The application chosen in this critique is word 2007 and the specific online user manual for this basis is the word 2007 application product guide. This product is popular with its dynamic features like picture editing and other tools for bogglers and researchers (Wenzel, 2007).The manual is generally well laid out with the very first page being a cover with Microsoft’s logo and design. Although the design of the cover is attractive, it fails to communicate the purpose of the manual to a person glancing at it for the first time. It can be easily confusing especially for a newbie with no clue of what Microsoft word is all about. The next phase of the manual is the table of contents whose core function is to provide a quick picture of what is contained in the manual and what the user should expect to learn by the end of the manual. The first topic that is indicated is overview and the very last concept that the user will learn from the manual is the system requirements for this particular application run.
One commendable feature of this table of contents in the manual is the link action. This implies that if you see a title or topic and decide to jump to it without following any order, all you need to do is click on it and immediately you will land there. The other advantage of this feature in the layout is the ability to come back on topics already covered should the reader feel that something has been forgotten or a particular point is needed in order to understand a certain subsequent point in topics ahead. The beauty of this is that it puts off the pain of having to scroll through hundreds of pages in order to get to a desired page. Perhaps, though slight, the undoing of this feature is that it may look sophisticated to some extent for the traditional reader who is accustomed to reading page by page. Such a reader can be scared upon clicking on a topic accidentally, only to be led to a totally different page. Overall the organization and layout are fantastic for most users.
The use of visuals has been extensively exploited and it gives the manual a feel of completeness and user friendliness. Examples are used alongside well outlined visual diagrams completely similar to what the user will encounter while putting the skills into application on a real-time environment. A good demonstration of this can be found on page 11 where the subject of “using quick styles in a word document” has been discussed in detail. There is a well presented visual diagram illustrating how the document window will appear when using the application and a step by step, written instructional guidance on what must be done to accomplish this task. At the bottom of this diagram is a highlight in yellow color with the title “office 2007 in action” which gives the advantage of this application (Microsoft, 2007).
In conclusion, the manual is indeed massive in both detail and content which is an excellent achievement for Microsoft and a great resource for users seeking to learn useful lessons in as far as using this application is concerned. However the manual portrays some level of sophistication that may make it generally confusing for starters. Written instructions are very well utilized but some of the terms used can easily confuse. Terms like ‘organizational realignment’ used in what should be an example for the user can prove technical for those who may not interpret it as any other statement capable of replacement with simple terms like “ office tasks”. All in all, the user manual definitely delivers a considerable percentage of success for the user and will be helpful. After all, 100 percent simplicity can sometimes prove hard to achieve when it comes to making user manuals of such nature and magnitude. It takes effort and extensive focus on the wide scope of users in terms of backgrounds.