Storifying – Take 4


Ok, we have all been through it; the dreaded IKEA instructions. I purchased a bed frame from IKEA not too long ago and although it took only about an hour to construct, I had to examine, interpret, decipher and whatever else you want to call it in order to understand a couple steps in the process. They rely solely on pictures to describe what needs to be done and in my opinion sometimes that’s just not good enough. Although the pictures can be considered a “universal language” meaning whoever is following along, from whatever language background, the pictures are depicted the same. I believe that the images can be consumed/interpreted differently by different cultures, demographics, etc and that words could help significantly if they accompanied them.

Arielle Calderon does a good job explaining how I feel and I’m sure thousands others! She uses media to tell a story (in a story spine format) of what typically happens with an IKEA purchase, enjoy..



5 thoughts on “Storifying – Take 4

  1. Okay this was amazing. Mostly because I have had those moments when you look at the image and try to figure out the orientation of the wood and screw holes and pray you get it right. I did struggle a little thinking how a story would be better than images because of the different languages you would need to put it in and thus how complicated it could be for IKEA to keep it simple. But if you put a simple website url on the normal instructons maybe that could give those folks that need a little more help an additional place to and get a ‘story’. Also how would you tell the story? What would make it a story and not a manual?

  2. I’m glad someone else in DS106 feels the same! I thought the same thing: Because IKEA’s customer-base is no world-wide it would be difficult to add in different languages on the same hard copies. But its the year 2014 and as you alluded to, everything is digital, and if they can’t put “English Instructions’ into boxes that are going to the US, then putting something online where you “select your language” could be the answer! The story elements come in to play by maybe showing how the item can be used, different examples or testimonials from other customers. And story can explain the inspiration and technique used to design the item you are putting together.

  3. The ironic thing is, that this complaint about IKEA products seems universal, yet THEY SELL OF **** LOAD OF IT! Maybe that is a different story angle. What is the story someone tells themselves about how they will overcome the dreaded, wordless instructions?

    Feel free to go wild about this. What if you open the box, and out pops a full scale troupe of dancers, who perform a musical to assist you?

    Or what if the perspective of a story was told not by the angry consumer, but the pour little cam piece? What if the pieces could explain themselves, what would be their story?

    As much as you and the commenters seem to pine for English language instructions, you do have to balance the cost of not having to create different versions in each item, that is the economy of scale IKEA has made.

    This is a solid idea, because it is recognizable, and a common experience. I encourage you try coming at it from a different angle then just suggesting a different set of instructions. What story would help every person deal with the iconic ones (and yes, I have gone through this myself)

    Maybe the story is of an IKEA self help group.

  4. cogodog you make a good point that regardless of the fact that no writing is included in their instructions, they still sell the products successfully. However, I don’t think many people will refrain from buying furniture if they feel the instructions are hard to follow, its the quality and price that makes it sell. I’d be curious how many people have used IKEA instructions has their deciding factor into not buying the item. Either way, good point!

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