The original Macintosh manual – examples

When you open it, it feels almost a bit surreal. A bit like watching Teletubbies, the TV-show made for 2-3 year olds. Why? Because it explains things we all know by heart since a long time ago, as something completely new. But once upon a time it really was!

It does not say anywhere when this edition was made, but it refers to the firs version of Macintosh, the 128k, from 1984.

Here’s how to use the mouse:

”- What was that with the button again?”

The basic elements of the interface:

”- What is a typeface?”

How to close a window:

How to save a document:

How to use the trash:

It’s actually refreshing as an exercise when trying to think beyond the obvious, seing what you do with the beholders eyes. Once upon a time these things were new and familiar, even if it is hard to imagine now.

But the manual is not only banal. It also has some interesting experience elements, as it shows the product being used in various situations. How many manuals have you encountered that actually were inspiring?

The serious student:

Study colleagues discussing in the library:

The executive unpacking his highly portable Macintosh in his corner office:

The Macintosh was even so portable that you could bring it on your bike, going to the next lecture.

Producing such an advanced manual must have cost a lot of money, but the success depended on people understanding how to use it, as it was the Macintosh USP. And maybe, maybe, the inspirational pictures helped to some part to start the almost fanatic loyalty of todays Mac users, conveying not only information but a good feeling.

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