15/11/19

Let’s face it, the vast majority of us have experienced their own IKEA nightmare at least once. “Where does this screw go? Am I looking at the manual at the right angle? Oh s**t, I’ve assembled a mirror image!”

Truth is, designing an instruction manual requires a lot of collective effort from a variety of people, and those funny little booklets we get from IKEA are possibly in a class of their own.

Check out: How Ikea Designs Its (In)famous Instruction Manuals

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Glossary

  • fits and startswith irregular movement; with much stopping and starting
  • intermission – a pause or break
  • foolproof – incapable of going wrong or being misused
  • ambiguous – open to more than one interpretation; not having one obvious meaning
  • surge – move suddenly and powerfully forward or upward
  • armoire – a cupboard or wardrobe, typically one that is ornate or antique
  • nip and tuck – a cosmetic surgical operation
  • undergird -provide support or a firm basis for

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Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What did a newspaper in Sweden compare assembling IKEA furniture with?
  • What dos the number 400 refer to?
  • What does “knock-down” mean?
  • What does IKEA rely on for 80% of ready-to-assemble products.
  • What two guiding principles do designers fall back on when preparing instruction manuals?

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Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space. Some blank spaces are followed by words in CAPITAL LETTERS; change the form of these words so they make sense in the sentences.

If the end result ________ sometimes feel like a civil engineering project (as Dickner admits ________ some pride), it’s because a high level of ________ PRECISE and ________ REDUNDANT is exactly what undergirds even the most complex or tedious Ikea assemblies. They may not be pleasant, but they are ________ least rational and comprehensible—even _________ SYMPATHY —by design. Think of that big-nosed “Ikea man” who’s shown calling the company ________ he gets stuck. He’s not mocking or condescending. If anything, he represents some ________ DESIGN at Ikea who has already gone through exactly ________ you’re going through now _______ your living room floor: half-quizzically glancing from instruction booklet to pile-of-parts and back, hoping for the best, but trusting that it will all, at the very least, ________ sense.

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