/ Use This Manual.

The ubiquitous Instructional/User’s Manual: we’ve all purchased a few devices in our lifetime that come with them, but how many times have we actually bothered to refer to them? More often than not, when presented with an operating challenge, we’d rather trial-n-error our way to a solution. We’d twiddle knobs, push buttons to death, pull apart and reassemble entire product (all 600 pieces), or resort to the tried and trusted “kung-fu chop to the screen” approach, ANYTHING to avoid having to dig out and flip through the dreary, jargon-filled book of brain-cell death.

London design and invention studio Vitamins hopes to change consumer’s perceptions and overall allure of the humble User Manual with this:

Out of the box – book from Vitamins on Vimeo.

Video description by Vitamins:
“Most phones come with flimsy manuals with complicated language and jargon. These books, which can live on a bookshelf actually contain the phone.
Each page reveals the elements of the phone in the right order, helping the user to set up the sim card, the battery and even slide the case onto the phone.

The second book is the main manual – the phone actually slots into this and becomes the center of attention.
Arrows point to the exact locations the user should press, avoiding confusion and eliminating the feeling of being lost in a menu.”

We here at STC say bravo to this radical reworking of the mundane User Manual. It is a beautiful, functional and extremely user-friendly piece of documentation that also doubles as the product’s packaging. Yet the nagging pragmatist in us says this solution present problems: cost efficiency (especially when we’re talking about millions of devices), and unnecessary paper wastage (in the form of die-cuts and ‘white space’ within the layout design).

Will this be the end of the boring, monochromatic manuals of today? Probably not. We do see, however, opportunity for fancier manuals within the ‘luxury’ category of devices. For brands like Vertu that produce a $7,000 mobile phone, a well thought-out, and beautifully designed and constructed manual is only appropriate.

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