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Instructions for Use

Anyone who has ever been to IKEA will have an opinion about Instructions for Use. Some are better than others. 

We’ve seen a steady growth in the number of Instructions for Use ‘IFU’ documents we’ve been asked to produce for medical devices. We like IFUs - they give us chance to flex our illustrative muscles, and they fit perfectly with our expertise in making information clear.

There’s lots of interesting psychology in instructional design - certainly enough for a PhD or two - but what we’re interested in is presenting the right information at the right time. Not too much, not too little - illustration decisions are as much about what to leave out as what to include.

It’s for this reason that we prefer to use illustrations rather than photographs because it give us scope to take out anything that's not relevant - we want readers to be able to concentrate on what they're trying to do. Also we get to have fun adding arrows, speech bubbles, pull-outs, cut-outs and all those other tools in the designer’s box of tricks.

All our IFU work goes through formal user-testing, because however pleased we might be with our designs, the measure of their success is whether people can actually use them to carry out tasks.

Posted by Brian 14.10.12 [ page link ]


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