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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:16 pm

ef37a wrote:So, my touchstone is the user manual. Don't do one? Don't want your product.

I had often considered in the past getting permission to store the PDF manual for every product SOS reviews (that has one) in the cloud, and linking to it in the sidebar of that review.

Why bother? Well I often go searching for PDFs of gear that's stopped being current and is no longer even on the manufacturer's site, so being able to at least download the original PDF would in these instances be useful.

Of course, firmware and software gets updated all the time, so that original PDF has less value in some circumstances.
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:19 pm

MOF wrote:Surely a manual is needed internally to educate the people that are on ‘technical support’. So unless that isn’t the case then there’s no reason why a pdf can’t be made available, ditto for schematics.

You often find these days that it's on their website Help pages (until they deem it an unsupported product, upon which those help pages get removed!) and that no actual PDF has been created.

Many has been the time when I sat on Help Call queues only to be answered by a human who was reading the same info off the company's own website Knowledgebase that I was. :headbang: :protest:
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ef37a » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:27 pm

MOF wrote:Surely a manual is needed internally to educate the people that are on ‘technical support’. So unless that isn’t the case then there’s no reason why a pdf can’t be made available, ditto for schematics.

My point exactly MOF. There will also be the interminable meetings where every electron is waffled over endlessly. Can't do that unless you know what does what.

BUT. I suspect many companies like Wyze just buy in and market an already finished product
and do not think or care that people might want an instruction book.

Schematics are a different matter. Used to readily available but the rise of "Children of Unknown Fathers" like Behringer have made genuinely innovative firms wary of giving out that information. You could say people like Bs will reverse engineer things anyway but we don't have to make it easy for them!

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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:31 pm

I’m asking myself if I miss the early Roland manuals - hmmmm. Mostly yes when trying to understand the unit in spite of the amusing English.

Part of the trouble with the internet is finding a source that’s true. 50/50 chance on that. So I ask too many basic questions here because I know there will be facts behind them. (Unless somebody is taking the piss which I know I deserve now and then!)

Yesterday I was looking at ipad mounts on amazonked. There are user reviews and then questions answered by other users. People don’t realize how unhelpful they are when they try and be helpful. Example question - Will this holder fit the 12.9” iPad Pro. Answer - it stretches open a lot so it should.
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:35 pm

ef37a wrote:Yes Hugh but people must see this as bad policy and not buy from them (another word for it is "greed")...

Are you asking or telling? ;-) We're old, we appreciate the value of a decent manual, and we have the skills to understand the manual.

I don't know if all of those points are linked... but a lot of younger people don't share them and if a manual is provided it goes straight in the bin unopened.

Some once said. "It is almost always possible for someone to make something a little cheaper and a little worse".

Very true -- and it's proven every day.

I had to retune the Freeview telly the other day. When I did some research to find out why I discovered it's because more terrestrial TV channels are being cleared and sold off for 5G. The result is that some of the +1 channels have gone -- no great loss -- but so have some of the HD channels... so much for the importance of the high-definition, high quality service then... A little cheaper and a little worse! We now have a situation on Freeview where most channels are of a visibly lower quality than we used to get with analogue 625 line broadcasts.

Satellite broadcasts will be safe for a while yet, but terrestrial broadcasting's days are most definitely numbered. 5G mobile network providers can pay far more than the broadcasters can, and in any case, the number of viewers who want scheduled broadcasts are decreasing rapidly. Most now want on-demand narrowcasts.

...Not that that has anything to do with manuals... you just triggered a reaction with your quote! :think: :crazy:
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:38 pm

I still prefer printed manuals, it can be tedious trying to sort out a problem reading a pdf and operating the software on the one screen.
When Logic first came out it had a massive ring binder manual which it was great to be able to slot your fingers into the separate sections you needed to jump between e.g. ‘for further information go to page...., doing the same in a pdf manual is torture for me. Their later addition ‘getting started guide’ was a useful separate pamphlet.
I wish that Final Cut Pro X had a manual, the previous version did, I’m now doing online searches and looking at YouTube videos on a need to know basis.
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Logarhythm » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:43 pm

MOF wrote:Surely a manual is needed internally to educate the people that are on ‘technical support’. So unless that isn’t the case then there’s no reason why a pdf can’t be made available, ditto for schematics.

I fear that you are very optimistic if you expect that these days!
I once worked in a call centre doing "tech support", amongst other things, for the consumer end of a relatively well known brand of hifi and live sound equipment. The hifi support and telesales part was contracted out to a call centre provider who obviously did absolutely everything possible to keep expenses low. The requirement to gain employment in this role was slightly less than "will you work for minimum wage and are you passably literate?", and the "training" was commensurate with that.
The guy delivering the training knew sod all about the products, e.g. I asked him what the frequency response figures were for their flagship all-in-one hifi units, got told he didn't know, it wasn't available, and it wasn't relevant. We weren't given access to any sort of manuals - if " have you plugged it in?" and "can you turn it off and on again?" didn't fix it then we were supposed to check whether it was still in warranty and arrange a return if so.
I learned more from borrowing a staff demo unit and disassembling it one weekend than from anything they provided. Put it all back together fine but still got in trouble for doing so, because I "wasn't supposed to know" about some of the innards :roll: :mrgreen:
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:14 pm

I fear that you are very optimistic if you expect that these days!
I once worked in a call centre doing "tech support", amongst other things, for the consumer end of a relatively well known brand of hifi and live sound equipment. The hifi support and telesales part was contracted out to a call centre provider who obviously did absolutely everything possible to keep expenses low......
The guy delivering the training knew sod all about the products, e.g. I asked him what the frequency response figures were for their flagship all-in-one hifi units, got told he didn't know, it wasn't available, and it wasn't relevant. We weren't given access to any sort of manuals - if " have you plugged it in?" and "can you turn it off and on again?" didn't fix it then we were supposed to check whether it was still in warranty and arrange a return if so.
Oh dear, that’s not encouraging. I feel I should select an emoji now but I’m so ‘not of this modern generation’ that I only know about three of them and can’t see something that looks apposite.
P.S. This calls for a letter to the BBC’s Watchdog programme and another demanding a return of the ‘Grumpy old...’ slot.
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby CS70 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:16 pm

ef37a wrote:WRT the writing of a user manual and its cost to the company? How in Hades did it get made if nobody knows how the fekker works?

Ah, but knowing how it works and explaining it in clear and accessible terms are two very different ball games.

On the manuals, having gone thru a range of Nordic girlfriends enthusiastic of IKEA, I met only a couple who actually looked at the instructions for building - and only one who had the patience to look - with me - at the full process before beginning.

That's how the world is. Elf mentioned the Wizard first rule some time ago..

:D
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby desmond » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:23 pm

MOF wrote:I wish that Final Cut Pro X had a manual, the previous version did, I’m now doing online searches and looking at YouTube videos on a need to know basis.

The Apple Pro apps all have online documentation:-
Final Cut Pro X: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/final-cut-pro/welcome/mac
Logic Pro X: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/logicpro/welcome/mac
(This new documentation format doesn't seem to have a search, which is strange.)

The also have documentation for the major versions separately, eg, for the previous LPX 10.4 version:
https://help.apple.com/logicpro/mac/10.4.7/
(These ones do have search).

Also, the manuals to LPX and FCPX are under the "Help" menu in each app, in case it never occurred to you to look there..!
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:49 pm

Although I miss them, I think it a good thing for the environment that every product doesn't come with a printed manual by default.

That said, documentation is important even if it's not a formally written PDF. Personally for some things I find online documentation perfectly adequate but I'll print out the manual for others if I need to.

It often crosses my mind that 'back in the day' it was common for people to own fewer pieces of equipment but to know a lot more about their features and how to use them. These days with cheaper and feature-packed gear I doubt this is 'the norm' and that equipment is used for a relatively limited purpose relative to its capabilities.

It also often crosses my mind that it would be nice if manufacturers offered a printed manual as a reasonably priced follow-up option after purchase.
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ef37a » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:54 pm

Hugh, I am not asking for a paper manual. In the first instance it is a big cost in both cash and energy for what is almost junk mail (that REALLY pisses me off!) No, just a decent book I can download. I hate reading off a screen so I usually print out salient parts.

I would LIKE people not to buy such unsupported product but of course, up to them.

That writing such a manual is a skilled job* I readily agree with and this is part of what angers me. Some companies do it right and others just keep the money and don't employ the people required.

*Some 15 years ago I was making test beds that plugged into a PC that tested network module PCB's (sounds grand, wasn't) My immediate boss at the time, nice chap,'suggested' I write some Working Instructions to go in the 90001 Book. I declined, claiming I had no such literary skills. Well, many years before I had written, got published and paid for a couple of small articles in technical magazines but since the tight ****s were only paying me a quid or so over minimum wage they were not getting that for free!

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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:48 pm

ef37a wrote:Hugh, I am not asking for a paper manual.... No, just a decent book I can download.

Sure, I get that... but it still involves real costs for someone to research, write, layout and 'publish' (electronically) that book! The more detailed and comprehensive, the more the cost.

Some companies do it right and others just keep the money and don't employ the people required.

I don't think they are 'keeping the money', I think they are minimising expenses and overheads to remain competitive and generate some small profit instead of no profit.
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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ef37a » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:59 pm

Judging by their website and product range I do not think those 'Wyze' people are making a "small" or no profit.

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Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby CS70 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:05 pm

ef37a wrote:I would LIKE people not to buy such unsupported product but of course, up to them.

The issue is that from most people's point of view, it is not unsupported..
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