- Paradis, James. (2009) ‘Text and Action: The Operator’s Manual in Context and in Court’.
The text examines the boiling down of complex machinery into task-oriented literature, which is becoming increasingly challenging as technology continues to advance. While the straightforward, common sense instruction sets work well for a variety of topics, there are risks and pitfalls that can occur when directing more dangerous machinery. It examines this in relation to two controversial liability suits, brought about by claims of improper instruction.
While discussed in the Tebeaux article above, the article does a great job of looking at instruction sets within a broader legal context. Though often overlooked, instructions sets are a legal documents, and can work to protect manufacturers from having to pay damages. The two cases given as examples were fascinating, because they were cases of improper instruction but also unqualified personnel using the machinery. It shed some great light on the issue of where the issue of personal responsibility lay, and the need to incorporate more complex instruction from a wider range of sources as user manuals move forward. This in and of itself is a lofty task, and will likely need to incorporate open instruction and user forums in order to succeed.