Ever have trouble trying to figure out how to use something correctly? Ever make a BIG mistake? Ever wonder about the importance of usability in product design?
Most of us can hop into a car and drive it successfully, although we may not always understand all of the bells and whistles. (I just learned that the gas pump icon on the dashboard has an arrow that points to the side of the car where you fill up the tank.)
As technical communicators, we’ve always been fans of (and often produce) owners manuals, at least the good ones! The upcoming Owners Manual series from AMC pits someone who always reads the manual against someone who learns by doing, rather than reading instructions. As a Society for Technical Communication member, I’m really looking forward to the series and hoping, of course, that the guy who doesn’t read the manual manages to really screw things up. I’m also hoping that the series pays attention to the role of usability in product design. That’s a huge factor.