It turned out that an 'old-fashioned' technique was the most effective. Wordy manuals were too verbose and quite unsuitable at describing manual tasks. Videos were better but took time to make and view and could not be presented at the workstation. A photo-essay was useful, but photographs present too much information to be clearly 'read' on the factory floor. Line drawings worked the best, but it took days to prepare a single page of instructions and illustrators were hard to come by. The solution lay in Photoshop (well, Corel for this client). The results were encouraging, plus it gave me an excuse to use the camera more often and I claimed the cost of equipment back from the taxman
1. Observe the process and take a series of photographs to illustrate the important steps. Lighting and distortion are not a big deal since the photos will be heavily edited later. Here I used a Sigma 12-24mm.
2. Crop the images to show context and the revelant actions:
3. Prepare a draft of the instructions with photos and words. Allow the client and the workers to provide some input and finalise the content and photo selection:
4. Convert the photos to line drawings. I created a copy layer, applied a trace, changed the colour, added a third layer, used a pen and line tool to draw the key areas, used selective merge and erase to blend in detail, used fill, then changed the colour to the company preference.
5. Now replace each of the photos on the instruction sheet with the line drawings.
6. Laminate each sheet in clear plastic for protection, then hang the pack of sheets from a chain or some form of binding and leave at the workstation.
Edited by PatrickO, 22 January 2012 - 13:41 .