This is what happens when the product manual is written by people who know the product too well.
Indeed, flip does do a lot of things right in their manual. They load it up with illustrations, avoid technical terms and create a layout that leaves little doubt as to what copy is talking about what process. Still, they practice the cardinal sin of assuming people can fill in the blanks. For example: Read the rest of this entry »
Some like the sandbox, some like story time.
And nobody likes to feel stupid.
Ask any new teacher. One certain way to jump off the tenure track is to flunk the “addresses diverse learning styles” check mark on the evaluation.
There are people of all intelligences who simply will not learn out of a book. Others have to have the book. Some will respond better to a silent video, others to a comic book, others to instructions read out loud. Philips, for one, offers a Flash driven DVD that (not always successfully) walk you through all the steps of its PhotoFrame but don’t expect to also find the instruction book anywhere in the packaging. Instead, you have to pop in the DVD, open the PDF (And download the PDF software, if you don’t already have it) then print it out and then you you can have the bloody instruction book.
As in one that says, “Hey, to make sure you don’t screw up, I’m going to be your kindergarten teacher/nursemaid and lay everything out where you need it.”
It starts out by saying, “Wait just one sec. Look around and see if we can get this cheaper.”
Have a look:
With Shop Savvy, the phone can scan anything from a book to a CD to a bottle of Snapple. It uses the built-in camera to scan the bar code, and up pops the cheapest price on the product as well as reviews from people who have purchased the product. Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96817211
Recently they added a feature that allows you to know the retailers’ inventories as well.
With the barcode and the product in there, why not take it a step further? Why not have it say, “Now that you have it home, I’ll make sure you know how to put it together and use it without either destroying it or cussing it and taking it back to the store.” Here’s how: Read the rest of this entry »
People who approach this machine without knowing how it works (such as some of my house-guests) are likely to create a mess that seeps into kitchen crevices you never knew existed. Or they may (as people who bought it on my avid recommendation) end up convinced that “the damn thing doesn’t work.”
What’s needed here is more show, less tell. For example :
Apple, a company on the cutting edge of video instruction, could have made this product a lot safer to use by, instead of burying the usual lawyerly gobbledygook, providing a practical short video. I propose the following:
Seeing the instructions on their machine, one wonders.
At least, unlike Maytag (which quit doing it), GE has the sense to include “How to do your Laundry” instructions right where nobody can miss them. But they’re the wrong instructions. Read the rest of this entry »
More and more egg companies are stamping an expiration on their cartons. As a result, more and more perfectly fresh eggs are getting thrown away. One obvious solution is for the egg companies to offer up this simple test that anyone can do. Read the rest of this entry »