IKEA is one of our dream cases when it comes to instruction manuals. Many times we were frustrated when assembling their beautiful furniture with the rather abstract paper manual. For our new office, we bought some Kallax shelving units and gave ourselves a little challenge: can we do better than the existing IKEA Kallax manual? In this post, you find our main findings from this IKEA Kallax Manual Makeover.


The PDF version of the Kallax shelving unit can be found here


Although the assembly of many IKEA products can be a frustrating experience, the Kallax is quite straightforward. The well-known IKEA manuals were not really an obstacle in setting it up. We started our Manual Make-over with a brief analysis of the current instruction manual. Some findings from our analysis:

  • As the manual holds no text it doesn’t require translation. A big advantage for IKEA in translation costs and maintenance.
  • The illustrations in IKEA’s Kallax manual are relatively abstract and translation to the real issue you are facing is sometimes hard.
  • At some points, some textual information would help comprehension of what you need to do.


Next step of the Manual Makeover was a new instruction design. We could easily translate the existing manual into the SwipeGuide template. After the instructional design, we moved on to production. For the visuals, we chose to work with photo’s to make a real difference with the existing manuals. But, illustrations could have worked as well in the SwipeGuide case. After assembling the instructional design & visuals in the SwipeGuide editor the final result was presented.

The SwipeGuide makeover of the Kallax can be found here.  


Some findings from the production process:

  • The SwipeGuide is much easier for activation. The digital content can be offered through multiple channels and reach IKEA customers easily on their smartphone.
  • The choice for photos is challenging as the right level of detail was sometimes hard to find. In some cases, animated GIFs have proven a real added value.
  • By adding text we think we can improve the effectiveness of the instruction manual. Of course the trade off is the need for translation. But, SwipeGuide can offer very easy translation options, like an automated translation.

We’d love to hear your opinion about this Manual Makeover. Feel free to reach out with your cases as well!