Archive | September, 2015

Brilliant Visual Instructions the IKEA Way

20 Sep

Would you agree that IKEA provides very effective instructions with their furniture and on their website? What are your thoughts? I would appreciate your comments below.


As a project manager and Six Sigma Black Belt, I am always looking for ways to effectively communicating instructions to stakeholders and users. I found that instructions using pictures and other illustrations have been very effective. You are no doubt familiar with the expression that, “A picture is worth a thousand words” . I believe that IKEA has taken this adage all the way to the bank.

We just completed a small redesigning project at home. We acquired our desired pieces from IKEA on afternoon and took them home for assembly. IKEA’s assembly institutions are very simple and clear. No words required.

Some of the advantages that IKEA gains from using only pictures seem to be:

  1. Less requirements of language translation.
  2. Less version control needed to maintain the information.
  3. Lowed printing cost since they are in black and white.
  4. Easier to post on the Internet such as on the IKEA website.

I was impressed with the quality of their packaging of the pieces and the relative ease of assembly. There seems to be a fair bit of Poka-Yoke in the design of the furniture and tools. Usually, if I make a mistake it was because I did not interpret the drawing correctly.


Some of the challenges that some people could experience could be the result of:


  1. Incorrect interpretation of the pictures or the orientation of the pieces.
  2. Being uncomfortable with using the required tools.
  3. Lack of patience with executing the task and seeing it through to completion.
  4. Being frustrated with the simplicity of the instructions
  5. or and it is frustrating to appreciate some nuances with


If you can overcome these challenges you will feel rewarded at the end of the effort. Looking forward to your thoughts.