the mixed step

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Doible-sided, A4, photocopied, instructionsLots of these. Unlabelled.

Have NEXT ever put their Self-assembly instructions in front of actual customers, observed them using those instructions to assemble their cupboard, then updated the instructions to remove the big problems?

No. If they had followed this standard good design process then it would have taken me 2 hours, not 4, to construct the cupboard.

The instructions include 17 steps on double-sided, A4, photocopied paper. Before starting these steps NEXT recommend that I check I have all the required parts and the right tools. Because those aren’t steps, I do them before the steps and wonder. What’s a step?

Step one

  • Has no meaningful title to tell me what I’m achieving. They are an ordered list
  • Step one contains a list of 5 numbered things to do, sub-steps? They actually don’t appear to require the order implied by their numbers
  • Introduces the concept of a cambolt. What’s that?! It’s not mentioned on the list of fittings or parts that I checked before taking any steps. A quick look at all the other steps shows that I’ll be using a lot of ‘cambolts’ and there’s something on the fittings sheet labelled  Ø15 that I have 61 of, next to an unusual style screw that I also have 61 of. I’ll guess that this is a cambolt
  • The step tells me what the numbered pieces actually are, 1 is the ‘top panel’, 3 is a side panel, 9 is a ‘rail’, 2 and 5 are legs. Hooray! It’s about preparing the top and back legs to slot into other bits

Step 1 completed, not understoodHere’s step 1 completed in the Wendy house Orangery.

Putting in the cambolts and dowels took about  5 minutes.

Working out what I was supposed to do, interpreting the instructions, took about 10 minutes. 15 minutes per step for 17 steps? This doesn’t bode well. Hopefully I’ll be able to apply learning from step one later down the line, and the steps will be faster.

I got step 1 right. Phew. If only all steps had been this unambiguous…..

the mixed step
5 votes rating 4.8

3 bits of lovely banter on “the mixed step”

  1. Scarlet writes:

    I was exhausted just reading this post…. but then I thought that the whole process would be enlivened if I wrote out all the instructions for you in copperplate calligraphy 🙂
    Sx

       1 likes

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  2. Indigo Roth writes:

    I’m usually excited (in that special male way) by this process. I even get bowls out and count things into separate bowls. #sad

    I look forward to step 2!

    P.S. The anti-spam words remain rude. Why do they do this?

       0 likes

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  3. wendy writes:

    I can assure you that there will not be 17 posts on this experience, 1 per step. I’ve tried to summarise. Calligraphy instructions would have made me smile and feel special, NEXT missed a trick there…

       0 likes

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