Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- Test Your Knowledge of 4 Basic Fonts – Drag & Drop - January 27, 2017
- How NOT to Design a Web Site - January 25, 2017
- Hazards of Poorly Written Technical Documentation - December 26, 2016
© 2009-2011 Ugur Akinci
Confession time: I don’t read enough of the documentation for the things that I buy. I used to think it was a combination of arrogance and hubris. That I could figure out how to use just about anything by playing with it. That was true, to a certain degree.
Really, the problem was that I had no confidence in the documentation for consumer products. In the past, I’d found the documentation to be inaccurate, poorly written, and either incomplete or hard to follow.
Those bad experiences caused my opinions to be jaundiced, and to shun the instructions for consumer products. No matter how good that documentation might be. Recently, though, I was forced to change my opinion.
Dealing with a wireless mouse
About two weeks ago, I bought myself a wireless mouse for my netbook. Partly because the travel mouse that I had went AWOL, and partly because I didn’t want a mouse cable getting in the way on a small table or desk, or have to worry about wrapping the cable up and it getting tangled.
After bringing the mouse home, I installed a batter and plugged the USB dongle into a port on my netbook. I turned on the mouse and guess what? It didn’t work. I was perplexed. So I plugged it into my laptop. Same deal.
Desperate, I grabbed the instruction sheet and read the part about how to mate the mouse and the receiver. It took a little longer than I thought it would, but suddenly the mouse started working.
I learned a lesson: the documentation for consumer products isn’t always as bad as I expect it to be.