Who should write user manuals?

Kathy Sierra wrote about Why marketing should make the user manuals! and Darren Barefoot responded with Keep Marketing Away From the Manuals . Both are good posts and I’d urge you to read the posts and the comments as well.

A brief detour. The air hostesses (and hosts) at Southwest Airlines (this is based on read-say and hearsay) apparently has a fun way of showing you how to buckle and unbuckle your seatbelt, how to use your oxygen masks etc. It’s instructional and yet it’s memorable.

Brochures are usually memorable because they have a lot of colour, they’re printed on glossy paper, they’re designed to attract the eye, to stand out, they have fancy designers doing the artwork.

I’ve rarely seen a user manual that’s memorable. I’d written an article a few months ago What’s Fiction Got To Do With It*?, where I wrote: “When was the last time you were curled up in bed, warm and cozy, almost breathless, with a user manual in your hand, waiting to flip to the next chapter?” (It feels odd quoting myself, but, seriously, when was the last time? )

Maybe we need to find a middle ground. (via AskTog)


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