This page describes the practice and purpose of having a binder with pages that can be organized, updated, and added to. Think of it as a User Guide or Operations Manual for everything in your home and life. While the primary emphasis is a guide to tech devices, it's a place for other reference pages as well. This page begins with a general description of the physical binder, pages, and print size of the guide. Then examples are provided of topics that may be included in the binder.
The Life User Guide is primarily a way for people to stay organized and have pertinent information easily available. It empowers people to have the details they need for using and managing their tech devices. It can also be helpful if someone is sick or otherwise unavailable and those helping out need to manage devices or services in their absence. It is also useful for anyone having mild memory problems or dementia. It's a reassuring safety net to know that the information you might need is easily available.
The contents page of the user guide should be double spaced or triple spaced to make it easier for additional pages to be written in until the next printed copy of the contents page is created. In this way, additional pages are added to the binder alphabetically and referenced from the contents page. There is no need for page numbering since all pages are organized alphabetically and thus are easily found.
The size of text and diagrams should be large and bold. This makes it easily readable by all people and conforms to principles of universal design. The larger size of content encourages concise instructions that are detailed enough to follow but simple enough not to be overwhelming.
A standard binder designed for letter-size paper is preferred. Pages that are 8.5-inches wide by 11-inches tall are easier to find, lower cost, and available in more sustainable materials like sugarcane waste, agro waste, and bamboo.
A plastic three-ring gusseted (expandable) binder pocket is available. This plastic pocket is helpful for small items like receipts. Passwords and account information can be stored in the pocket and removed if you need to share your binder with someone. This way, your confidential information can be retained. Or, if the binder will be in a secure location and not accessed by anyone, you could include the password, login, and account information on the information pages.
The binder could be kept in a large zipper-lock bag to protect against water damage. It could also be stored in a small safe with other important documents and originals. Think through various emergency scenarios such as tornado damage, flood, broken pipes, or damage to your roof from a fallen tree. You would want essential information in a small weather-resistant package you could easily carry.
In an emergency, hopefully laptop and desktop computers would still be accessible with high-speed internet and cell phone services running fine. However, if technology and services are not available, a simple notebook can help you stay organized and access important information.
The printed pages in your binder are most likely going to be saved somewhere as word processing files. You could keep them on a USB in a safe place or stored in your computer to make revisions easier. Some of the binder pages may have handwritten notes on them. You can periodically (perhaps quarterly) take pictures of your binder pages. Those photos get backed up to cloud storage. If any saved files or photos contain passwords and account login information, you would want to be more careful with how they are handled and stored. If you have a multi-function printer/copier/scanner, it would be possible to keep extra copies of your binder pages.
The content of the user guide will be unique to each person and household. If you have a tech support person, they can write up some of the pages included in the user guide. Examples could be:
15 Mar 2022 — The initial version of the Life User Guide was designed with half-page size sheets that were 5.5-inches wide by 8.5-inches tall. The purpose was to have smaller sheets of paper that could fit in a small binder. However, initial trial run evaluations of this size proved to be difficult because pages needed to be manually cut, and hole punches required a specially adjusted hole punch device. While it is possible to purchase half-sheet pages, the cost is high, and the pre-punched holes are of different standards — some with three and some with six holes. So, a new design was developed using standard 8.5-inch by 11-inch pages. These pages are easier to find, lower cost, and available in more sustainable materials like sugarcane waste, agro waste, and bamboo.