They come with just about everything now. Instruction guides, booklets, manuals, it doesn’t matter what you call them, but they have a lot of benefits for people. They inform us how to use, repair, understand, and work with an object or other item. While most people either read the manual’s cover to cover or simply toss them in a drawer and figure it out themselves, they often don’t look at the manual’s fascinating history.
Training guide products weren’t always included with every single item, and they’ve evolved over their two centuries in existence! The first recorded instruction manual was used with the first copy machine, and it was a simple four step instruction page glued to the machine. Most successful manuals, both historically and those produced today have three things they need to do.
They need to be easy to read so people can find the information they need, they need to have easy to understand instructions, and they need to be fast. The more time spent struggling with a manual, the less time people spend with the product.
In addition, most manuals need to be personal and forge a connection with the user either through humor, or advice on how to use the product effectively. For example, the manual for one of the first cameras told you how to use it, but also how to take a good picture. Other manuals do the same, not just giving information on the product, but also on how to use it.
Manuals should be a source of comfort to consumers, as a well written and detailed manual for a car can help make the experience of repairing and replacing parts less scary. The next time you buy a product, make sure to read the manual, and maybe you’ll find a hidden gem.