Wednesday, October 26, 2005

*Opinions?*

During our discussion today, it seemed like most of you had some experience with a poor set of instructions. What effect did these instructions have on your perception of the company who created them? Did they have any effect on your ability to complete the task they were describing? Did you have to go to other resources like the Web or customer support?

Feel free to posts responses in the comments.

7 Comments:

At 1:20 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

The example I gave about the computer mother boards did two things about my perception of the company.

1) It actually did effect what I was trying to set up, and caused hours of extra work getting a complex feature working (RAID).

2) It made me think of the company as cheaper or lower budget since they had not hired someone with better english skills to write the instructions. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

 
At 9:51 AM, Blogger Linda said...

I had a problem trying to set up something with my computer because my computer did something the manual didn't mention and I ended up calling the support line. I spoke to three people who never figured out what I should do. The last person I spoke with was rude after I told him that I was really stressed out about it and didn't want any rude comments to make matters worse...he hung up on me. Needless to say, I'm never buying anything from them again. The lesson for writing manual then is to consider all possible outcomes in order to trouble shoot. Also, be nice and patient with your customers. (D Link was the company)

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Hélène said...

I was hit at a rather young age with a flurry of mediocre instructions for toy assembly, food products ("gently carress noodles until ready"), software installation and everything in between. As a result, I make it a point to never, ever read manuals unless they include assembly diagrams.
Maybe, had I been spared from the scarring effects of bad manuals in my youth, I would not now have a fancy digital camera I only use for point and shoot, I would not find myself having constant tension problems with my sewing machine and I would know once and for all whether my printer does auto-duplexing. What a world that would be.

 
At 11:30 PM, Blogger Wayne Brown said...

For a few years I installed blinds and furniture etc. One time I went to a job and discovered that the blind manufacturer completely changed the design for installation. I attempted for about 30 minutes to properly install the blinds, but the instructions were not legable because of an extremely poor printing job. It took 2 times talking to the company rep. before I was able to install the blinds 1 week later. This caused many headaches for myself and my company.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Tim Wong said...

Not having a good set of instructions reflects a lot about the company, especially on a company whose product cannot be intuitively installed/created easily on its own. For the most part, instructions supplied by the company are what enables us to use their product. By not supplying us, the consumer, with a decent, complete set of instructions tells me that the company is not serious about its product enough to have spent the time and effort into producing clear, coherent instructions. If instructions are confusing or not complete, how do we use their product?

Normally, if I do get a bad set of instructions, I'll end up trying to guess my way through it, or resorting to the Web to try to find something helpful...

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Phung said...

Just a month ago, I try to fix my nephew’s HP scanner. Nobody have any idea why the scanner broke and didn’t scan. Every time we try to push the scan button to scan, an error window pops up with an error serial code. It didn’t suggest any on how to fix the scanner. So, I went to the HP website and do a search on how to debug the scanner. Luckily, I found a set of instruction on how to debug the scanner. After 5 hours of trying to fix the scanner, I even try instant messaging to HP customer service. HP gave instructions that only a scanner genius would understand. It tried to bear with the given instruction and did exactly what they told me. At the end, the scanner didn’t work. HP representative said the scanner has an internal error and they suggested me to trade in my broken scanner (plus some cash) to get a new scanner. The broken scanner has wasted so much of my time and energy. After all the trouble I went through, I think I’ll try to stay away from HP product.

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Graham said...

In the same vein as the previous comments, I also have some experience with poor instructions. However, I've found that in nearly every case, resorting to the internet or customer service has allowed me to solve the problem. Often, for non-computer related instructions, I simply put the instructions away and try to use my own common sense. This often works, but I don't use it with computers because as far as I can tell, common sense has nothing to do with computer repair.

 

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