Ikea Introduces Online Video Assembly Instructions

Posted on March 4th, by Michael Rosenblum in New Media. 4 comments

Simple.. no?

Some time ago we bought a few new file cabinets at Ikea.

They look nice and they’re reasonably priced. The only complication is that you have to assemble them.

Bookshelves are one thing. How hard is that to figure out?  Shelves, those little pins and you’re done.

But the file cabinets turned out to be something else entirely.  They have sliding drawers and hinges and the drawers come half-way out on those metal things and then stop – on rollers. Do you know what I am talking about?

I didn’t realize the complexity of the task until I unpacked the first of four Ikea file cabinets that we had bought.

Out came the back, the front, the handles, the sides of the drawers about about a dozen plastic bags filled with little metal doo-dads and bars and metal plates with holes in them and springs and God only knows what else.  There was so much junk on the floor that I checked for the recept to see if, although I had ordered the file cabinets, perhaps they had delivered the Swedish Space Shuttle kit instead.

Four hours later I had one of the cabinets finished – sort of. I mean, the drawers didn’t really glide and one of them never really opened at all, but on the good side I did have enough extra screws and stuff left over to build a bookcase – which I know how to do.

Ikea used to enclose a set of ‘easy to read’ diagrams with their stuff – about as easy to read as the Rosetta Stone. But then again, Ikea sells world-wide in hundreds of countries with lots of different languages.

Nikon (and other companies) used to get around this by providing you with multi-language instruction manuals: An English version, then a French version, then a Spanish version and so on.  The multi-lingual instruction manual that came with my electric toothbrush was just a bit smaller than the Oxford English Dictionary.

Which brings me to the rather interesting news that Ikea has begun to release video instructions on how to assemble their stuff – posted on Youtube.

Here’s the first one they have posted – How To Assemble A Bed”


It’s not the most exciting video in the world. But it’s a start. There’s lots of potential here –  I mean, there’s a great arc of story here.  Will they get the bed assembled or won’t they?

But the Ikea video tells us something else:  As the world begins to fill with screens – from smart phones to iPads to computers, video will increasingly become the Lingual Franca of industry.  Printed manuals (and other instructional material) will increasingly be done in video.  It saves a lot on the printing costs – it’s simple to update and the language is universal.

In a very short period of time every business is going to begin to delvier supporting materials for their products in video and online.

Video for companies (and video literacy for their employees) is about more than just selling the product.  It’s about talking to your clients in a way that they can easily understand.

4 thoughts on “Ikea Introduces Online Video Assembly Instructions

  1. I’ve been wanting Ikea to do video instruction since the first time I tried to assemble an Ikea item using their hand-drawn diagrams. This is huge.

  2. Pingback: Ikea Introduces Online Video Assembly Instructions | Rosenblum TV | JB Lab

  3. While this assembly looks fairly simple, I still believe that the best approach is a good online company. Since creating a good printing manual is a great way to give people information, it’s important to get it right. Best Value Copy is a site which lets a business shine above the competition in any given industry. Using an outside company for printing manuals can be a tremendous asset to any company, large or small. Make sure to do your research when you select a company, since each print job has its own unique characteristics and requirements. Best Value Copy has been able to truly create a superior product for me. I would highly recommend taking a look.

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Every day Michael Rosenblum blogs about the latest developments in the world of video and the media as well as future trends in technology and equipment.

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