Case study: improving instructions

To do their tasks safely and satisfactorily, users need clear instructions.

This case study compares an original text that a customer supplied to us with a new version that we created. (For this case study, we changed some words in our text.)

What we found

Our analysis of the users' tasks showed that:

The original text has these errors:

Customer's original text

Stocktaking Step By Step

The Stock Take is now complete.

What we did

Our new text clearly shows the procedures that users must do:

Our new text

Stocktaking at Head Office

[In practice, other information about the stocktaking process is here.]

To stocktake when there are many shops

  1. Enter and update all sales, purchase invoices and distributions to the night before the start of the physical counting of stock. See page x.
  2. Freeze the stocktake file using
    (page x). Typically, do this one or two days after the physical counting starts.
  3. Do a daily backup (page x).
  4. Use the computer system as normal. Process all sales and purchases of new stock. However, to prevent possible confusion, we recommend that new stock is not put into the shops until after the stocktake is complete.
  5. When the Stock Check Report or the scanners are returned from the shop, process the stocktaking results (next procedure).

To process the stocktaking results

  1. When the shop returns the Stock Check Report or the scanners, enter the results from the Stock Check Reports and then print a Discrepancy Report using
    (page x).
  2. Send the Discrepancy Report to management. Management will investigate, and then send the report back to you.
  3. When the report is returned, do one of these:
    • Make all corrections using
      (page x) according to the instructions you receive from management. For each branch for which you made corrections, print another Discrepancy Report, and return it to the branch. Repeat as necessary.
    • After management is happy that all outstanding discrepancies are valid, update the stocktake figures and produce a final stock valuation using
      (page x).
  4. The stocktake is now complete.

Stocktaking at Each Shop

We recommend that you:

To count stock manually at a shop

  1. When you receive the Stock Check Report (page x) from Head Office, you can begin the stocktake.
  2. Identify each stock item in the shop and put a tick next to the applicable entry on the Stock Check Report. Note the following:
    • All sales that are made after the stocktake started must be counted as in stock.
    • Stock items that are on deposit must be counted as in stock.
    • Stock items that are transferred out of the branch after the stocktake started must be counted as in stock at the branch.
    • If a stock item does not have a ticket, and if the stock item is shown on the Stock Check Report, tick the entry in a different coloured pen and write a ticket for the stock item.
    • If the stock item is not listed on the Stock Check Report, then:
      • On a separate sheet of paper, write the first 4 digits of the Stock Number (Department and Sub-Department), and as much information as you have for the description, price, cost, supplier and supplier reference. Possibly, you can find this information from brochures. If the stock item has a display label, you can find the price from the display label.
      • Write a stock ticket with the first 4 digits of the Stock Number, attach it to the stock item, and put the stock item aside, so that it can be correctly ticketed later.
  3. Add up the ticks for each stock item and write the total on the Stock Check Report.
  4. Compare the deposit report that is available from the till with the outstanding deposits, and make corrections if applicable. Liaise with Head Office staff to verify the corrected deposit reports against the Head Office system.
  5. Send the completed Stock Check Report back to Head Office.
RSS feed