You are here

User manuals (lack of)

Announce new products, updates, events, competitions, jobs and special offers here.

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:21 pm

Apple Pro apps all have online documentation:-
Final Cut Pro X:
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/f ... elcome/mac
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..!

Thanks Desmond, I did know about both these items. The former seems to be in very small chunks (constant going back to TOCs) and very text based, strangely for a video application you would have thought that Apple would make introductory videos. I’ve looked at some good third party ones.
The latter I have used and It is identical (I think) to the former.
I’ve just looked at my old FCP manuals and they look better laid out and have more photographs of the relevant controls and the narrative keeps moving on i.e. not constantly referring back to the TOCs after one paragraph and a “was this helpful?” Set of Tick boxes.
MOF
Frequent Poster
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2003 12:00 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ef37a » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:44 pm

CS70 wrote:
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..

But how do we know? If they don't have the smarts or don't care to invest in a manual it is a bit like insurance? You don't know how good it is till the excrement hits the impeller!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11649
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby desmond » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:18 pm

MOF wrote:Thanks Desmond, I did know about both these items.

There are also iBooks and PDF formatted versions, which you can search, and view in continuous page format.

I think Apple do a pretty good job at documenting these apps (although the docs are fairly brief for most functions, but it's a TL;DL culture 'n all...!)
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9790
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby N i g e l » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:00 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote: 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.

I agree that generating a manual is a cost, as is keeping it upto date to reflect firmware changes.

One way around this is for the company to create a simple manual and have a user forum.
The assortment of enthusiasts and intellects on the forum will soon create a useful database of knowledge and indeed actively find solutions to problems.
The forum runs independently of the company leaving the staff to concentrate on deep technical issues.

This mode also works for ancient products from long dead companies.
N i g e l
Frequent Poster
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:40 pm
Location: UK

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:03 pm

N i g e l wrote:One way around this is for the company to create a simple manual and have a user forum.
The assortment of enthusiasts and intellects on the forum will soon create a useful database of knowledge and indeed actively find solutions to problems.
The forum runs independently of the company leaving the staff to concentrate on deep technical issues.

This mode also works for ancient products from long dead companies.

Err, sounds to me like the SOS Forum. ;-)
User avatar
Forum Admin
Moderator
Posts: 3327
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 10:00 pm
Location: A studio deep in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK
SEARCH 11,325 SOS Reviews/Techniques articles: www.soundonsound.com/search

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby N i g e l » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:08 pm

yeah kind of. With the addition of being monitored discretly by superusers [Co employess] who can actually make notes on the improvements list or bug fix list and beta testers, who are "ordinary users" but with links to the Co. They have an interest in promoting the product in return for.........dunno........free product/design input/1st dibs on updates ?
N i g e l
Frequent Poster
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:40 pm
Location: UK

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:55 pm

More like the reaper forum maybe.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10454
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:34 pm

I do a bit of beta testing and one company has a forum similar to SOS, but on a much smaller scale, for dealing with different aspects and topics of the testing. It works well.
In the end they do have an online manual for their products.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3027
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:00 pm
Location: In the woods in Canada

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ef37a » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:04 am

ManFromGlass wrote:I do a bit of beta testing and one company has a forum similar to SOS, but on a much smaller scale, for dealing with different aspects and topics of the testing. It works well.
In the end they do have an online manual for their products.

Sounds like Best of Both, in fact this is nothing new, just different. In the mid 60s/70s the major electronics firms, RBM, Thorn (Ferguson) Sony, all supplied excellent user manuals and even better service manuals. They also had a dealer feedback system whereby 'stock faults' could be reported back to the company service dept and these included in a faults database. One company at least I recall had a quarterly booklet sent out to dealers with faults and service tips. Today of course that would be done on the net.

I have had another response from Janette. My last reply to her did not 'quite' say "I don't trust companies that can't be bothered to provide a manual" but made it clear I think that so long as they did not I was not interested. This seemed to impress and she said she would pass my comments on...So, you never know!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11649
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:15 am

Perhaps management would see the value of a manual. Either way I think you did the right thing and I like to do the same if I think it could help make a product better in some way.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3027
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:00 pm
Location: In the woods in Canada

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:59 am

The thing is, these are commercial operations. If most users really valued the manual, then it would make a difference to purchasing preferences or servicing costs. If it's not affecting the bottom line then one way or another it's not valuable to the company. The fact that small number of oldies (and not so oldies) like us find them really useful just doesn't cut the mustard.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10454
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby ef37a » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:51 pm

blinddrew wrote:The thing is, these are commercial operations. If most users really valued the manual, then it would make a difference to purchasing preferences or servicing costs. If it's not affecting the bottom line then one way or another it's not valuable to the company. The fact that small number of oldies (and not so oldies) like us find them really useful just doesn't cut the mustard.

Deja vu! I had a similar conversation with a nice chap at my bank when I asked him why Nat West (THE listening bank!) did not have a email contact address and it was virtually impossible to get information online unless you had an account. He replied that customers had other ways to get information. My response to that was "What about people that are not yet account customers but want information?" He said he had not thought of that.

To me it seems blindingly obvious? I want to buy a product so I look for the user manual because, UNIQUELY that will tell me, if it is any good, exactly what the product does, how it might interface with my existing setup and give me a head start for when/if it arrives.
The alternative is I buy on the strength of ad puff claims and THEN if I have a problem I have to fight my way through a silly ticket scheme. One question, one answer a day IF you are lucky.

Sorry, don't buy the hard luck stories. If a firm is so precarious financially that they cannot produce even an online manual I don't want to deal with them thank you very much.

If I were 20 yrs younger I would be knocking small gadgets out from my home to get enough wonga together to buy my Result Sixes. I am pretty damn sure I could write a decent user manual for a signal booster or similar!

Dave.(Joaney Mitchell had it bang right!)
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11649
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby Trevor Johnson » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:06 pm

The printed manuals that used to come with Adobe Audition, taught me a lot about digital audio, and you can more easily bookmark a paper manual.

I have just received a German antenna analyser, (a single port VNWA), and there is some assembly required, but it came with a beautiful colour manual, showing assemblly and operation.

My car, however came with a 200 page 'quick start guide', however, the full manual, pdf only, is 736 pages long. very useful in the middle of nowhere......
Trevor Johnson
Regular
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:27 pm

It's not just manuals, remember when you could get catalogues through the post?

In the early 90's I was already receiving regular free catalogues from StewMac by post from the states. I then wrote to Luthier's Mercantile International asking if they sent catalogues outside the USA. I received a large parcel with a ring binder and catalogue insert, and continued to regularly receive updates in the form of fresh pages to insert into the ring binder. I still have that binder and contents.

And both the StewMac and LMI catalogues included technical articles on various aspects of luthiery.

Both companies have moved online, and still offer a lot of useful guides and information as well as products.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 10066
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: User manuals (lack of)

Postby CS70 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:51 pm

ef37a wrote:
CS70 wrote:The issue is that from most people's point of view, it is not unsupported..

But how do we know?

The way that a company knows about anything else: either look at what other companies do or try it out and see the impact on sales.

At some point one company stopped including manuals and replaced them with pdfs first and websites after, and their sales results kept being satisfactory. Others took notice, tried, and had similar results.

If it were as problem for most people, sales would go down enough for companies to take notice.

Businesses are far more predictable than people, and the larger the business, the more predictable it is.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5512
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

PreviousNext