How to Write an Instruction Manual
Engineer Mark Miodownik explores the history of product guides. Just what is their future? With John Haynes. From August 2009.
Engineer Mark Miodownik presents an instruction manual on how to write an instruction manual, exploring the history and the future of product guides and how they chart our changing relationship with technology.
He looks at how product guides have changed over the centuries, from the very first examples, written by James Watt on his new 'copying' machine, to the latest Ikea pictograms.
In the first half of the 20th century, manuals not only described how to use your television, but also how to fix it. Now, the first few pages of any TV manual contain stern health and safety warnings about the dangers of tinkering inside the TV.
Mark travels to Yeovil to visit Mr Haynes, of Haynes car and motorcycle manuals, to ask whether people still need a manual to fix their vehicle. As our products get more sophisticated, is the instruction manual becoming extinct?