A mobile and printed version of visual instructions without words for the task of ironing a shirt
Adobe Illustrator, photography
The client wanted visual instructions for their audience, adults with disabilities who need basic life skills.
Client: N-Able, LLC.
I chose what task to create visual instructions for, and began to research visual styles for other visual instructions created by professionals already in the field. I also began taking photo references to decide if a first or third-person perspective would be more helpful for my audience of adults with an 8th grade mental level.
I made note of what pain points I might run into, and tried to think like my client’s audience. What style of icons would be most clear to them? Would one style be better over another? What steps would be logical for them to follow, and what would need to be explicitly said?
I began building a rough draft of both the poster and the mobile versions. Each brought their own set of challenges. I asked questions as I went. How would I approach the mobile scroll? Where should I start the eye on the poster?
I built all of the illustrations for the project to have full control over perspective and angle. Particularly challenging was the spray bottle- it had a lot of curves and angles that I needed to make.
As I went, I received feedback from mentors and peers. I got feedback on things like simplifying my color schemes, grouping, and visual flow. I decided to keep the style I was going with, but make it monochromatic, and have a long scroll on the mobile.
Once I had my rough drafts to the point that I thought they were done, I user tested my designs. I had two people use the poster, and two people use the mobile version. I told them to follow the instructions as they understood them, and to think out loud so I could troubleshoot as they went. I would not give them any help, they were to follow as best they could.
I received mixed results. I discovered problems I hadn’t before, like heat dangers if I didn’t indicate the iron should be left standing when not in use instead of laying down. I discovered hierarchy problems, such as on my poster, the visual flow was confusing. I also discovered scroll problems, that people didn’t realize there were more instructions after a certain point.
I made sure I had a week after user testing before the final deadline for refinements. This allowed me to fix what wasn’t working in the user testing, and to make changes that I had noticed myself.
Major changes I made included switching how I indicated flipping over on the shirt to help with visual flow and clarity. I made a background box to help group steps on my mobile version so users wouldn’t just stop when they reached a certain point. I also made sure to address things like the iron being upright in the instructions, or ‘ingredients’ section, to indicate a default.
From this project, I learned that user testing is extremely helpful in knowing what works and what doesn’t. If I hadn’t user tested, the results could have been hazardous to the actual audience. Design is important for more reasons than just to make things ‘look good’. It can also add value in ways like keeping people safe. I also learned that repetition can add to the clarity, with visual keys like arrows and callouts to help reinforce concepts.
This project was helpful in considering a broad audience as well. This poster would work well for an international audience, since it doesn’t have words. The icons and indicators used are based on ‘common practice’, so they would reach many people no matter the language.
Overall, I reached the project objectives by creating a set of visual instructions detailing how to iron a shirt. The instructions do not have words, and have been user tested for clarity.
I’m a Web Designer by major, a Social Media User by necessity, and a Graphic Designer by choice!
To grow and learn and help others with their personal projects.
Give me a chance to help you with your next design project or rebranding!