles for preparing information for use of products are horizontally applicable across product sectors because all target audiences are human and subject to human error. The techniques found to be most effective to help such audiences to absorb new information are generally similar, as are their capabilities for misunderstanding language or images.
What works best in information gathering and delivery (e.g. in content, wording, graphics, testing, and management of the whole process) has emerged from experience and practice in the fields of human factors and technical communication. This document is applicable on its own
or can be referenced in product standards that include requirements to provide the target audience with information for use, for example, step-by-step instructions or other information products.
This document is addressed to those who prepare information for use; managers of organizations that produce or purchase products, systems, or services; human factors consultants; and product enforcement agencies.
It covers the following aspects:
- options for information to be provided as a single deliverable (e.g. a product manual) or across several types of information product, such as labelling on the product itself or packaging, accompanying electronic files, sheets, a website, booklets, printable files, videos, or searchable databases;
- effective use of language, text, illustrations, symbols, audio or video to communicate elements of information;
- processes and competencies involved in establishing content and preparing output; and
- means of assessing the fulfilment of requirements in accordance with this document.