Dear Toy Manufacturers:
I am a father of two and I think I speak on behalf of all parents when I say please don’t outsource the production of your assembly instructions to off-shore writers.
My Yearly Post-Christmas Realization
I seem to have the same realization every year, post-Christmas, as I (and parents nation-wide) embark on attempting to assemble all of the treasures our children received over the holiday season. That realization is that your assembly instructions SUCK.
Yep, I said it. They suck.
Why do I feel your instructions suck? I’ll share with you a few reasons why your instructions suck.
Your Assembly Instructions SUCK for the Following Reasons:
- Poor English grammar
- Terrible ordering of steps
- Skipped important steps
- Amateur illustrations
- Photos taken with your cell phone?
I just spent the better part of a day trying to put together this season’s hottest toy while attempting to follow your terribly-worded, horribly-illustrated instructions.
My ten year old son could have crafted more coherent and logical instructions than you provided.
And the illustrations photos? I’m a man; I often skip some of the instructions in favor of those helpful diagrams and photos you like to provide. Except your photos and diagrams are neither helpful nor clear. Your photos look like someone took them with their camera phone. Your diagrams look like you had a toddler draw them on a chalk board.
If you’re going to take photos or create illustrations, can you provide your technical writer with a decent tool to do so? It would also be nice if said writer had some experience in diagramming as well. Yeah, that would be nice.
You Need to Cut Corners, I Get It
Listen, I understand wanting to outsource the production of your toys. I get that it costs pennies on the dollar to manufacture your toys in China as opposed to the USA or Europe.
I don’t like it, but I get it.
What I don’t get is why you’d have the instructions for those products that require “some assembly” and are clearly intended for English-speaking consumers written by someone that clearly is NOT an English speaker.
Your product could be totally awesome but guess what happens when you provide consumers with sub-par assembly instructions? Well, for one thing, you piss off quite a few parents.
It can also be a safety hazard to provide poorly-written instructions. If it’s not clear how to properly assemble your product there’s a good chance someone is going to assemble it incorrectly. Incorrect assembly leads to accidents, which leads to our children getting injured.
I don’t like injured (or worse) children. No one does; I know you don’t.
So why not invest a little in the instructions you provide consumers and stop outsourcing them to people that don’t know what they’re doing and couldn’t write proper instructions to save their own life?
A Concerned Parent