no one reads them but we keep making them for almost everything

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Mea culpa. At 34 years old, I don’t usually read the instruction manuals of the devices I buy. I only do it when I have no other choice or the risk of screwing up can be high and, above all, expensive. I admit it without shame because I know that in this I don’t walk alone.

So alone! Here I go in a well-nourished band. A company study Allstate Protection Plans finds that only half of respondents read manuals when they need to learn how to fix a problem or use a certain feature of their devices.

Is that bad? Depends.

The report, picked up by Lifewirelet one lime and one sand. There are those who condemn the manuals to the drawer of oblivion or directly to the paper container because they prefer to risk it in the oracle of Google either Youtube. And those who don’t because when they receive the device they have already read so much, absorbed so much data and tutorials, that they simply know almost everything.

What do YouTube or Google say?

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“Nowadays people research the product so deeply before buying it that they already know all its features and how it works. In some cases even more than the seller”, explains Vikrant Ludhraof the financial services company Alternative Pathto Lifewire.

The companies themselves seem to have assumed a change of scenery that they encourage in a certain way for years, reducing the guides to their minimum expression, a couple of pages with basic notions that allow the user to start their device and then investigate at your own risk.

The Allstate Protection Plans Report shows that 78% of those surveyed had recently had a domestic appliance break down, especially washing machines and refrigerators. Of the thousand people in the United States with whom the company spoke, only 50% had consulted its manual before.

The most curious thing is that a good part of those surveyed went to YouTube or Google in search of information. There are also those who ignore the printed booklets that accompany the devices and, when problems arise, resort to the manufacturer’s website.

Let's talk about the slow, but irremediable, death of instruction manuals in mobile phone boxes

How we behave is also closely linked to age. The younger we are, the more we trust the Internet. The percentage of those who turn to Google or YouTube before the manuals is 80% among those under 44 years of age, a percentage that drops to 58% among those over 45. “They are becoming less of a first option and more of a copy of security”, concludes.

What is the reason for twilight of the manuals?

To understand the new reality, it helps to manage some data. Perhaps the main one is that there are many people who do not like to read. The 2019 Reading Habits Barometer reflected that just over a third of Spaniards, 38.2%They never or hardly ever do.

What do gain weight are new ways to communicate, more supported by the image and the audiovisual. People are looking for more immersive, dynamic, didactic experiences that allow them to obtain data quickly. Another of the great keys is how unintuitive some manuals become. In their favor, yes, they have resources such as augmented or virtual reality.

Cover image | Tnarik Innael (Flickr)

Mea culpa. At 34 years old, I don’t usually read the instruction manuals of the devices I buy. I only…

Mea culpa. At 34 years old, I don’t usually read the instruction manuals of the devices I buy. I only…

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