Users never read manuals but start using the software immediately.


  1. Users are often motivated complete their immediate tasks and therefore they don't want to spend time up front reading documentation.
  2. This paradox exist because users will save time in the long term if they take the time to optimize the system and learn more about it.
  3. Make guidance accessible throughout the product experience and design it to fit within the context of use so that it can help these active new users no matter what path they choose to take (e.g. tooltips with helpful information).


This concept was first defined by Mary Beth Rosson and John Carroll in 1987 as part of their larger work on interaction design, Interfacing thought: cognitive aspects of human-computer interaction. Rosson and Carroll found that new users were not reading the manuals supplied with computers and instead would just get started using them, even if it meant getting into errors and running into roadblocks.


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