Unboxing The Instant Pot & Its User Manual
Let’s talk about user manuals. Just imagine you finally buy that new phone you’ve had your eye on for a while and what comes out of the box? An old-fashioned user manual that is of no help in starting to use the product. You browse through warnings and warranties in lots different languages, but never find the information you need.
I’m sure you’re all aware of this feeling. However, today I had an issue with our brand new Instant Pot and of course I’d thrown away the instructions! I simply googled Instant Pot user manual and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with what popped up. Seeking help online is often frustrating. The posts you find may not cover the right version. Or they don’t quite describe your problem. Above all, they fail in teaching us the art of knowing what to look for.
Online, you can search for certain terms, find topics faster and post questions for other people. Online communities and answer sites can be incredibly useful. Mini tutorials on YouTube can also show you how to perform a task.
This particular user manual is also available as multilingual manuals and I found the exact information I needed quickly and easily. Getting the right support just when you need it can be hard with manuals. They are there when you unbox your product, but you want to start using the product immediately. And when you want to use advanced features or troubleshoot, the instruction manual is already long gone. Providing users with the right instructions at the right moment is a challenge when using traditional means.
These instructions are hopefully a sign of the times, and show how we’re quickly moving into a time where manufacturers appreciate that we don’t have a lot of time to be searching around for information. It’s an unfortunate fact that most pieces of technical documentation don’t help users identify relevant information. Luckily, we appear to be seeing the emergence of designers making products with ease of use at the haert of the process, their important features obvious enough, for the masses to figure out on their own. Until then, there will be a growing information gulf between the features we want and the engineering work that’s already been done.
The luxury homeware product makers still operate with their traditional business model: Every year or so they sell us a new version, whose appeal is supposed to be more features.
And so, as time goes by, our gadgets and apps become more and more complex but access to documentation remains scattershot and incomplete. In most cases, user manuals have a product perspective. They describe features and functionality. A user doesn’t understand this perspective. Their reference is the task they want to perform and seek a quick solution for. When the information in the instruction manual isn’t task-oriented it ultimately won’t help the user. Confusion and frustration arise and they call customer support to find answers.