I don't know where else to post this. There doesn't seem to be a place where users can address hardware (and software) manufacturers both jointly and in general, so it is my hope that enough of the people involved will be reading this forum. (The best ones will be.)
In my twenty-odd years of using computers it is my sad, overall, experience that when it comes to instructions hardware and software manufacturers appear to obey a general rule, i.e., "Just throw something out there that looks like instructions."
Nobody seems to be saying it—but somebody has to:
Instructions are every bit as much a component as the hardware or software itself.
If the instructions don't work—the hardware/software doesn't either!
1. For instructions to work they must cover at least every reasonable eventuality encounterable in the installation.
One typical example only:
Over the past few days (yes, days!) I've been struggling to install a surveillance camera (no need to specify which one, since this sort of thing happens with so many hardware items)—and it kept turning up error messages. The latest one is, "Please use our equipment." The last straw, I was using the stuff in the box, so what in Hades does that mean? —And could I find out?
If software is capable of giving error messages it must be at least possible to find out what the error message means. If not (but why not?) in the user guide, then every possible error message encounterable should then at least be available on the manufacturer's website. To find, after days of searching, that the relevant error message is listed nowhere is ... insulting!
2. Whatever the language, instructions should be at least edited by a native speaker of that language—not by some half-educated narcissistic git who only thinks he (or she) knows how to write in that language.
3. Do hardware manufacturers test their products on ( a significant number of) ordinary members of the public and who are unfamiliar with that product? It surely seems not. The writers aside, the people who edit instructions should not be the ones who are already intimate with the product.
There. I've said it.
(Pass the antacid, please.)