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Why do we produce manuals?

12 January 2012 2 Comments

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Why do we produce manuals?

I was asked this recently, and it was prompted by our claim that the Zetasizer Nano is easy to use, so surely a manual isn’t required?

We believe the Zetasizer is easy to use because our customers tell us it is. Comments such as these are typical:

“I can give users unaided access in a short period of time knowing that the learning curve is short. They only come to us when they need help. The Zetasizer Nano is so easy to use that, following a brief introduction, I often don’t hear from them again.”

“The Zetasizer Nano is so easy to use. All my students can familiarise themselves with it very quickly.”

“Dynamic light scattering with the Zetasizer Nano is both non-destructive and fast. It enables us to walk up to the instrument and test our samples in a matter of minutes. It is such a useful, easy-to-use system that the protein chemists in my department have used it every day since I bought it and wouldn’t want to live without it now they have it!”

So, as the product marketing manager responsible for this sort of thing it, it is worrying that I might have been wasting my time for all these years.

After all, my 13 year old son seems to manage to use the apps and games on his PC, and I doubt if he’s ever read a manual.

However, I read manuals. Almost every consumer product I buy has one, and I like to know its full capabilities.

Take my car (well, not literally) – It’s like most cars, if you can drive, you can get in and drive it…BUT nearly all the switches and buttons have a second function you can only find out about from the manual.

These functions may not be essential, but they can add to convenience. For example, the remote lock on the key – hold down the lock button instead of just pressing it, and all the windows close. Vice-versa, press and hold the unlock button and all the windows open – very useful in hot weather…

So – think about reading the manual, the one supplied with the Zetasizer is actually rather good, and it may actually save you time and give you more value out of the system in the long run.