Instruction manuals can be life savers in some cases, yet in others they can cause a fit of rage in which the person is left fuming as to why they can’t do what is being said. Here is some examples I have found that are both good and bad:
The first one is one that I looked at a few months ago. I was due a new phone upgrade, and received the latest iPhone. However seeing how technology had advanced so much in a short period of time, i thought it would be best to read the instructions so that I knew everything important. This manual is very user friendly; by showing a physical picture with labels makes it easy for us to locate and understand everything. There is also enough writing for us to understand, with very simplistic use of words that makes it easy to read.
The second good manual I looked at is an old classic. Most people have played with lego when they were a child, in which all we wanted to do was get on quickly and build. So these manuals is very specific for the target audience; no words is used at all. Rather, bright, large images are presented which clearly show what steps need to be taken in order to proceed to the next step (that is, if you find the correct and tiny pieces!)
The use of pictures though is more suitable when it comes to building a physical object, whilst having a diagram is more suitable when you may have something new and you want to get to grips with it.
On the flip side, you can also get a variety of bad manuals as well.
Let us take this manual for inserting a motor. Straight away you can see there is a lengthy amount of words for us to process, and the language isn’t the easiest to understand as well (unless you are familiar to this process.) The amount of words instantly makes us reluctant to read, and the lack of diagrams doesn’t help when it comes to knowing what piece is which and what to do with it. But, this manual might be more difficult for someone that doesn’t know what they are doing; someone who may be an expert in the area might find this much easier instead.
Not all instruction manuals are used for building something though. Here we have one that explains the special moves in chest. Again, I find that the amount of writing is too much for us to follow at once, especially with the high amount of technical language used. If someone was new to chest and read this, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up confused and wouldn’t bother at all. I think what would make this better is less words (but places into simple bullet points) that would be explained in pictures. For this subject, that would be the best approach to understanding what is going on.
However, instruction manuals don’t just come on paper form as well. Videos is another effective way of showing someone what to do. This is most commonly used in cooking programs, such as here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq2PcaRnzc4 Being able to physically see what is going on is much better in my opinion then reading everything and not knowing if you have done it right (that is if you dan’t see a picture of the finished product.)