RE: "always read and follow the instructions"

Subject: RE: "always read and follow the instructions"
From: "Zagorac, Mladen" <Mladen -dot- Zagorac -at- lionbridge -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2008 03:38:59 -0400

Whether you include the such statement or not won't make a difference if the end-user does not open the manual at all.

As a technical writer, I don't know if I was shocked or relieved to read about the finding that the average U.S. consumer spends only 20 minutes trying to make a device work before giving up and returning it to the seller.

I don't think that 20 minutes is enough to even reach the sentence "always read and follow instructions". Unless it is written on the box, that is.

Mladen
________________________________
Mladen Zagorac
Technical writer
________________________________________
From: techwr-l-bounces+mladen -dot- zagorac=lionbridge -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [techwr-l-bounces+mladen -dot- zagorac=lionbridge -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Gause_Brian -at- emc -dot- com [Gause_Brian -at- emc -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:59 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: "always read and follow the instructions"

I agree that this is pointless text.

Short example: I was watching my roommate attempt to put together his
new TV stand a couple weeks ago. When he started to have issues missing
a couple screws, he couldn't figure it out. Sitting nearby, watching his
struggle, I reminded him, "You should check the documentation." About 5
times, I reminded him. Eventually, he gave up and skipped the two
screws...

Some people wouldn't read documentation if you paid them. Silly warnings
(inside the book) are just a complete waste.

Now, if you could get your CHM file (or PDF) to (randomly and
repeatedly) launch an mp3 file which speaks the words "Always read and
follow the instructions in your user's guide", then you've got something
useful. :)

Brian Gause


P.S. The only acceptable time to tell users to follow instructions is
something like this "Be sure to read the complete set of instructions
before beginning your task."

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+gause_brian=emc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+gause_brian=emc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Susan W Gallagher
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 1:59 PM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: "always read and follow the instructions"

Idunno if I see any practicality in the statement other than CYA. <g>
Presumably, if the user opens the book, it would be to read the
instructions
so the admonition is moot. If the user doesn't open the book, what good
does
putting the admonition in the book do? The user won't see it. No?
-Sue Gallagher



On 6/3/08, Milan Davidovic <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
> When I see a statement in a manual such as "Always read and follow the
> instructions in this manual", two thoughts come to mind:
>
> - Following the instructions in the manual (i.e. the ones actually in
> the manual, not the instructions you imagine) presupposes having
> learned them, so the direction to "read" them is redundant.
> - Telling someone to "do x" with no qualifiers provides no options,
> so the modifier "always" is redundant.
>
> Do you think "always read and follow the instructions" is likely to be
> more effective than "follow the instructions"? Do you think it depends
> on the context?
>
>
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References:
"always read and follow the instructions": From: Milan Davidovic
Re: "always read and follow the instructions": From: Susan W Gallagher
RE: "always read and follow the instructions": From: Gause_Brian

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