IKEA is a place of heaven for a lot of homeowners, renters and young professionals on a budget. Its furniture pieces are modestly priced and have a minimalist design that suits every kind of lifestyle. The problem with IKEA never was its pricing structure or array of furniture lineup, it’s what happens when you bring the box home and realize you have to put these funky-named pieces together yourself. Do you fancy a game of real life Tetris?
Admitting to these confusing furniture assembly instructions, the Swedish company has begun posting video tutorials on YouTube to help frustrated consumers put together its products. The first in the anticipated series is the MALM bed frame, a four and a half minute video that contains pop up tips relating what the instruction pictures are supposed to signify in real life. See that figure of the arrow pointing two sticks together? You’re supposed to pile them on top of each other then screw those together, silly! A cutesy, upbeat tune also accompanies the video to alleviate the possible pain you might be having in real time.
Having an instructional video tutorial also helps IKEA customers because they can pause, rewind and fast forward to the parts on which they need more clarification. The more IKEA releases these videos, the more users will also be able to see ahead of time how a particular piece of furniture is assembled before deciding if they will be able to take on the challenge. It’s always very nice and pretty in the catalogs, but never the same when you have all the bits and pieces lying across your home.
The MALM bed frame instruction video has been live for about three weeks, and the public’s verdict?
“I watched this and still didn’t understand,” one commenter said.
IKEA’s YouTube representative responded to the poor commenter, apologizing for the troubles and suggesting users who are still confused to write IKEA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the customer service line to provide feedbacks on how the videos can be improved.
But it’s not exactly the videos that users are truly having a problem with, it’s the basic idea that these instructions are not at all intuitive. Why IKEA hasn’t hired technical writers, we will never know or understand. How is someone supposed to figure out how to create a computer desk out of piles of wood with just random figures and barely any words? While the solution to move to a more humanized, guided visual content certainly helps, the company should just invest more time in writing better instructions and hire translators to make them friendly for all 38 countries it currently services.
What do you think of the IKEA instruction situation? Are the major issues addressed with tutorial videos, or should IKEA revamp its instruction model from scratch? If they choose to do the latter, we’ll certainly appreciate the effort but miss the various parodies that have been inspired by these jumbled cartoon panels.