Friday, July 6, 2007

Informal Survey

I may do a more formal survey later. But for now, I'd like to know one thing:

Do you ever read the manual? Ever?

Do you read some manuals and not others? (Assuming that you're trying to learn how to do something. Only weirdos like me read manuals for fun.)

Have you ever thrown a manual up in the air and torn your hair out in frustration (figuratively speaking)? If so, why?

Are you more likely to read the manual if the information you're looking for is easy to find in the Table of Contents and/or index?

Would you be more likely to read a manual if it had pretty pictures to help you visualize the procedures? (I'm talking software manuals here!)

Are there any (software) manuals that you consult regularly, or have consulted regularly during the learning process of an application? If so, which ones? Were you happy with them? Do you ever think about whether or not you're happy with user manuals, or is that just something that weirdos like me do? (Ideally, I would think about them so you don't have to.)

Thanks for your responses! You can leave them in the comments or e-mail me at my gmail account (infpeace).

9 comments:

  1. Yes, I will be more likely to read a manual if it has clear visuals (does not have to be very pretty) that are well-labelled.

    I am also more likely to read a manual if it is concise and short. If it is too long, I would end up only reading the parts that I would need most help with, and I would try to figure the rest out by myself.

    When I was learning Microsoft Word and Powerpoint during a training course, I used to consult the manual according to the progress of the course. However, once I am familiar with the software, I find myself not having much need to refer to the manual, except when I need to use one of the advanced functions.

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  2. Do you ever read the manual? Ever?

    Sometimes. It depends on how long it is and how easy it is to read. I've got ADD, so it's really hard for me to read highly technical language.

    Do you read some manuals and not others?

    Yes.

    Have you ever thrown a manual up in the air and torn your hair out in frustration (figuratively speaking)? If so, why?

    Y E S. I got a beautiful new camera for my birthday, and the manual is so insanely frustrating that I've given up on ever learning how to use my camera in its fullest capacity and that really bums me out. It skips all over the place and is about as clear as mud.

    Are you more likely to read the manual if the information you're looking for is easy to find in the Table of Contents and/or index?

    Abso-freakin-lutely.

    Would you be more likely to read a manual if it had pretty pictures to help you visualize the procedures? (I'm talking software manuals here!)

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. The more pictures, the less I have to read, the longer my attention span.

    Are there any (software) manuals that you consult regularly, or have consulted regularly during the learning process of an application?

    No.

    Do you ever think about whether or not you're happy with user manuals, or is that just something that weirdos like me do?

    Yes. I'm really happy with the manual for my bluetooth headset and in fact carry it in my purse with me for quick reference. (That's hardware, though, so hopefully this doesn't negate my answer to the previous question). It's got steps, pictures, a table of contents, it's short and sweet.

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  3. I consult the manual for my adobe pagemaker program all the time, but have never read through the entire thing because it's about as interesting as watching paint peel. The index and table of contents are really well organized in it, so any time I need to figure out something specific, I pick it up.

    The manuals I have read through completely all had the following in common: Short, well illustrated, and not a lot of self-referencing technical jargon.

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  4. I read the manuals. I also save them. In a drawer labeled "Owner's Manuals". I was gonna put "Owner's Manuel", but thought it might be racist to infer that I had a Mexican guy living in my file cabinet.

    Now, if someone could put together a decent manual on how to put together furniture that needs to be assembled, that would be most appreciated. The most recent one was good, because at least it TOLD me that I'd have three extra screws. Which was rather kind of them, really, because one screw is just never enough. Pun intended.

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  5. I don't read the manual in advance. I will read a particular subject when I'm having a problem.

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  6. Oh. M-a-n-u-a-l.

    If I get stuck, I'll give it a try. And yes, it needs very clear visuals and to be written in completely ordinary and normal English.

    I have never understood a single word of any manual related to computer hardware or software or DVD players. That is what I have a husband and three children for.

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  7. Do you ever read the manual? Ever?

    Yes. Mostly it's to figure out how to install the program, and then to figure out how to un-f*ck what I just did because I didn't read the manual in the first place.

    Do you read some manuals and not others? (Assuming that you're trying to learn how to do something. Only weirdos like me read manuals for fun.)

    I most often read manuals before I ever use the thing (ie when I got my first cell phone, I read the entire manual before I turned the thing on, but I never read the manual AND used it at the same time.)

    Have you ever thrown a manual up in the air and torn your hair out in frustration (figuratively speaking)? If so, why?

    Mostly that's been because the program doesn't do what I want it to do and the manual tells me so.

    Are you more likely to read the manual if the information you're looking for is easy to find in the Table of Contents and/or index?

    MOST DEFINATELY. Most of the manuals I consult anymore are online manuals that I need to find specific information in becuase I need to do something RIGHT NOW with the program.

    Would you be more likely to read a manual if it had pretty pictures to help you visualize the procedures? (I'm talking software manuals here!)

    Yes. I love, love, LOVE screen shots!!

    Are there any (software) manuals that you consult regularly, or have consulted regularly during the learning process of an application? If so, which ones? Were you happy with them? Do you ever think about whether or not you're happy with user manuals, or is that just something that weirdos like me do? (Ideally, I would think about them so you don't have to.)

    As I said before, the manuals I usually consult are online in PDF form and have an easy search feature. That's pretty much what I'm looking for. I will admit to reading hard-copy manuals in bed at night to glean new information about a program (or nifty electronic product) without having it in front of me.

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