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    © 2014, Joseph B. Wikert
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« Extending an eReader with a Smartphone | Main | Publishing in the Social World »

November 14, 2010

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Michael Miller

Nice thoughts, but problematic. The issue is that not all consumers have the same access to or familiarity with technology. QR codes are great for those who (a) have smartphones with (b) a QR app installed and (c) actually know what QR codes are and (d) are comfortable using them and (e) prefer to view video instructions instead of printed ones. That narrows down the audience a bit. My father, as an example, doesn't have a smartphone, has no idea what a QR code is, couldn't figure out how to use it if he did, and wants time to read (re: pour over) written instructions. Go all QR/video, and you end up with a large percentage of very dissatisfied customers -- and a high returns rate.

Heck, why do you think written instructions have so many pictures? Because there's a subset of the audience that either can't or doesn't want to read the text! Instructions pretty much have to play to the lowest common denominator. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't supplement traditional printed (or picture) instructions with video how-tos; that's a great idea, and I've found those videos useful, too. You just can't replace them.

Joe Wikert

Hi Mike. Totally agree. That's why I suggested manufacturers provide links to the written instructions for downloading/printing as well. You're right though that some people won't have a computer or internet connection, so perhaps the printed materials have to remain with us.

Either way, there's no reason manufacturers can't provide both written instructions *and* videos. It's similar to how many of these manuals come in multiple languages. I prefer the language of video now though, so I'd appreciate a quick way to watch the assembly steps on my smartphone.

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