Guide to operating a safe

I spotted this “how to” guide in a hotel this weekend. It tells you how to use the mini safe in your room. My first thought was, “Wow, that’s a long guide for a simple procedure”. Then I started reading it, and my thoughts changed to, “Wow, what a complex procedure”. Out of interest, I followed the steps. They worked like a charm. Aside from inviting debate about the use of quotation marks ;) the guide is interesting as an example of a document that makes possible a task that would otherwise have been unfathomable.

This is the safe, with a partial view of the guide at bottom right:

The safe

Here’s a closer view of the keypad:

The keypad

This is the guide:

The guide

For easier reading, here’s the guide in text form. I’ve changed all text to sentence case, but left the punctuation, spelling and wording as is:

To operate safe

1) Press “red” buttonbehind safe door. A “yellow” light will come on indicating you can now reset your new code.

2) Input your new code and press “A or B” the safe will beep if the code has been accepted. However if the “yellow” light and the buzzer beeps 3 times the code is invalid and you will need to start again.

3) Once your safe has been re-coded close the safe door and turn the knob “anti-clockwise”.

4) To open your safe: input your code followed by the “A or B” button and turn the knob”clockwise”.

The first step is to find that red button. After a slight hesitation, I opened the safe, and saw this handy contextual help:

Contextual help written on safe door

The angle was difficult and the lighting bad, but I could just spot the button on the inside edge of the door:

The red button

The camera’s flash illuminated the scene:

Lit by the flash

My only other hesitations were:

  • Where is the yellow light?
  • Where is the “A or B” button?

After pressing the red button, I spotted the yellow light at top right of the keypad:

The yellow light

For the “A or B” button I chose the “A” at bottom left, which worked just fine.

So, a few typos, but a good guide that got me safely through a tricky procedure. :)

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About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 16 July 2013, in technical writing. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Pamela Clark

    Thanks for the post Sarah. I like your perspective of taking everyday things that you encounter and viewing them from the tech comm angle.

  2. Haha how cool.
    Before reading this I was the type of person who would glance at such a machine and think “I’ll just carry my valuable crap with me instead of putting it in that microwave”.

    • Hallo Michael
      LOL, that’s me to a T too! But one time I was in a decidedly dodgy area, and didn’t want to lug my laptop around with me. Leaving it in the room seemed equally risky. So I tried the safe and was pleasantly surprised to retrieve my laptop unharmed and unmicrowaved. Since then, I’ve used safes when they look… well, safe. :D
      Cheers
      Sarah

  3. Jonathan Poh

    Oh man, I was in Hobart over the weekend, and the hotel I was staying at had the EXACT same make of safe in the room, and I completely missed the ‘reset’ step with the obscure button behind the door (no helpful handwritten scribble on mine though), and just closed the door and turned the dial before reading the step-by-step instructions to set my own password (like ALL other hotel safes I’ve ever used).

    It was annoying that I had to call Reception to have them send someone up to reset it and show me how to do it properly. To make matters worse, although it supporst PINs of 3-8 numbers, the receptionist said it works best with 3 digits and this proved itself when I initially set a 4-digit PIN and it refused to unlock and had to be overridden again. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons are just stupid. I thought it was an unnecessarily complex set of steps to set/reset the safe’s PIN locking system.

    • Hallo Jonathan
      Oh dear, I do feel your pain. When I was testing the steps, and I got to the bit where the guide said “input your new code”, I did stop to wonder what that code should look like. It would be a helpful addition to the guide, to say something like “choose 3 numbers that you’ll remember easily”. Like you, I decided 4 digits should work, as that’s what most other hotel safes accept. It worked for me. But I’d still hesitate to put my valuables in the box, for fear of never getting them out again! Still, kudos to the hotel manager in my case (it was in Brisbane) for adding the useful guide!
      Cheers
      Sarah

  4. Good instructions but bad UI. What is the point of both the “A” and “B” button if you only have to press one of them and it doesn’t matter which one you use :-)

  5. Thank you Sarah !
    I am now in hotel with same safe and there are no instructions…
    After google search found this page my problem is solved,

    Thank you thank you!

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