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Wait, What Does This Button Do?

Wait, What Does This Button Do?

Once upon a time you read an instruction book and mastered a new piece of equipment, car, computer, whatever. Today, you have to put two days aside to try to wade through them since the lawyers’ incessant warnings alone take 50 pages. (“Do not attempt to drive this vehicle under water. Do not attempt to eat any of the control knobs.”)

Apple simply sends you a sophisticated computer or phone and implies, “It’s easy, we know how to work it, so figure it out on your own.” And the service lines, if answered, are useless. An HP “specialist” took 20 minutes before he learned that the model number on my printer indicated it wasn’t wireless. It took me less than that to return it.

People have useful warning devices on their cars that they don’t know exist, or how to use, or how to interpret. What good are they?

An advance isn’t worth anything if it’s not understood by the customer or user. If you’re smart enough to produce it, you ought to be smart enough to explain it clearly.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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