Half of all returned electronics work perfectly...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Joseph DeMartino, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    ......but people are too stupid to figure out how to use them and too lazy to RTFM. Oh - and designers are idiots. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  2. Brandon_T

    Brandon_T Screenwriter

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    When I worked for a certain company, big box store, I had a co-worker that really didn't care to much for his job. When people would call in and it was obvious that they just didn't get it, he would use the old UTS error line. "Sir, it sounds like a UTS error and you need to bring that in immidiately." I always got a kick out of it. He would get people to drive in and exchange stuff just to waste their time for being to lazy to read the manual.

    BTW, a UTS error for those of you that don't know is "User to Stupid"
     
  3. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like the old "One-D-one-zero-T" error: 1-D-1-0-T = IDIOT

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Or the old IBM radio dispatch code "99" (the real codes ended in the 70s) - "Loose nut in front of keyboard" [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Isn't it "User too Stupid"?
     
  6. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    ouch..... [​IMG]
     
  7. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Occasionally the manuals are not the most helpful as they are written by folks whose primary language is not the one the product is targetted for.

    And other times it is painfully obvious that no one actually proofread the manual or tried to actually build/operate the product using just the manual for guidance...

    But then again, with electronics coming on the cheap (39.00 DVD players, etc), what can you expect with such low margins ? Interesting economy we live in.

    I always loved the tech support article passed around many years ago about the AOL tech troubleshooting an issue over the phone. A lady said her PC wouldn't work, and the guy was trying to help her check the AC connections, power switch , etc. When she couldn't find the AC outlet cause the power to the building had been cut, he told her to pack the PC up and ship it back since she was obviously too stupid to own a computer.

    My line that I add to service requests/cases, etc: "Replaced user, tested ok".
     
  8. Brandon_T

    Brandon_T Screenwriter

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    Ok ok, you guys got me, I suppose I can't say I did that as a bit of irony to make you guys laugh? :b
     
  9. RichP

    RichP Second Unit

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    My favorite when I was a youngin' in PC support was to tell the person that their problem was most certainly a PEBCAK error. They would get this serious look in their eyes, and I'd nod appropriately and say, "Yes, a PEBCAK error, they're virtually impossible to solve, but we can try." With that I'd shake my head and walk away.

    PEBCAK, of course is an acronym for:

    Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    LOL - just last week, a co-worker had to purchase a 1GB jump drive and she was wondering why we were spending the money on a 1GB jump drive when I was only putting 30MB to it.

    I laughed and said "Yeah, we would have been better off to just get a bunch of 512MB drives...I mean, aren't they coming free in boxes of cereal now???" [​IMG]
     
  11. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    I think this is good news. It just means that those of us who can "get" the technology will have an easier time taking over the world. Bwahahahahaha!! [​IMG]
     
  12. DavidBL

    DavidBL Stunt Coordinator

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    Speaking from the inside of this process, I can tell you that at least in my case, I sit on several rounds of review sessions for every manual of every product I work on. We review graphics, text, wording, etc., always trying to keep the "end user" in mind. Attendees at these meetings include professional technical writers, marketing, engineers, etc.

    And yet despite all our efforts, many of our products come back from repair facilities coded "no trouble found." Just one of those things, I guess.

    David
    Idiot Designer [​IMG]
     
  13. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    From the bad link in the first post to the t-o-o mistake this thread is definitely a cutie pie. :b
     
  14. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Wonder what the percentage is for defective items that are never returned because users never figure out they're defective [​IMG]
     
  15. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I work in the mobile industry and this is common with all the pdas and cellphones. I would highly recommend manufacturers to use study groups to review the user's manual to see if any of them makes any sense to those who buy particular phones and devices. I would also highly recommend any item that has decently high sales price to include a DVD or CD with an easy interface to help their customers do majority of basics immediately. Most people simply lack patience and are too unwilling to pay a high enough price to be taught how to use their items, therefore they should be given a video to walk them thru it.
     
  16. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Ironically, we have at home an older CD player, which when plugged into the power at home and turned on, refuses to read any CD for at least an hour, once it seems properly "warmed up" it will then play without trouble. I brought it in to the shop, who upon plugging in the power and turning on, played any CD you please immediately. They kept the unit for a few weeks, each morning powering up and turning on, and had no trouble ever. I took it home, and sure enough, I still had the same problem: can't read for the first hour or so. Go figure.

    I know, not quite on point to the discussion, but I think on point vis-a-vis the title thread.
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    DavidBL, but don't you agree that if someone can't figure out a device, they (most likely) aren't going to be able to figure out the manual.

    Manuals are most helpful to those who understand the device to begin with and are just reading the manual for that one piece of info that they're a little confused with.

    Like with my DVD recorder manual, I've looked through it when trying to figure out how to set an advanced recording, but if I really need to look at the manual to determine how to make audio connections, then perhaps (I suggest) that the manual isn't going to really help either. [​IMG]
     
  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The link that Joe provided didn't work for me. Someone sent me this link, Complexity causes 50% of product returns: scientist where it was stated, I don't see all that much to quibble about the statement but I would like to read her thesis.

    I wonder if the information that was obtained was broken down a bit more into areas like age groups or when the product was obtained. For example, many retailers do an enoromous amount of sales around the Christmas holidays. Many products are bought that are just inappropriate for the intended age. Apart from the holidays, instruction manuals for things electronic and otherwise often just plain stink. Some are bastardized translations from Chinese that've never been proofread. If anyone has ever had to put together toys or other things for kids, they'll have had some experience with head scratching.

    Long ago, people like Deming and Juran recognized the importance of statistical quality control in keeping quality up so that consumers are satisfied. Successful companies like Bose, yes Bose, also recognize the importance of making a good first impression with the consumer. So they'll have things like focus groups that target age groups, educational bacground, etc. in order to get feedback on a myriad of details. This feedback is used to develop packaging that neetly and attractively presents the product in such a manner as to minimize confusion. The equipment hooks up very easily and regardless of what we may think of the sound and quality, it works, is a vast improvement over the TV speakers, and the consumer has a strong sense of accomplishment and can move onto other things. SACD it should be obvious is a niche player that's tanked. It might've had more success if there was just one cable don't you think? IPOD has been an incredible success. Could the ease of use and navigation been a major reason?

    If companies want to reduce their returns because people find them too hard to figure out, then they should do the work necessary to make them easier to understand and use. The buying public is more than your or me. The buying public is the world so if you want to market your product to the world, then it ought to be your obligation to understand what the world wants and deliver it.
     
  19. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    The problem with technology today is, with certain products, you need a basic understanding of technology before you can even BEGIN to understand some of these complex devices.

    For example: Learning how to use a cell phone is SIMPLE! yet my mom has a HELL of a time understanding how to use it. She reads through the manual and it still doesn't sink in. The problem there is, not only does she not understand how to do a particular function, but she also doesn't understand the basic technological functions that are needed in order to do the function she's trying to do.

    My parents are perfect examples. They'll often blame the DVD player for not working, when they don't realize that the TV isn't on the right input. They don't fully understand A/V connections, so the DVD manual isn't going to do much when their problem isn't with the DVD player.

    Whew! That was a mouthful. What I mean is, if someone doesn't know how to drive a car, you can't expect them to tackle parallel parking. That's what happens with these products. Using advanced features on a cell phone is complicated to those who don't even understand the basic functions of the cell phone. That's why I don't think the manual is going to help them out.

    Another example: I was trying to teach someone how to create playlists on their iPod and while it's simple, this person was SO lost because he didn't even grasp the basic knowledge of iTunes. He kept saying "Damn! That's too complicated...isn't there an easier method?"

    To him, it was complicated because not only was he learning how to create a playlist, but he was also learning how the program works as well.

    It's hard to make someone understand playlists when they don't understand there's a difference between a song that shows up in a playlist and a song that shows up in their library.
     
  20. DavidBL

    DavidBL Stunt Coordinator

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    Possibly, but honestly, we've got to give it our best shot. Until we invent the holographic guy that automatically pops out out of the box and demonstrates the process for you, we're stuck with manuals (both printed and on CD's, which sometimes can include interactive video or flash-like graphics suggested above). The cold reality we find is that many people don't even bother to look at documentation of any kind.

    Of course, after the holographic guy is the interactive micro robots who wait to be told where to hook up your new purchase and then do it themselves. Hmm, I see patent opportunities here... [​IMG]
     

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