Most user manuals or FAQs I’ve read or used are written by experts but they’re so expert they tend to leave out “obvious” steps. Obvious to them; unfortunately, not to you, a non-expert.

So, here’s how to solve the problem.

The expert does a zoom meeting with a complete novice but with the video turned off. S/he has to tell the novice how to fix a problem or use a product in excruciating detail until that person has successfully completed the task at hand.

Zoom allows you to record a session (and subsequently transcribes if for you) so presto-magic, you have your FAQ.

Since the expert can’t see what the novice is doing (only answering questions or directing them over an audio link), the expert can’t say, “No more to the left” or “No dummy, it’s the red wire not the green one” or “It’s the big washer not the little one.”

I’d bet we’d get much better user manuals in what is becoming a self-help world.

The ultimate self-help situation? The self-appendectomy–

Prof Bruce

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker
Ottawa Senators founder
Real Estate Investment and Business coach


Postscript: by the way Walt Disney did something similar with voice casting calls for animated films he made. He would sit behind a screen to listen to women audition for the singing voice of, for example, Snow White. This was so he would not be unduly influenced by the physical appearance of the applicants. It wasn’t a beautiful face he was looking for but the quality of her voice…

Postscript 2: as a demonstration of being very specific, please look at this screenshot from the above video; note the warning highlighted by me with a red arrow: