It’s Official–Nobody Reads the Manual
Well, almost nobody. Early on in my tech writer career I had the eye-opening experience of walking into an engineer’s office and seeing a multi-volume set documentation on his bookshelf still covered in shrink wrap. I thought to myself that after all the months work on the manuals he should at least have the common human decency to take off the shrink wrap. It’s like buy a painting and hanging it with the painted side facing the wall. Since then when people ask me what I do I tell them I write books that nobody reads.
Now we have statistical proof of this phenomena:
Gadget Helpline, a UK tech support service, found that well over half of their male customers didn’t even bother to read the manual before calling tech support. C’mon guys, is that the best we can do?
Apparently, only 24% of females don’t read the manual before picking up the phone. Good on you, ladies. Apparently you’re far less lazy than us when it comes to reading.
It’s interesting note the differences between men and women. Maybe we should write a male and female version of each manual. The female manual assumes that the user will read the manual before using and the male one that he will maybe open it only if he runs into a problem.