Question About D7K Postings Here

Started May 31, 2012 | Discussions thread
SteveCooper Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Re: It's a human nature

I used to sell keyboards - synthesizers. These musical instruments are pretty complex. I used to get annoyed with customers who complained that their keyboard didn't work right or couldn't do this or that. They rarely if ever used or read the manual. I made it a habit to always read manuals when we got in a new product as I tried to offer my clients the best customer service possible.

I also had the unique opportunity to do beta testing and found out how owners manuals are typically written. Manuals are often written by people who are too close to the product- meaning they are one of the people involved in the development of the instrument- maybe even an engineer. If this is the case, they may take too much for granted and leave out important info for the novice, and the manual may also be boring and lack a practical approach to using the product. If the manual is written by a person not involved in the development process, they may not understand some of the reasons of the design and miss important aspects of the product. Either way there are pros and cons. Now comes the BIG one- if the product is made/designed/engineered in Japan, there are going to be translation issues and this causes confusion and often mistakes. Last but not least, what if the engineers decide at the last minute to change or add a feature and the manual has already been printed? Which brings up another point- do you write the manual to tell the engineers how to make the product work, or do the engineers make a product and then write the manual? All of this can lead to the end user to decide not to read any more manuals.

I think there are some things cameras and their manuals have in common with keyboards. They are complex devices. The manuals are for the most part, a list of features and what those features do. The manuals I have seen and try to read are not really user guides.

Coming from an enthusiast level camera to a DSLR was quite a step for me and I still have a lot to learn. I'll confess I've tried to read my manual (as I used to always preach to my clients) and I have found the manual to be boring, not practical, and not user friendly. So I went out a bought a book on my camera that reads like a book. Much better, but how many people give up with the manual and just try to use the camera? I have to say I can empathize with those people.

The big difference is I don't blame the camera for my lack of knowledge. If after I have read my books, checked the owner's manual, and asked my local salesperson, I still am not getting good results, then I will blame the technology and consider having it looked at by a service person, but not before.

And then there are people who should have just stuck with a P&S, but they have the right to spend their money....

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