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Avoiding written procedures.

Posted on March 5th, 2014

If a picture tells a thousand words, can you use one instead of words for procedures and work instructions? What about videos? Have a look at how to include this kind of "non-written" documentation in QSToolbox in a way that's best for mobile users.

Have you ever tried to follow a complicated procedure just with written text instructions and no pictures? Try this:

To make this knot, form a bight by laying the end of a rope on top of and across the standing part. Next take the end of the other rope and pass it through this bight, first down, then up, over the cross and down through the bight again, so that it comes out on the opposite side from the other end, thus bringing one end on top and the other below.

(from The Project Gutenberg eBook, Knots, Splices and Rope Work, by A. Hyatt Verrill)

How did you go? It is hard work.

There’s nothing in the standard to say how you should document your important processes – so do it in a way that best suits your workforce. Where literacy or language is an issue, the more visual your instructions, the better they will be understood.

The wordy description above is much improved with a picture:

Illustrated Step-by-Step Instructions

A step-by-step walk through on how to tie this knot would be even better.

You may have already created this kind of documentation in your favourite word processor, and then uploaded it into a QSToolbox ‘Document’ as an attached file. For complicated layouts, it is probably the best option. However, if you put the content into a ‘Page’ it is available right from the browser with no other application required. This makes the content much more accessible for mobile users.

Here’s how to create an illustrated step-by-step guide using a Page in QSToolbox.

(Incidentally, if you are looking for an image editor, try Pixlr.com. It’s a freebie cloud-based editor. I used it to convert the above black-and-white drawing into a series of coloured images for the step-by-step guide.)

Carrick Knot step 3

Using Videos for Work Instructions

For really complicated instructions a better option would be to make a video – like this one for the Carrick bend described above. To manage this kind of documentation alongside the rest of your management system, you can embed the video in a QSToolbox page.