A manual or no manual; that is the question

My parents jumped into this techie world with both feet.

They purchased a slick, responsive Droid phone. I had a chance to recently test drive the new toy and was all smiles. Sadly, it puts my mobile device to the mat. I need to fix that.

They then slid back into the 90s with this one statement:
“Son, you are going to have to show us how we can order a manual? We need help in figuring out the icons.”

What's your compass when embarking with a new product?

I chuckled, but then realized that they were dead serious. Online help guides, FAQ, user groups mean little to the ‘more seasoned’ over 70 crowd.

I know it’s a generational thing, but I would poke, prod, twist, turn the device through its paces before consulting any help source.

I begrudgingly helped my parents with their manual request, locating a Website whose only purpose is to send out printed manuals for all flavors of high-tech devices (printers, televisions, computers, phones). Now there’s a business sector that was created in the last five years. Most, if not all, the devices purchased today refer you to the Web for help, tips, tricks. The companies finally asked themselves: Why spike our operating costs with hundred page manuals when they won’t be read?

The questions about my parents’ new Droid world continue to come in waves:

  • Where’s the GPS?
  • What does Gallery mean?
  • Why would I want to send a text?

I’ll find the time to help while marveling at the incredible business opportunities that will come available every day to help guide older generations into this fast-paced technological world. This is just the start of a techie products and services push aimed at the senior set. Hold on; it’s going to be a thrill ride.

Oh wait; that’s my Dad on the other line. He wants to order a manual for his new printer.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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