Instruction Manual Usage: A Comparison of Younger People, Older People and People with Cognitive Disabilities

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Abstract

When people are faced with new products for the first time or require assistance using features, the instruction manual is a key information source and therefore the design of instruction manuals is as important as the design of the product itself. There are often situations where the design embedded in the product is not sufficient to express its usage to the user. In addition, users differ significantly from each other in terms of their needs, expectations and capabilities. The main question is “are instruction manuals accessible enough and do they consider a variety of user groups?” This paper investigates the differences between three user groups (i.e. younger people, older people and people with cognitive disabilities) regarding their approach to understanding of instruction manuals. An experimental study was carried out testing thirty volunteer participants from the aforementioned user groups, using two digital products from two different market segments and their instruction manuals.