It didn't take too long for me to get used to the make up of the M-Audio Axiom 25. I do have a good amount of experience with different MIDI controllers, but even if you don't I think you'd be able to catch on pretty quickly. In addition to the 25 keys, it's got a transport section with control over your playback and record buttons, as well as both pitch and modulation wheels. It also has eight trigger pads, which to me are one of the best features on this. It then has eight programmable parameter knobs, an LED screen, an octave selector, and a variety of other parameters to control. A manual might not be a bad idea, but probably isn't necessary.
As far as 25 key MIDI controllers go, the M-Audio Axiom 25 is definitley one of the best ones on the market. It's got all of the parameters that you'd want, including the trigger pads, which are perfect for programming beats. Everything is pretty straight forward, so it isn't like it has all of this features and isn't still user friendly. While I do like the feel of the keyboard, it isn't as good as the Pro 88, although it definitely does the job fine and better than the other lower end M-Audio MIDI Controllers. M-Audio has some great MIDI controllers at very reasonable prices, and the Axiom 25 to me is one of their best...