Even as a child we all learned the importance of making a good first impression. The same basic principal applies to business as well, especially when it comes to a product’s assembly or installation instructions. Most engineers and product developers are so familiar with their products that they don’t realize their directions are confusing to the first-time user.
Shoppers at Amazon.com can now tag products they’ve purchased online as having “poor instructions”.
We found one shopper’s experience to be quite telling:
Once assembled this fan does what it is supposed to do - moves air with an oscillating motion. But the assembly can be a challenge. For example, the instructions read: ‘Use the included 4 screws to attach the lower metal pole to the fan base.’ In fact that won't work - you also need to use the included washers and nuts to make the screws tight. Unfortunately, this was the smallest problem. At one point an ‘adjustable height knob’ (a screw with an oblong plastic cap) locked in place, and trying to loosen it stripped the cap off. This left a frozen screw that had to be removed with pliers. Next, a locking cap that was supposed to fix the fan blade in place didn't tighten - there wasn't enough threaded bolt exposed. It tightened nicely if you removed the fan blade, but that wouldn't cool your room well. With a few half-#*$$ed fixes the fan is now running, and seems to be cooling well.
Sound familiar, anyone? Have unclear directions ever made you want to bang your head against a wall? Perhaps while putting together pre-fabricated furniture? Or a gas grill? Or installing a swing set?