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Anybody read a good manual lately?
03-02-2014, 02:53 AM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2014 03:01 AM by Bill (Smithville NJ).)
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RE: Anybody read a good manual lately?
I used to read all the HP Manuals - older calcs. and still use them for reference today. Well written and complete.

Most devices I buy today do not even come with a manual - they may have a fold out in 20 languages that details the basic setup. When's the last time you got a good manual for a computer, laptop, mobile phone, etc. These devises have tons of features, many hidden, yet no manual on how to use them.

Look at all the "apps" you can download for your phone or tablet. They come with no manual. They may have a short description on the web site. But it's up to the user to figure out all the hidden features. Most features probably don't get used because the average user doesn't even know they exist.

I believe it was Steve Jobs (please correct me if I'm wrong) who said if a device is designed correctly, then no manual is needed since all it's features will be intuitive. While that may well be true to the developer, it's not always true for the user.

On the other hand, 500 page manuals will usually discourage me from a product. If I need to study that hard to use the product, then I probably don't really need the product that bad. As I get older I get more lazy. I have installed many programs, and then determined they were just too complicated for my needs. They may have had excellent manuals, but.... I just don't have the time and energy to suffer through them any more.

The worst manuals are the little thumb nail booklets. I remember one that was over 100 pages, each pace was about two inch square. Totally useless.

A few more comments on early HP calculators. I think the mindset was that since pocket calculator as a device is such a new concept, HP went out of their way with their manuals to educate users. And educate they did. As has already been mentioned, coding sheets were provided. Organization to accept and distribute user written programs. Plenty of library books of programs.

As calculators matured, then the attitude is that everyone already knows how to use a calculator. So manuals are no longer required. We can see the same attitude on a lot of consumer products today.

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RE: Anybody read a good manual lately? - Bill (Smithville NJ) - 03-02-2014 02:53 AM

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