Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top Five: Reasons I Hate Manuals

Recently I have come into a fair few things that have come with a hefty manual, hundreds of pages thick and filled to the brim of pictures that don't even look remotely like they belong in the manual. I have come to find that the manual itself is filled with stuff that just isn't needed (I once had a manual with a chapter on why you shouldn't use the program for a nuclear device) at all. So I've compiled a Top Five list of "Reasons I Hate Manuals", hope you enjoy them.

1. Unneeded Chapters.

In my time of seeing manuals, I've never once seen a manual that hasn't got some ludicrous chapter on some ridiculous problem that I can't for the life of me think of a scenario where it could have happened. In one of my old manuals, about some kind of RAM stick, there was a more than comprehensive manual with a whole chapter on what do to if the RAM stick found its way into the toilet, including the quote taken directly from the manual "If found toilet, take from and put away on computer" . Now I know what they mean, but really, who wants to use a RAM stick that's been in their toilet?

2. English Section Always Has Something Spilled Or Sticky On It

I don't know what it is about the universe and the magnetic attraction to every English section in existence, but I do know that it WILL happen to anybody who actually needs to read it, and that's it will be either unreadable to a stain from some alien substance or it's been stuck together from something that stops you from opening the pages without tearing the page. I don't know how many times I've actually needed a manual for something, major only to find it's been stuck together from the drink I had resting on the "piece of paper", and trying to pry it open without tearing the page is like trying to keep your eyes open when you're sneezing.

3. English Is Typed By A Non-English Speaking Person.

I've seen English sections that would be more helpful if I read them upside down while doing Sudoku! While rummaging in my book-shelf looking for some of my many annoying manuals I came across three very interesting sentences that I felt would've been easily avoided if the person had actually learned English. One said "insert in DVD fuck not for 15..." another said "Wait for click sound before 'cheapest stands' preceding with next step", I do not understand why they'd have "cheapest stands" in the middle of a pretty good looking sentence, and the final one (My personal favourite) "Company's Name Here proudly supports rabies", I mean it's easy to tell they've missed out on something crucial maybe the word "no" or something, but still the typo is just too significant to have not read.

4 .The Drudgery Of Reading The Long Non-important Parts To Find The Small Tiny Parts.

I've once sit down reading a manual from beginning to end, over 100 pages of nothing, with an index that didn't make sense and a font that makes weddings look like some kind of elaborative way of writing in English, only to find the five word answer I needed at the near back of the book. If they placed more time in actually planning before diving balls first into it, maybe they'd have one of the few readable manuals in the world.

5. The Manuals That Go For One Page And Don't Answer Your Original Query.

This one's self explanatory, but I've come across many of these. The most recent one was for a Bluetooth device for a mobile phone that doesn't tell you anything except for the fact that they're not liable for any accidental damage for the device.

I think that one of the most fundamental reasons I hate them for the most is the fact that they actually exist. I feel that with the rise of PDF's and other files the manual should've moved along with technology, being brought on a CD or downloadable from the websites, if this was so, almost all of my problems could be solved because the program solves it, or it's solved because it's intangible. Anyway, that is my Top Five Reasons I Hate Manuals.

Thanks for reading all!

By Matthew Willison

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