Operating Instructions Spoil the Fun

Posted on June 21, 2012


It is a universal truth that most people who confront some kind of device or machine with which they must come to terms do not even consider the helpful instruction manual.  Why is this?  Practitioners will say that these things just make dealing with the inner workings and operation more confusing.  But isn’t the truth more instructive?  We are an adventuresome species and we love discovery. Don’t take the fun out of figuring something out on our own away from us?

When pressed, there is a denial on the part of these types that they are lazy or impetuous.  No, they have native ability and want to demonstrate it to the world.  They came into this world wrapped in swaddling clothes and programmed to fix toasters, TVs and teleprompters (President Obama).  The whole direction of the world of computer design and manufacture is to make them “user-friendly.”  They need to be “intuitive.”  In that sense, aren’t these machines reading OUR minds?

As someone who has assisted a variety of people over my professional career in using software or in getting a picture back on their television, I can tell you of my deep frustration at people who will not even consider reading instructions. Really how unintelligent can one be?

But halt.  My new laser printer was not printing some forms I needed.  Did I reach for the manual?  Hell, I don’t even know wh

Developers know this and it is a sneaky win I say.  Printer working again.  Manual gathering dust.  I swear if I could not figure it out, I would either call my computer tech or buy another one.  Yes, I confess my own lack of intelligence in these matters.  Two advanced academic degrees and I will not read a manual to save myself and any amount of money.  There is a place reserved in Hell for types like me or is it an appointment reserved in this life for those who would gladly benefit from your inability to deal with a manual.