Instructions: Paper vs. Digital  

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  1. 1. Which do you prefer?

    • Paper-based instructions
      1
    • Digital instructions
      0


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On the 42100 thread, page 51, there was a whole discussion of the above.  I didn't want to distract more from the 42100 thread and I thought it was a good enough conversation to create a new topic.  So lets discuss!

The topic is whether TLG should just change to digital copies of instructions for environmental reasons or as cost saving methods, or remain the same and keep supplying paper-based instructions as always. 

One thing I would like to point out, that was not pointed out before, is that there is ample evidence to suggest that reading on paper facilitates comprehension more than reading digitally.  Obviously there are some exceptions.  What you are accustomed to, what you do all day, etc.  There is also a generational gap, where younger generations typically are more receptive to digital presentation than older generations.  Everyone is different.  

But, reading on paper offers a different medium than does digital presentation, and it does facilitate one to slow down and take one's time.  Also, if someone struggles with headaches, reading on paper vs. digitally can help alleviate those HAs. 

In the past I have worked both as a student and an instructor writing or editing long reports or articles.  I have found it helpful both for myself and for my students, if they write digitally, to print out their work when editing.  It provides a different medium and the brain is a little more on alert to catch mistakes.  There is a whole laundry list of automatic cognitive processes that occur when we read and write through the same medium (digitally) - over and over and over.  So, naturally, the brain is not as cautious when reading something the same way.  It "fills in" a lot of blanks.  That is where using a different medium is very very helpful.  

In contrast, if I were working with someone who wrote and read on paper all day (rarely happens, but it does still happen), I would recommend they try reading something digitally if they really wanted to understand it.  I have worked a lot with very old, geriatric patients who still read their news, write letters, etc. on paper.  When they really want to comprehend something I recommend reading digitally - because again, it is something different.  I usually have good outcomes with this.  

Because I write and read all day on screen, I really enjoy reading on paper.  When I build Lego I don't even use software.  Cant.  So tired of the screen.  If TLG were to actually completely do away with paper-based copies of instructions this would be a huge deal for me.  I have no problem paying a little extra for paper-based instructions.  

For those interested in looking further.  
 
 
 
 
Edited by nerdsforprez

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Paper does not radiate and has no refreshrate... It's not attacking your eyeballs like a monitor does... I prefer paper all the time.

 

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13 minutes ago, nerdsforprez said:

whether TLG should just change to digital copies of instructions for environmental reasons

Im sure TLG is heading in that direction when providing the Lego Life app installation instructions on the first page of the new recent lego sets booklets. But the app needs more work to include things like a pdf bookmark and a double page view, I use digital instructions only for RHD conversions.

 

3C963CE9-70B4-406A-BB51-A631D38841D7.jpeg

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19 minutes ago, Ldon13 said:

Im sure TLG is heading in that direction when providing the Lego Life app installation instructions on the first page of the new recent lego sets booklets. But the app needs more work to include things like a pdf bookmark and a double page view, I use digital instructions only for RHD conversions.

 

3C963CE9-70B4-406A-BB51-A631D38841D7.jpeg

I would not doubt it if they head in that direction, but I genuinely hope they do not.  So many other companies have.  Especially tech companies.  You really cannot buy a tv, stereo equipment, etc. anymore with a physical manual.  It is almost all online. 

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I can certainly see the business appeal for LEGO, and in reality, they are never going to pass those cost savings onto us the buyers.  

However for me, the one draw to paper is taking me away from my computer (which I'm on now) and allows me to clear my mind whilst building.  

Everyone will have their own preffered method, and I can see the nice balance we have today with B models online and A models paper instructions in the box.

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I prefer paper. With digital instructions i have 2 problems: My huge PC monitor is not moveable, i can´t take it to my building desk. My smartphone is mobile, but the screen is too tiny to recognize the drawings. The paperbooks can be taken to the desk where i build my sets, and the drawings in the paperbook are bigger than on the smartphone.

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I don't like building a set by watching the instructions on a phone. Lego is an activity during which I should be able to rest my eyes. I'm more likely to rebuild a model that has paper instructions. For example, the B model of 42055 is a great model that I would have built multiple times if it had a manual paper.

I think that Lego is wrong to force people to use their phone to play Lego (ie: hidden side). They should embrace the fact that they are a manual game that doesn't need to watch a screen.

 

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I prefer instructions on paper which can be easily re-cycled eventually, unlike electronic devices which eat up the worlds resources and are hard to re-cycle due the many different rare earth components inside of them.
Also OK with PDF files on my computer as you can zoom in, otherwise I have to keep changing which glasses to use for near sight.

Instructions on smart phone or tablet a definite NO NO.

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I prefer paper also. Even though I have a laptop I do get migraines when looking at screens too much. I looks at screens a lot at work also, so taking a break from screens during my favourite hobby is most welcome.

In terms of environmental impact, as an afol with 100s of sets, it's easy to think that my 3 large boxes full of paper instructions might have an impact, but most people, like 99.99% don't have as many sets as most of us have so I'm not worried about it. And if the paper comes from managed sources, well that reduces the impact even more. One might argue that many trees only exist because they were planted to be cut down. Once something has economic value, and can be grown like cows, you tend to find that the world gets more of them, as long as it's done in a smart and managed way. Cut down one tree, plant three more and continue. Of course that's not always how it goes which is a shame, but I think that Lego instructions do come from managed sources. Like the idiot environmentalists that signed a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide, it's not good to just assume something is bad, like the industrial cutting down of trees, just because it sounds bad.

Also in terms of the environment, electronic devices more than ever have a life span. They don't last forever, and leaving it turned on for hours just to occasionally glance at instructions isn't really getting the most out of its life. Adding more hours of use to thousands of devices will eventually lead to more devices going to landfill. And electronic devices also require electricity to work. Once a paper instruction has been made its impact to the environment is pretty much over. But electronic instructions will continue to keep using electricity. These are very minor and trivial I know, but we are comparing against the very minor and trivial impact of paper Lego instructions.

In terms of the build experience, Lego might argue that control+ is fine because a lot of kids have smart phones already. I'm still not sure that I agree with that but in terms of building instructions, a smartphone is way too small. Whilst they MIGHT argue that every kid that wants an RC Lego set has a smartphone already, they surely can't argue that every kid has a laptop or a large tablet as well as a smartphone. Lego is expensive enough without needing such additional technology.

EDIT: speaking of Legos use of dead tree carcasses, I also want to see the flap on the front of flagship boxes to continue. It was missing from 42100 perhaps due to the lack of a B-model to show off. I hope that was a one time only thing. An expensive somewhat luxery product like a Technic flagship shouldn't come in a cereal box!

Edited by allanp

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I think having an app that allows you to see the build in 3D would simplify buiding process for technic. But nothing beats physical instructions. Why now have both to complement each other? If you have a problem with physical, you can just check digital and solve your issue.

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Just now, Zerobricks said:

I think having an app that allows you to see the build in 3D would simplify buiding process for technic. But nothing beats physical instructions. Why now have both to complement each other? If you have a problem with physical, you can just check digital and solve your issue.

Yes having both is fine. But some sets I believe have come without any paper instructions, and once that precedent is set it's hard to go back. So it's good that we have a topic like this where we can voice our concerns now.

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Now even small sets (like 42088) only come with A-model instructions, and I think that's a really poor move. At least it sort of made sense with the big stuff.

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Not only you get a physical copy of the instructions for a model you've paid for. But some people have their lego workstation in a different room than their PC.. Reading instructions off from a phone is tedious. 
Also you can build your lego while the power is out. If you ask me, lego should not change to digital instructions. 

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Depends. I use both.

Digital + MOC instructions with my Yoga laptop. Using the tablet mode, or tent mode.

I prefer to have atleast the A-models on paper. + it is nice to have the digital version of those too.

Edited by Shiva

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10 hours ago, Permo said:

Paper does not radiate and has no refreshrate... It's not attacking your eyeballs like a monitor does... I prefer paper all the time.

 

Could not agree more. And if you want to build in Sunshine I doubt that tablet / Notebook is welcome in that case.

@nerdsforprez good that someone started such topic. Sometimes we are starting like technology addicted and u think we have to loose at least a bit

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13 hours ago, Doug72 said:

I prefer instructions on paper which can be easily re-cycled eventually, unlike electronic devices which eat up the worlds resources and are hard to re-cycle due the many different rare earth components inside of them.

I prefer paper too; but I disagree with this. Phones are going to exist regardless of digital instructions, and they also have a vastly greater range of uses than instructions, so really the recyclability of either (phones can get recycled too by the way) can’t really be compared - one is single use and the other is multiple use.

Edited by Bartybum

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I like paper cause I started long before digital, so it's more of the nostalgia for me. I don't dislike the digital versions, except for instructions that include a lot of brown. Some paper can be hard to see where to put brown on brown, but even worse with digital.

 

What about people that buy Lego that don't have internet, live where they can't get internet, or have internet but share one computer/device with others in the house? People could also lose there place with digital or  accidentally delete it and get mad cause they have to re download it.

 

While it makes sense financially for TLG to drop paper, they would out customers and I don't think they would take a loss on a product just to keep the none internet customers.

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Paper.  You physically have it and it is harder to disappear into the ether. 

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I have built B-models with digital instructions with no problem, but I have a Surface Pro laptop, which has a high quality screen and is lightweight enough to move around easily with one hand. If didn't have a good quality tablet or a laptop, those B-models would've never been built, no way I'd use a smartphone or desktop computer or even a larger/heavier laptop for instructions reading. The touchscreen also makes a huge difference.

Coloured E Ink display would be great but I don't think there's any such device on the market which has tablet dimensions and comes with a coloured high quality E Ink screen so we're limited to LCD and LED screens which are much harder on the eyes.

Also if you consider this from TLG:s point of view, they are still making toys for kids. Tablets and laptops tend to be expensive, and I think many parents wouldn't like to give such a device to children without supervision, so printed instructions are still more or less required at least for sets aimed at younger children. Larger sets aimed on older children on the other hand come with larger price, and for that price customers expect higher quality product, which would include printed instructions, so I don't think they're able to drop those anytime soon.

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5 hours ago, sirslayer said:

Well, actually..  You can easily burn paper..  up in smoke!!! 

Set fire to a lot of manuals, do you?

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15 minutes ago, Maaboo35 said:

Set fire to a lot of manuals, do you?

And I set fire,

To the books,

Watch it burn as I,

Touch your fehs

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I absolutely love digital stuff and I frequently use digital building instructions. However, when you buy a building toy, it needs to have paper building instructions....period. Otherwise, it's useless for people who don't have access to digital building instructions, for whatever reason.

Digital only for the B-model is fine by me.

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For me playing Lego is also about being away from the computer for a few hours. Also phone is to small, and laptop takes up a spot where you could otherwise fit some Lego boxes (Tablet sounds rather nice, but not everybody is in need for yet another device). It's really great that Lego provides all digital instructions but this shouldn't be an excuse to ditch the paper ones. On the environmental & cost effectiveness: Bigger, more advanced sets (e.g.: BWE, Rough terrain crane) are not bought by first time players, so there is no need for a single instruction per page. By combining steps it would easily be possible to print the instructions of both A and B model using the same amount of paper.

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