Assembly Instructions not Included

For those of you who are now selling your designs in your very own Ponoko store, or if you are a potential Ponoko ID designer, there is a great article on the Wired website where they gave Ponoko ID a test run.
jenga table
What They Wanted
A table with a gutter to catch raining Jenga blocks. We said we’d pay up to $300.

What They Got
A table with a nifty magnetic handle to pop open compartment lids. “You can also use the space to store cards and other games,” designer Simon Beard says. Cost $210 (bargain)

The article had a second component where the interns who were charged with assembling the product gave a quick Q&A session on their experience, from the customers angle. This is especially revealing as it gives us some free user testing of the assembly process for potential customers. It is always easy to assume that the end user will know how to assemble, and even use our designs as we often invest so much time and attention into the design process we know the product backwards and think it is obvious.
So next time you design a product, put yourself in the end users shoes, or better yet, give it to a friend, parent or grand parent to assemble and watch them try and put it together without any verbal instructions or guidance. Once you see what they struggle with you can draw up simple step by step instructions just like Ikea do, with part numbers, fasteners needed and an image of the end product.

This can be done with a series of drawings, or a step by step series of photographs of your grand mother putting it all together.

Also congrats to Flight of Ideas for winning the gig

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With all of our designs, we include assembly instructions just to save a lot of time regarding e-mails going back and forth. We also show an animation showing assembly as well which we found out – by accident – helped our marketing tremendously! A lot of headaches can be avoided even if instructions are not possible simply by having a design that lends itself to easy assembly using the minimum amount of pieces possible.

Congrats Simon!

Jon – Create Unique Memories

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