Good and Bad instruction manuals

Instruction manuals that I’m most engaged with are those with visuals. For me to really understand something I would rather connect with a picture than a block of text. Some might argue thats a lazy way of seeing it, but I feel that having a picture is a greater universal language than words its self. When I was young I was a keen fan of Lego; I found that the instruction manuals were incredibly successful in helping me create my models, if there was words in lego manuals instead of pictures I would have given up at the first build because it wouldn’t have been as fun and quick. However, with pictures alone there would be possible confusion, equally if words weren’t accompanied by a picture. A good example for a manual would contain both words and pictures to make sure all explanations are said. I’ve visual and oral learners aren’t accommodated for then there will be confusion, so the best manuals will cover both of these. It is dependent on the purpose of the manual to what is needed. For learning how to use something, there will definitely need to be pictures so the student can see what they are doing. Text will be needed to tell them what they are doing, accompanied by arrows and motions that will suggest what they do with certain items. This will provide optimum learning. For me teaching someone how to use photography equipment, it would make sense to provide photographs to provide the visuals, along with arrows and text.

Good examples: Pictures, text, arrows

iPhone3Gand3GSUserGuideatGlanceKeyOverviewPDF instructions camera-instruction-manual

Bad examples: Just text or unclear text, Just pictures or unclear pictures

RTR21 instruction manual P23bad2266-af8b-455e-aff7-1d3b5904071f-000001

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