Do you read the instructions when putting together a bookshelf, installing a new WordPress theme, putting together a new Playmobil set, or when installing a plugin for your blog?
I am interested in how people do things – do you follow the step by step instructions? Or do you dive in and figure it out through trial and error?
The reason I ask is that recently I helped a couple of people with problems they were having with their WordPress themes. The issues were related to the themes use of custom fields. If the custom fields were not used correctly then the main page content wouldn’t look right.
And in both instances the answer was in the intructions for the theme on the theme’s website. All I did was locate the information and then copy and paste in into an email. The people I helped thought I was so clever but really all I did was locate and read the directions. I’m not criticizing the people for not reading them because most themes are installed and used in the same way. I also know that people have different approaches to learning and performing tasks.
I do both – I follow directions and I dive right in. When I am familiar with a task, I don’t bother with the instructions but for something that is unfamiliar, such as putting together a toy, I follow the directions and am especially happy when they are in picture form. Even though I have installed a ton of WordPress plugins, I still check the faq to see if there are any quirks or conflicts with other ones.
I suppose it comes down to your learning style. Do you follow written instructions, do you need to be shown how to do something, or do you learn by doing?
photo credit: sheeshoo