I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

Write the manual first.

You don’t really know a subject until you’ve had to teach it. In the same way, you don’t really understand your interface until you’ve written a manual explaining how to use it. It can be a frustrating experience. Take for example the two manuals for digital watch and analog watch. The section on setting a digital watch is over a page of dense, difficult explanation. The analog’s is a single sentence: “Pull crown and turn.”

Don’t forget to test the manual on real people. Watching them misunderstand, misinterpret, and miss might be the most aggravating experience you’ve had since trying to thread a needle in the dark. Remember, though, it’s not the their fault.

It all comes down to this: If you’re having trouble explaining how to use your product, the user will have trouble using it.

RT @aza Write the manual first. | Follow @aza on Twitter | All blog posts

No related posts.

View all 123 comments


Great idea. Simple and too the put. Your manual for “using the manual” is a good manual. :-)


Why people buy digital watches is beyond me.



    James

    I actually picked up a digital watch in Japan that you set by pulling and turning a dial just like an analog watch.



David Bolton

I bug digital watches because analog clocks are difficult to read. The prominence of the minute hand over the hour hand is practical but confusing and illogical. The need to multiple by 5 to get the exact minutes is an additional mental strain for the user.

Since I read the time far more than I set the time, digital wins out. That doesn’t mean I enjoy setting the time on my digital watch.



Aza Raskin

@David Agreed fully. In terms of efficiency, digital watches win on output interface; analog watches win on input interface. T’were only there a mix between the two.



Jimmy

Why doesn’t some just stick a crown on a digit watch just like an analog watch. When you turn it it changes the time on the digit watch. Is this really that hard? Then you would have the best of both worlds.


@Jimmy Timex did a watch just like that for a short period of time. Then, when I went to look for it again, it seems to have been discontinued.


Aza,

So true! I think teaching software engineering at NYU for 5 years really made me understand its intricacies.

What is common between teaching and manuals is that in both cases you need to systematize your thoughts and create complete description of the class or a product.

Alex


Great Post! But is “Write the manual first” always possible?

When creating something new, the process of building can inform the interactions when doing exploratory programming. Your ubiquity for mice prototypes being a great example where you might not know the “how” for the interactions even when you know the “what”.

Perhaps I’m interpreting the title of your post incorrectly since the body doesn’t imply an ordering, but that you think through how to teach users while you are building/designing.


There is a problem though: the features differ.

On an analog watch, you just set hours and minutes. For the digital one, the extra instructions which fill the page are for timezone, second, year, month, day, and even the time format.
You cannot accomplish that with one (or two) crowns while maintaining ease of use.

But regarding manuals: the best product is that which does not need one. No one likes to read long instructions, even if they are beautifully information designed. (Although I admit that it is often insightful.)


I agree digital watches read better. When I look at an analog watch, I find myself translating it to digital anyway. Though analog makes it easier to visualize at least short passes of time, like when you have to leave in ten minutes.

While turning the crown is really simple, intuitive and easy to describe on an analog watch, on a digital watch the mapping isn’t as direct, so presumably the user would mostly understand it through their experience with analog watches.

Also, the worst-case scenario (changing by 6 hours if it turns both ways, or 12 hours if it only turns one way) can be a bit time-consuming.

A digital interface can be made pretty simple and intuitive (hour plus and minus buttons, minute plus and minus) but it’s a tradeoff against watch real estate and simplicity/elegance.


I’ve read about an alarm clock that is voice-controlled, so you can do something like “set the time”, “eight forty-five”. That’s an interesting interface, too.



Havvy

Great article. You have a typo though: “Remember, though, it’s not the their fault.” The “the” is not needed.

I’ve been trying to write a manual (wiki type) for a Web IRC client, and it does get tough to write something that you think newbies will understand, acts as a reference for more experienced users, and it does get difficult. Still, it increases my knowledge of it.


Writing a manual totally feels right as a part of the design and exploration process, both as a sanity-check for complexity and a way to make sure a feature is relevant to a real human need. I can see having a coherent man page as a requirement before any production-code is written (or whatever the equivalent is for non-software products).

But I’d agree with what Jesse said above, I’m not so sure about the “write first” part implied by the title. Writing an end-user document as a way to define features seems a bit problematic.


I commented on my own blog, I don’t think it has its place here, but you can read it if you want :

http://kevinbongart.net/blog/2009/01/08/write-the-manual-first/


Aza, I’m interested in your response to Jesse Andrews.

It is also my experience, that writing software documentation is an excellent way to discover all the conceptual inconsistencies and cognitive hard edges of the program. If you can’t explain it easily, that its definitely not easy to use in practice.

But I was also in position described by Jesse, designing a new UI for a product. Whiteboard concepts and paper prototypes got me only so far… Sometimes it is necessary to build the real thing and iterate few versions, to get excellent results. I’m not sure how the “manual first” rule applies there.


I bug digital watches because analog clocks are difficult to read. The prominence of the minute hand over the hour hand is practical but confusing and illogical. The need to multiple by 5 to get the exact minutes is an additional mental strain for the user.Hapı Zlfvbh


I bug digital watches because analog clocks are difficult to read. The prominence of the minute hand over the hour hand is practical but confusing and illogical. The need to multiple by 5 to get the exact minutes is an additional mental strain for the user.



Sex

I bug digital watches because analog clocks are difficult to read. The prominence of the minute hand over the hour hand is practical but confusing and illogical. The need to multiple by 5 to get the exact minutes is an additional mental strain for the user.


You don’t really know a subject until you’ve had to teach it. In the same way, you don’t really understand your interface until you’ve written a manual explaining how to use it. It can be a frustrating experience. Take for example the two manuals for digital watch and analog watch. The section on setting a digital watch is over a page of dense, difficult explanation. The analog’s is a single sentence: “Pull crown and turn.”


I’ve read about an alarm clock that is voice-controlled, so you can do something like “set the time”, “eight forty-five”. That’s an interesting interface, too.


What a thought, i am absolutely agree with it!



Dan

Come to think of it, it would be tons easier to set a digital dial with an analog control.



Calum

I used to advocate this approach all the time, but more and more I find that the things we work on don’t ship with any manuals or help, online or otherwise…


This is a Brooksism (the architect writes the manual).

But yeah, it’s a useful litmus test. If I can’t explain something in familiar terms, I don’t completely understand it myself.



Sajid

Nice thought, but I have a different take on this.

Apple didn’t write a huge manual for iPhone. Not because the product was too simple to use (if you had not seen the keynote and all the hype), but because, they allowed you to discover and delight.

The experience of discovering features on iOS is something to be mastered by interaction designers. Accidental discovery of features are a delight and once discovered, they work consistently.


For the digital one, the extra instructions which fill the page are for timezone, second, year, month, day, and even the time format.


the most aggravating experience you’ve had since trying to thread a needle in the dark. Remember, t


thnks
goooooooooooood
min:)ااا


I like such topics


thanks bro


Simply have to condition your personal article is usually as incredible. The particular lucidity within your setup is just great along with i am going to presume you might be informed with this particular subject.


good solutions, this is what I called brilliant


This is my first time I visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the fun here! Keep up the good work.


I must admit that this is one great insight. Surely gives a company the opportunity to get on the ground floor and really take part in creating something special and tailored to their needs.


Hrmm that s weird, my comment ate. However, I would say it is good to know that someone else also mentioned this as I have trouble finding the same information elsewhere. This was the first place that gave me the answer. Thank you.


With the whole thing that seems to be building within this subject matter, all your viewpoints are generally somewhat refreshing. Even so, I appologize, but I can not subscribe to your entire plan, all be it exhilarating none the less. It appears to everybody that your opinions are generally not completely justified and in actuality you are generally your self not really wholly confident of the argument. In any event I did appreciate examining it.


I see you put a lot of work in this site! Keep writing!


Although I am no noob in the website industry, your site really is something different and features some helpful thoughts. Enjoying it to the fullest! I ll incorporate you in my blogroll, i think it will provide more value to my visitors.


An fascinating dialogue is worth comment. I feel that you must write extra on this topic, it won t be a taboo subject but usually people are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers


Super blog post, I count on updates by you.


The beauty of these blogging engines and CMS platforms is the lack of limitations and ease of manipulation that allows developers to implement rich content and skin the site in such a way that with very little effort one would never notice what it is making the site tick all without limiting content and effectiveness.


This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want. HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!


Aw, this was a really great post. In theory I d like to write like this also taking time and real effort to make a good article. but what can I say. I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.


I can see that you are putting a lots of efforts into your blog. Keep posting the good work. Some really helpful information in there. Bookmarked. Nice to see your site. Thanks!


    おはよう。うちは、明日で28歳になります。顔にはシワとシミ
    が目立ってきました。そこで気になっているのが美容に関わることです。ここのところ、肌の調子が悪くこのままでは、もっと劣化してしまうのではないかと不安です。そこでプラセンタドリンクや他のヒアルロン酸ドリンクなどに興味を持ったり、いろんなコスメ・スキンケア製品を試しています。クレンジングから洗顔、化粧水やクリームなどもいろんなメーカーのを試したいですね。あと私は、敏感肌なので自分の肌に合うものを使いたいですね。最近は、面倒くさい人のためにオールインワンジェルという便利なスキンケア商品もありますね。とりあえずたくさん使ってみたいと考えています。


Great post! I?m just starting out in community management marketing media and trying to learn how to do it well resources like this article are incredibly helpful. As our company is based in the US, it?s all a bit new to us. The example above is something that I worry about as well, how to show your own genuine enthusiasm and share the fact that your product is useful in that case


Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it is nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.


Hey, just looking around some blogs, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?


Keep em coming. you all do such a great job at such Concepts. can t tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!


Hi webmaster, commenters and everybody else !!! The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep em coming. you all do such a great job at such Concepts. can t tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!


Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys I have added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. . I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.


Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.


That fantabulous post this has been. Within no way seen this kind associated with useful post. I am grateful to you and anticipate much more associated with posts such as. Thank you very much.


Wow, this was a really quality post. In theory I d like to write like this too taking time and actual effort to make a good post. but what can I say. I procrastinate alot and never appear to get something done.


I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time. however it was another pleasure to see It is such an essential topic and ignored by so numerous, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issueExcellent stuff as typical.


The post is pretty interesting. I really never thought I could have a good read by this time until I found out this site. I am grateful for the information given. your writing is also very excellent. Thanks for nice post. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.


Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I ll be sure


Just what I needed. Thankyou I have been looking for this sort of information for ever. I have made note of your blog in order for me to read more on the topic.


A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he actually bought me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him. . smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If attainable, as you turn into expertise, would you mind updating your weblog with extra particulars? It s highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog put up!


I actually learned about nearly all of this, but with that in mind, I think it is still useful. Great job!



Hai

“%KW%”


I thought it was going to be a boring old post, but it really acompensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that the most useful


I see you put a lot of work on this site! Keep writing!


Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very usefula to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that the most useful.


No? U better written. Reading this post reminds me of my olda roommate! He was always talking about it. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


“%KW%”


Let me start by saying beautiful message. Not sure if thias has been discussed about, but when using Chrome I can never get the entire site to load without refreshing many times. May be my computer. Thank you.


Far, this post is very sweet on this important topic. I aam in harmony with the conclusions and are eagerly waiting for the update entry. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the wonderful clarity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Wonderful work and much success in your business! Please excuse my poor English as it is not my first language.


Aw, this was a message that was really good. In theory aI d like to write like this too taking time and real effort to make a good article . but what can I say . I procrastinate a lot and never seem to do something.


I visit every day a few web pages and information sites
to read articles, however this blog gives feature based posts.


If you desire to increase your familiarity just keep visiting this website and
be updated with the hottest information posted here.


Nice this particular net page. I am sorry for the offtopic question, but would you advocate blogEngine even more than WordPress? cause I actually am considering about implementing that.


Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all important infos.

I’d like to look extra posts like this .


You are a very intelligent individual!


This web internet site is genuinely a walk-through for all with the information you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you are going to definitely discover it.


Hello there everyone in this article, the is several feedback referring to everything here, hey there administrative you should erase all the feedback!


First-rate site I tend to be of the same opinion with most of what you wrote. I would like to see more posts on this. I will bookmark and come back.


hello admin, your site page’s pattern is simple and clean and i like it. Your articles are amazing. Remember to maintain up the great function. Greets..


I like checking your website. Thanks for your time!


Keep up the good work and generating the crowd!


You’ve got one of the greatest webpages


This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!


**Need help finding the right Smart Pen for me** Here’s what I’ve got and what I’m looking for: * Android smart * Windows 10 computers * I’d love to walk into a meeting, have this pen, write and draw during the meeting and then transfer that into I’m OK with doing a manual export/import into * I’m also fine with doing this over a wire Wifi or bluetooth * I also need to have my handwritten notes be converted into digital What’s the best pen out there for my needs ? There are so many and finding the right one has been really


These are great insights to have and obviously a very good article. Some very good tips that I think everyone would do well to keep in mind.


Fear not OP, Australia will never Nobody ever accused us of being Try introducing daylight savings, or late night shopping to WA, and you will see what I


My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!|


I have read several just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you put to create this kind of magnificent informative site. lords mobile gameplay part 1


I think this is among the most vital information for me.
And i’m happy studying your article. However want
to commentary on few general issues, The site taste is ideal, the articles is in reality great
: D. Just right activity, cheers


全身脱毛がマストになってきてきます。目立つ毛の対処は今ではマナーです。毛が多いというのがダメなわけではなく対処をしていないのがよくないですね。無駄毛のお手入れというのは美意識を高まるためにかかせないということです。家で電動カミソリなどを買って対処する方法も悪くはないですがやはり自己流は完全は無理だし何よりも連続してムダ毛というのは伸びますよね。エンドレスです。このような手間からバイバイしてどんなときもすべすべの肌でいられるように脱毛サロンを選んでみませんか?


例を挙げると課題を思い返してください。
宿題は大抵は「ドリルの何ページから何ページまでやる。」というふうに範囲が決まっていますよね。やらねばならないことが決まっていれば、モチベーションが低いものの、何はともあれやってやろう。という思いにもなります。そして、やり終えたときには、僅かな充足感も味わえたりして・・・宿題は言うなればノルマのようなものです。受験勉学を効率よく消化していくためにはこの目標をとても
意識することが必須です。目標がきまっていればすくなくともやるしかありません。


こちらのBLOGは、Juggler立ち回り法好きの管理者が、現在ネットで流行っているJugglerシリーズ勝ち方を、現実に実践してみた結果、ガセ情報でないかどうかをリポと共に、RANK方式でお伝えするというホームページです。

ジャグラーで稼ぐjugglerで稼ぐ為に、ぜひ使ってみてください。

詳細は次のホームページを参照してください。


福岡市南区の美容整形外科への看護師求人募集をお探しの方へ!

福岡市中央区大名の最新の看護師求人情報はもちろん、一般に公開されない非公開の募集案件が豊富な求人サイトをご案内しています。

あなたにピッタリの福岡市中央区天神の美容皮膚科医院への求人募集情報が見つかります!

こちらにあなたにも有益なサイトがあります。


はじめまして!気になって毎週拝見しておりました。私も頑張ってサイトを運営しているので参考にしていました。ありがとうございました。
洗顔料で人気のクリーミューと言うみちょぱがプロデュースした泥の入った洗顔知っていますよね?
私は最近まで知らず、ネットの書き込みや口コミを見て使ってみたの。そしたら、すごくよかったんです!
角栓も洗えたし、洗い上がりはつるっとすっきりするしね。ブログに書いたのでよかったら見に来てちょうだい。よろしくね。


こちらにあなたにおすすめのペット保険を紹介しています。


乾癬が治る人とそうでない人の違いを、話しています。
ぜひ、乾癬を完治させたい場合はご覧になって下さい。


Lokasi Kesehatan I stumbled on this technique through an exploration of the unicode “mirror” character= which reverses the direction of all text after it. Doing a search for seemingly breaks Google 30 Alamat Dokter BPJS


Tuhan tidak mengharuskan kita sukses Tuhan hanya mengharapkan kita mencoba Gambar Vagina


memek mulus Tuhan tidak mengharuskan kita sukses Tuhan hanya mengharapkan kita mencoba memek korea


Article intelligent. Je suis tombé par hasard sur ce blog et vais continuer à le suivre !


はじめまして。僕は明後日で20歳と2ヶ月になります。そしてムシムシする時期になりました。ですから早く無駄な毛はしたいですよね。近年では、全国に脱毛できる病院がいっくらでもあります。やりたいところは、個人差が、特に人気なのは手の甲です。私は、女性に人気のシースリーを選びました。そのおかげで、今はムダ毛が少なくなってきました。やはり一人で処理するのとは、違います。もう少しシースリーに通ってムダ毛を少なくしたいです。でも、脱毛サロンに通ったとしても知りたいのは脱毛にかかる料金です。それについては、スタッフに聞けばいいでしょう。あと気になるのが、いつまで通わないといけないのかです。うちはできれば、半年くらいですべて終わってくれるといいですけどね。まあ、今から行く人は相談してみましょう。


The 2010 Schwinn mountain bikes come in a hard-tail body with
the selection of either steel or aluminum.


予約はなかなか取れないし脱毛機器も効果の弱い物ばかりですで最低でも1年はかかってしまうでしょう|家庭用脱毛器を使った場合、良い脱毛器であればだいたい半年ほどで完了する事が可能


Using our UFC TV Game Hack Tool solves this problem.


茨城県の昔のお札買取細かいことはこちら。中中サイトです。


ぎっくり腰に見舞われた場合のケアはどうしたらいいのでしょうか?

その答えは「熱を取ること」です。

ぎっくり腰は、腰を冷やして回復を促進します。

間違っても温めないようにして下さい。

筋肉疲労や慢性腰痛は温めた方が筋肉が緩むので効き目があるのですが、ぎっくり腰に関してはしばらく2。3日は冷やすようにして下さい。

手首や足首を捻挫した場合、医者から長時間お風呂に入ってはいけないと言われますが、そのワケは、温めることで炎症部分が悪化する危険性があるからです。

したがって、ぎっくり腰は必ずアイシングして症状を治してください。

氷水や市販のアイシングツールなどで幹部を冷却してケアしましょう。


It’s in fact very complex in this busy life to listen news on Television, so I
simply use the web for that reason, and take the latest information.


fwerfwe wergvwerf


I blog often and I really appreciate your information. This article has
really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new details
about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as
well.


Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your blog.
You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good
asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d
absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.

Please shoot me an email if interested. Kudos!


スーパコピー通販専門店
当店はいろいろな高品質ブランドコピー品をそろっているスーパーコピー専門店です。
業内スーパーコピールイヴィトン専門店を目指し、品質第一、信用第一、ユーザー第一の原則を守り
心地よい親切で最高のインターネットサービス、
最高品質商品を低価格で ご提供することです


This website definitely has all the info I needed about this subject and didn’t
know who to ask.


Hi there, simply became aware of your blog, look like in shoesbuzz.netthrough Google, and
found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for
brussels. I will appreciate in case you continue this in future.

Lots of other folks will be benefited out of your writing.
Cheers!


Amazing! Its genuinely awesome article, I have got much clear idea about from this piece of writing.


Hello there! This article coluld not be written aany better!Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him.
Faairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


This weblog is anything about real-time video clip streaming and all the technologies that evolved
about it like webcasting, iptv circulation, playout software program program,
blending software program application, video clip streaming servers.

You could find the present-day information regarding on line movie streaming engines this kind of as wowza,
nginx, mist server and Livebox.

See %website link% and you will discover a immediate world-wide-web
hyperlink to a web site where you could obtain the quite very
best streaming net server out of those I post close to.


Asking questions are really good thing if you are not understanding something completely, except this article offers fastidious
understanding yet.


You don’t really know a subject until you’ve had to teach it. In the same way, you don’t really understand your interface until you’ve written a manual explaining how to use it. It can be a frustrating experience. Take for example the two manuals for digital watch and analog watch. The section on setting a digital watch is over a page of dense, difficult explanation. The analog’s is a single sentence: “Pull crown and turn.”


This website is really good at what it does. I vote for asking question before you do something. Its a good strategy.


Leave a Comment