четверг, 13 сентября 2012 г.

Safety Device Useless Because of Poorly Worded Manual

Teh battery terminal covers... Tiny pieces of plastic that could prevent shorting the mobile device battery when the battery is being stored or transported much better than the stupid "don't store the battery in a pocket next to a paper clip" warning.

Now turns out there is one company that ships mobile devices with battery terminal covers. Let's look at Nikon Coolpix AW 100 camera manual. Confirming the Package Contents section clearly shows that the camera battery is shipped with a terminal cover.

One small step for a company, a giant leap for mankind. Sort of.

The problem is that shipping the battery with the cover IS NOT FUKKEN ENOUGH because users are not familiar with what to do with that. Scary paperclip warnings have been there for ages, but users have never seen a terminal cover before. With such background they can only fear a paperclip, not do anything constructive with a terminal cover.

Camera Reference Manual to the rescue? Okay... section For Your Safety says observe the following precautions when handling the battery for use in this product and then there's a bullet list that among other stuff includes this:

[B1] Do not short or disassemble the battery or attempt to remove or break the battery insulation or casing.

Okay, then two bullets later (both completely unrelated to shorting the battery) it says this:

[B2] Replace the terminal cover when transporting the battery. Do not transport or store with metal objects such as necklaces or hairpins.

This is not how the manual should handle this. Here's what's wrong.

First of all, look at [B1] wording. You see, shorting the battery and disassembling the battery are listed as if they are similar actions. They are only similar because they are both Bad Idea™. Other than that they are very different. Disassembling the battery is usually a deliberate action but shorting the battery can be either deliberate or accidental (like accidentally connecting the terminals with a paper clip in a pocket).

These two things should be worded separately. Disassembling or otherwise hacking the battery with a pickaxe should be a separate bullet point.

Next, [B1] that mentions that shorting the battery is Bad Idea™ and [B2] mentioning the terminal cover and the metal objects are separated with two completely unrelated bullets.

This makes [B1] and [B2] unrelated in the reader's mind although they both talk about shorting the battery and how to avoid it.

Finally look at [B2] wording. This on its own deserves careful analysis.

It says the user should put the cover onto the battery while transporting it but doesn't mention battery storage although storing and transporting the battery are totally equivalent in terms of shorting and risks thereof.

Next, [B2] says the user should not transport or store the battery with metal objects. Why the F should he not?

Remember, there's a terminal cover that he should have put onto the battery and that cover should prevent shorting. When the cover is on it's okay to store the battery in a bag full of tiny metal objects – no shorting will happen.

Do you see what's going on? According to the manual the terminal cover is just needed but it doesn't protect against shorting the battery. According to the manual it's just useless or maybe protects from dirt.

So, Dear Nikon, you've implemented the terminal cover, you've produced and shipped it and then you wrote in your reference manual that the said cover is a useless piece of plastic that just needs to be there. Every box with Nikon Coolpix AW 100 now contains a terminal cover and a manual implicitly declaring that the cover is useless.


Here's how you fix it.

1. Remove do not short wording from [B1]. Only leave the wording about disassembling and otherwise deliberately (most of time) messing with the battery in [B1].

2. Move do not short wording into [B2]. Shorting the battery (either deliberately or accidentally) is a separate problem and it should be addressed separately. The terminal cover is implemented to avoid accidentally shorting the battery when the battery is being stored or transported. Remove do not transport or store with metal objects wording, replace it with a phrase saying that a metal object (such as whatever examples you want) can accidentally make a connection between the uncovered terminals and short the battery and to avoid that the user should only store or transport the battery with the terminal cover on.

This makes the terminal cover ACTUALLY USEFUL and saves a billion of cute kittens.

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