Re: Some assembly required

Subject: Re: Some assembly required
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 13:26:11 -0500

On Thursday 31 October 2002 12:19, Dick Margulis

> What I found most interesting, though, was their
> experience with an Ikea product. Ikea generally gets
> high marks--especially on techwr-l--for their
> completely language-neutral (i.e., wordless),
> step-by-step diagrams. The evaluators, though, were
> not happy with this approach at all.

My impression is that the IKEA approach is probably
the best possible approach when:

1) the pictures are clear and meaningful (e.g., the
concepts or actions are capable of being
represented in pictorial fashion, AND the
representation is well-designed and executed);

2) the procedure is linear with no decision/choice
branches, or else, just one or two, maximum;

3) the pre-requisites can be clearly, simply
represented pictorially

4) any necessary warnings and cautions can
be pictorially conveyed without ambiguity

5) enough resources are allocated to the task.

By that last one, I mean that some buffoon doesn't
lay down an arbitrary (from a didactic perspective)
limitation like "keep it all on a single A4 sheet", or
don't bother doing drawings, just borrow my digital
camera when you need it." "What do you mean
we need 'lighting'?? What do you call those things
in the ceiling?"

I find wordless instructions (and wordy instructions,
too) to be a real pain, when they try to make one
set of instructions cover a whole line of "similar"


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Some assembly required: From: Dick Margulis

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