My best friend is pregnant with her first child in August, and amidst all of the baby showers, gender reveals and other moments, not every moment has been easy. Specifically the challenge to build the crib, changing table and bassinet from the little boxes they are stored in. I had prepared myself mentally, but not quite enough, for the challenge that was presented in the blueprint instructions.
Glancing over the instructions, there were many diagrams that seemed self explanatory, however these projects lasted 6 hours trying to decipher the code. Here are some of the learning experiences I had from assembly and miscommunication with instructions:
- Review all instructions before building. On step 4 on the first project, we found that we needed tools that were not included in the box. After a trip to Walmart and Lowes, we had acquired tools to build the rest of the project. While this was not out of our way, many people who are amidst this sort of project and are presented with inconveniences find it annoying to purchase more materials. Other instructions had a diagram with what was included to build the projects and what else was needed such as screwdrivers, mallets, and hammers.
- Sort the additional materials. All of the screws (4 different sizes) were put in a bag together, along with miscellaneous attachments. The instructions used millimeters to differentiate these screws, which ultimately meant guessing which one to use. I learned quickly and sorted each screw and bolt into piles for easy access. With different size materials, I thought it would be less complicated for the user to have the sizes labeled and separated.
- Labeling directly on each assembly part. I found that the most difficult part from reading instructions was choosing the correct piece. The changing table had multiple pieces that were labeled with 2 letters (DF, DR, EF, ER). However, these labels were stuck to the packaging, as to protect the wood, but not to help the person assembling. This made assembly extremely hard trying to decipher the different parts.
My takeaway from this experience was focused on the User Experience. I found that the assembly was not ideal and quite dreadful for the person put to the task. However, learning from the mistakes of these manufacturers, I know how much details will matter in instruction in order to make assembly easier for the consumer. Including all materials, sorted and labeled is extremely important to cause the least amount of irritation for the end user.