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I'm not justifying poor writing, but I'd like to make a couple of observations about contributing factors.
Vehicles themselves present lots of variables into the equation (front seat or back seat; left, right, or center; lap belt or lap and shoulder belt; age of the car; does the car have a built-in child seat; are the belts self-adjusting or not; and, are air bags a consideration). Covering all those variables could be difficult. Perhaps the automotive industry bears some of the responsibility.
Have the child seat manufacturers hired real writers or has the job been done by an amateur?
Child seat designers have to balance safety against ease-of-use and comfort for the child. Some of the designs are a royal pain to use and I can see how people can make mistakes whether or not the instructions are crystal clear. I had a hard time passing a belt through some of the anchoring points in some car seats.
Lastly, many parents pick up car seats at yard sales and thrift stores because they can't afford new ones. How many parents will get a manual with a second-hand seat? By the way, many thrift stores are refusing to accept donated child seats because of liability issues.
The bottom line is that some circumstances make it very hard to write clear instructions. Standardization and better design, along with clear illustrations molded into the seat might be a better choice than written instructions. Video would also be a good choice.
tjohnson -at- starcutter -dot- com
From: techwr-l-bounces+tjohnson=starcutter -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+tjohnson=starcutter -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On
Behalf Of Geoff Hart
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:15 AM
Subject: Blame the writer redux
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