The manual often gives you information about the product that you might not expect or you cannot find in other places. Some have guides on how to use the equipment or technology.
For some products you might need to download an online manual from the manufacturer's website. If you have a paper manual but need a digital copy, check the website or contact the company.
Asking for a different format
Contact the manufacturer or supplier if the manual is not accessible to you.
Ask for an alternative format. It can help to explain the problems you're having and what changes you need to make the manual accessible.
Some specialist equipment and technology providers will have different formats available such as easy read manuals or videos.
For example a manual might not be accessible to you if it:
uses confusing or complex language
does not work with your screen reader
has print that is hard to read because it's too small or the colour is hard to see
More accessible formats could include:
a Word document instead of PDF
Videos, user guides and tech support
Some products have instructional videos online. These might be created by people who use the product, trainers or the manufacturer. Try searching on YouTube to find video tutorials.
Some organisations create user guides or manuals for assistive technology and disability equipment. Search online for your product with phrases like:
'instruction manual for'
'how to use'
Speak to customer support
Some manufacturers and suppliers will give you support over the phone or via online chats. Start by contacting the customer support team.
You could also ask if the organisation offers:
online user guides
Some companies like Microsoft and Apple have dedicated customer tech support in store or online. This can include forums for customers to speak to a company expert or share advice with other customers.
You could also try social media channels like Facebook groups and Twitter to talk about products.
Warning Reviews are not professional advice
Reviews and advice are based on people's personal experiences. What works for someone else may not work for you. Finding more reviews may help you to understand how people feel about a product or app.
Reviews are not professional advice unless from the company or qualified expert. Only follow advice you feel comfortable with.
Always check if the company paid for or sponsored the product review as it may be more positive.
Equipment and assistive technology training can help you learn all the features available and how to use them. There are a few places you can get training.
If your employer or education provider does not cover training costs, you could try to find a grant to help you pay for it. If you're claiming benefits, check if funding will affect your benefits first.
More comprehensive training from professional trainers or small training companies can help with complex equipment, like a screen reader. Sessions can run over a few days to help you learn how to use all the features, but this means they can also be expensive. A trainer can cost between £300 to £600 a day.
Some training sessions may not be accessible to you. Contact the training provider to find out if they can adjust the session to meet your needs.
Charities for specific conditions or impairments
Search for condition-specific or local charities and volunteer groups to find out what help is available.