RE: "INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED"

Subject: RE: "INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED"
From: Kaylin Boehme <kaylinboehme -at- quadax -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:44:41 +0000

Seems to me that as the need for printed/upfront documentation fades away thanks to advances in UXD, the importance of "official documentation" will be in helping the consumer with those advanced features that you don't find on the surface. Sure, you can use an iPhone straight out of the box with no help and you can find answers online when you have questions (assuming you know enough to ask the right question to get the right answer), but practically every device on the market these days is capable of serving dozens or hundreds of functions.

The idea that "less is less" and easy to use products make the consumer dumber is groundless, in my opinion. If you buy a high end camera but all you want to do is put it on Auto and use it as a point and click, that's your call. If you want to take the time to learn the more advanced features then you will find the information to help you do so - it's about the consumer's expectations and intended use, not about cramming documentation and features down their throats.

As for Rick's comment on image-based society, I will grudgingly refrain from comment because I could talk about that all day!

- Kaylin


-----Original Message-----

http://www.popsci.com/instructions-not-included

Thoughts?

Cordially,

Craig Cardimon | Senior Technical Writer Marketing Systems Group

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?...With Apple, I don?t have to do that. It does it for me. And that just might be dangerous. Dangerous in that if I no longer am learning, or if it?s done for me, then I might just get technologically left behind,? she wrote.

?Dangerous? (and I interpret the term very loosely) to her, maybe. But the average user may not want to know such details. The bottom line is that the device should work with minimal ?overhead? required (user intervention). I think Apple does this better than anyone right now.

This goes back to the ?Limit my options and therefore risk? vs. ?unlimited options and risk? choice (iOS vs. Android phones). It?s good to have choice; one is not universally ?better? than another.

Dave

------------------------------

It depends on how you learn. I learn more from reading than I do from videos. The first major software program I learned in the early 90s was Quark XPress. It came with at least two manuals: a user guide and reference manual, which I read cover-to-cover several times. As a result, I was considered a "master" in the typography company that I worked for.

The iPhone may come with brief instructions, but there are a bunch of iPhone "manuals" (third-party books) on Amazon.com. Plus, as you mentioned, there are tons of videos on YouTube. Whatever your learning style, there are plenty of resources available, even if they are no longer provided by the manufacturer.

Warning: controversial statements ahead. I personally believe that as we read less, we have become dumber as a society. The image has replaced the written word to the overall detriment of the majority of people. This is not to argue against visual learning, entertainment, etc., but that it has crowded out the critical thinking and analytical skills that come through reading.

Rick Quatro
Carmen Publishing Inc.


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