Why Are Some Manuals So Hard To Understand?

a picture of an airplane's

It is a well-known fact that I am useless at reading instructions. I have no idea why, but I seem to learn quicker and easier from doing and not reading. But the issue is that when it comes to certain products, we do need to read to the manual to know to use a product correctly or to find out how best to use the features it comes with.

From flat pack furniture, IKEA style to learning how to use new phones, technology products or even putting together children’s toys. There are so many products in our lives that come with manuals you would think we would know exactly how to follow them and decipher their codes.

And let’s be honest, sometimes it does feel like you are deciphering a code when it comes to written instruction manuals or even some visual manuals. There are some I have looked at and wondered if I needed a manual to read the manual. Surely I can’t be the only one to feel this way?

Luckily one of my sisters ‘reads manual’ she is a whizz at deciphering instructions and can always be relied upon to not put a simple bedside table together upside¬†down like I would/do/have in the past. She has, sometimes single-handedly too, built wardrobes, units, chest of drawers, laid laminate flooring etc, etc. I contribute to the effort by handing over the required tools and screws when needed.

That being said. I have successfully managed to build Olivia’s bunk beds and then her new daybed when she decided she was too old for bunk beds. With the help of my eldest niece, that same sister’s daughter, we built Olivia’s bed. Despite the pictures and text in the manual, we still struggled to do it in the suggested time frame. A 45-minute task took us a good 2 hours plus but I was so surprised and pleased with myself that I managed it, and it is still standing to this day, that I didn’t mind the extra time it had taken us!

a bedroom with a daybed, butterfly wallpaper and a collection of soft toys on a white boxed unit

I also put together my new white living room furniture on my own too so I was more than a little bit proud of myself then!

a living room with a black sofa with silver cushions and white furniture. White firplace is the foacl point with a tv in the corner

Making Manuals Easier To Understand.

These days there are so many multilingual manuals around. Either to look at online or that come in the packaging with the products, it sometimes seems like they are all different. But if you have a product or a system that requires a manual to get the best out of it or to help people learn how to use it you want people making sure it is user-friendly is of utmost importance.

Clear and concise instructions and illustrations are paramount for users to be able to quickly assemble or get to grips with the products. Illustrations need to be clear to help consumers visualise and recognise parts to be able to follow the written text. If your product manual is user-friendly and easy to follow this not only helps the purchaser but also could mean they come back to purchase more based on how easy their new purchase was to use and/or assemble. It will also eliminate any damages, especially in the case of flat pack furniture, reducing the need for replacement parts or pieces to be sourced.

*collaborative post*
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