Instruction manuals.

Happybunny

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 9, 2010
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When you unpack and set up a new gadget do you read the instruction manual first, or only when you find your self unable to complete the task?

I ask this as I noticed as I got older (I would not say wiser) I read the instruction books more. Now that I'm 64yrs old I open the box a first read the whole instruction manual.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
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Harrogate
Depends on the item. If it's a simple device, say a kettle, I'm likely to ignore the manual. If it's something more complex, or that has a battery that might require specific first-use charging for best life I'll open the manual.
 
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MasterHowl

macrumors 65816
Oct 3, 2010
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North of England
I read the instruction manual for my Apple bluebooth keyboard because I wasn't sure how to connect it to my Mac at first... but I didn't read the instructions for any other of my Apple stuff (I just think they're so intuitive and you already know how to use them right away, for me anyway).

The only thing that I read the instructions back to front for was my Canon EOS 450D... it was my first DSLR camera, and I wanted to make sure I knew what all the different buttons did and exactly how much you could tweak the settings for shooting fully manual. I think I ended up reading it about four times in the 2 years I've had it :)
 
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Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,931
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New England, USA
When you unpack and set up a new gadget do you read the instruction manual first, or only when you find your self unable to complete the task?

I ask this as I noticed as I got older (I would not say wiser) I read the instruction books more. Now that I'm 64yrs old I open the box a first read the whole instruction manual.
Same here, and for the same reason. I insist it is because I'm older and WISER. Thant's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :p

It also drives me nuts when friends and family buy some simple device and bug me because they can't take 10 minutes to read the damn instruction manual! I'm often not too patient about it.:D
 
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arkitect

macrumors 603
Sep 5, 2005
5,942
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I always read the manual first.
When I was a child I spent a lot of time building models (ships and aircraft etc) and soon realised that gluing the wrong components together is a recipe for disaster.

My partner on the other hand never does and just dives right in. This does not work very well with stuff like flat pack Swedish furniture… :rolleyes:

Luckily for him I would have read the manual and can help out. :D
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
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Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Manual? with Apple all you get is a couple of basic pages....That's pretty much all you need. Buddy of mine has an Acer Tab...He had to print the manual out....(over 500 pages, most of it useless)

Part of the Apple experience is learning as you go.:)
 
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acidfast7

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2008
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EU
I never read the manual, nor the video game manual. A device/game should be intuitive.
 
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robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
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Harrogate
Manual? with Apple all you get is a couple of basic pages...
This is also true of many lower-end (think almost all point and shoot) cameras today. The manual is a PDF so is generally never read. I was quite amazed that Fuji supplied a full printed manual with the X10 my dad bought before Christmas.
 
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firestarter

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Dec 31, 2002
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Green and pleasant land
I might glance at the front couple of pages of a manual (to see if I'm supposed to plug a new gadget in and leave it to do a complete battery charge) but outside of that I generally don't read them - at least not up front.

If a printed manual is supplied I'll generally download a pdf version from the manufacturers web site, so at a future date I can quickly search for anything I need if I come unstuck.
 
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maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,376
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Boston
Depending on the product in question, I will dive right in w/o looking at the manual, other times I will.

For instance, I bought a Nikon V1 before Christmas. I've yet to open the manual. On the other hand, the stuff I bought my kids for Christmas almost require the manual, as they need to be assembled.
 
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Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
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Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
firestarter and Maflynn

This makes you both "Type A" personalities A useless fact for the day.

Type A's jump in where others would take a step back....Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I bypassed that connection and tried this one?

This also applies to me too:)
 
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firestarter

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2002
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Green and pleasant land
firestarter and Maflynn

This makes you both "Type A" personalities A useless fact for the day.

Type A's jump in where others would take a step back....Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I bypassed that connection and tried this one?

This also applies to me too:)
Maybe that's true... but for me a bigger factor is probably my own background. I studied electronic engineering to a high level, I've worked in IT for years and I'm a complete photography nerd. I find that most of the gadgets I buy are in these general fields... and they pretty much all have a UI designed by someone like me. I find that I can make a lot of assumptions about how a device works... 'If I designed this, I would do it like this' and most of the time that works out. I don't actually need the manual.

On the rare occasions I'm dealing with things outside my own experience (hello Ikea flat-pack furniture!) I have to follow the instructions to the letter. :)
 
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maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
firestarter and Maflynn

This makes you both "Type A" personalities A useless fact for the day.

Type A's jump in where others would take a step back....Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I bypassed that connection and tried this one?

This also applies to me too:)
My wife would tend to agree that I'm a type-a person. I fit the other aspects of that personality as well :)
 
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iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
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On tenterhooks
I might glance at the front couple of pages of a manual (to see if I'm supposed to plug a new gadget in and leave it to do a complete battery charge) but outside of that I generally don't read them - at least not up front.
Depending on the product in question, I will dive right in w/o looking at the manual, other times I will.
Most complex stuff has a Quick-Start section, and then the full Monty.

I do the first, then if all is well, use the rest on a need to know basis. ;)
 
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Fazzy

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
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check the tracking device
Ive never fully read a manual in my life. If i have a question about the product, i look on the internet. Its usually faster than reading pages and pages, but I'm just lazy i guess:p
 
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acidfast7

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2008
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And on the occasion that it isn't?
I figure it out and learn something new. In fact, we just started playing the new Zelda game on the Wii and haven't even looked at the manual.

Also, IKEA stuff is a piece-of-cake.

After a few weeks of playing with something, I'll look, but usually just at the specs.
 
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Antares

macrumors 68000
I only read/use a manual if I can't figure out what I need to on my own.

I glance through videogame manuals only because they sometimes include additional story or cool artwork...or if I need to reference a complex control scheme...like in fighting games.

With furniture, I like to use to manual to verify that all of the pieces have been included in the packaging...and more often than not, for assembly.

For devices, I almost never use the manual....again only if I'm trying to figure out a feature and its not immediately clear. Using the manual is often faster than just trying to figure it out, yourself.
 
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Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
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Folding space
It really depends on the device, and I must say that as I move on in years these multi-lingual 6 point manuals are really a challenge. My wife has a Samsung smartphone and the paper manual is unreadable. I got the PDF on my iPad, and it's 144 pages long. We used an Apple device to figure out an Android phone...:cool:

I read the set-up manual for my coffee pot to see which buttons to push to set time and such, but it's a simple machine. When I get a new Apple device, I never read the manual unless I find I need to do something like take a screenshot on an iDevice. Assembly is different for me. I read the instructions front to back, then break it up into tasks based on my intuition and work out of sequence.


Dale
 
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ender land

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2010
876
0
When you unpack and set up a new gadget do you read the instruction manual first, or only when you find your self unable to complete the task?

I ask this as I noticed as I got older (I would not say wiser) I read the instruction books more. Now that I'm 64yrs old I open the box a first read the whole instruction manual.
Depends a lot on the "how bad can I screw this up?" factor. If it's not too high or permanent I probably won't unless needed.

I did though read through most of the manual that came with the crock pot I got for christmas - because WTF can you write so many pages about a freaking CROCK POT for? :)
 
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Firestar

macrumors 68020
Sep 30, 2010
2,150
5
221B Baker Street.
I've read maybe a total of maybe 3 manuals- a couple pages of each, if not less. I don't really see a point, because I prefer to just find out myself.
 
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