Zen To The Rescue Of An Instruction Manual

1443 words - 6 pages

The instruction manual needs some serious reconstruction and rewriting. It really does take a Zen mindset to stay serene after laying eyes on the Walker Bulldog Light Tank U.S. M41A3 tank instruction manual…There are seven key Zen Design principles that can be used towards greatly improving this manual: Kanos (clarity), Shizen (natural, organic structure), Fukinsei (asymmetry), Yugen (subtle depth), Datsuzoku (freedom from rules and conventions), Sejaku (reflective and calming), and Koko (essence only). This is my proposal towards dramatically improving the manual. First, I have written about what is wrong about the manual and how it can holistically be improved according to the principles. I ended with a comprehensive outline on how to improve this even more concisely as a conclusion.
First, we will start with Kanos, which stands for simplicity. This leads to clarity.
There are way too many little details, pictures illustrating things that would not occur commonly, and confusing or cluttered figures. Nobody would have the patience to sift through all this information or even understand it. For instance, why would they put a picture on the first page warning against slamming the antenna against one’s face? Those types of warnings should be put last and simplified to instructions such as, “Do not ingest parts, slam flexible parts against face, or put fingers in dangerous moving areas.” Also, what is the point of having the diagram on how to control running when it is not even clear what that even is or it states common sense things such as left and right controls? Most people will figure out how to use the basic controls of the set themselves, so I suggest the common sense or minutiae details to be deleted; when they need help to figure out more, they can easily refer to the instructions that will not be so muddled and thrown together. There certainly does not need to be such a surge of pics that are silly and overly dramatic to portray every single possible thing that could go wrong. A few simple warnings and one or two pics as stated above would suffice to create clarity. Less is more is certainly to be followed regarding this instruction manual that seems to be a word vomit in more than one language and an anime portrayal of everything that could go wrong.
Next, let’s move on to Shizen and Fukinsei, which refers to natural organic structure and asymmetry. The structure of this manual is anything but organic: it contains important slogans and info at the end of the manual, when the reader is already dizzied and confused by all else going on in the manual. The manual should follow a natural structure that is both pleasing to the eye, but not incredibly geometric and repetitive to create asymmetry. This is important because we are very visual: my eyes literally got tired from flipping through some of the pages. That should not happen when reading something that should be interesting, informative, and clear. The cover should not have the...

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