Examples of Pictorial Plans and Planning

On this page are some examples of how others have created pictorial designs. Note that they are not all IKEA-style approaches - some, such as the "25 Amazing Everyday Do It Yourself Inventions" are simple photographs that cleverly convey everything that one needs to duplicate a design effort (the  CD-case greenhouse pic on the right is from these). Others, such as the video of Remya Jose's washing machine, give just enough information for someone to reinvent something that works off the same principle. (YouTube has lots of other examples of mixed quality on the pages linked to Remya's washing machine.)

If you have ideas of how to convey information pictorially, and your idea differs from mine or from these examples, but provides the necessary information, then by all means try yours out to see if it works. Just remember the basic principles: It has to convey design and/or use information without resort to written or spoken language (though either can be used to provide additional, helpful, non-essential information); and it has to be simple enough to be hosted either here or on a site easily and freely linked to from here.

Oh, one more thing: Simpler is better for the majority of people in the developing world. A YouTube video is a great idea, especially to show something that is difficult to express in drawings or photographs, but it will not be accessible to many of our intended users. So, if you care enough about a tool or device to film it, then please consider doing drawings or photographs first, upload them, and link the video to the images you've created. The additional work may, of course, require you to connect up with others who can work with you on the project, but hey, doing it with someone is half the fun of doing it!

Now, without further ado:

Developing Illustrated Training Manuals
     "Techniques and examples for developing illustrated training manuals for non-literate people in developing countries for use by individuals and organisations."

25 Amazing Everyday Do It Yourself Inventions

     Some amazingly clever little do-dads, and amazingly clear instructions via one or several photographs.

Remya Jose's pedal-power washing machine
     A YouTube video and an article.

Shelter in a Shopping Cart
     "This simple, language-free instruction list is designed to overcome the main logistical obstacles that prevent the majority of well-designed homeless shelters from ever reaching any significant portion of the homeless population. The necessary materials can be scavenged relatively easily in any city and all of the labor is intended to be performed by the individual who will be using the shelter. The unit packs up for mobility’s sake and offers ample storage in both the mobile as well as stationary position."

Universal Design, a Definition
     "The Principles and Guidelines of Universal Design as defined by the Center of Universal Design at North Carolina State University."

Walking the Walk: Universal Design on the Web. 
     "In this article, we describe the process of designing our Website in order to illustrate both the principles and the practice of universal design for learning."

Universal Design: Process, Principles, and Applications
     "The process of UD requires a macro view of the application being considered as well as a micro view of subparts of the application. UD can be applied to a variety of applications. The following list suggests a process that can be used to apply UD...." <<More>> <<PDF>>

Guideline 2: Provide options for language and symbols
     "Students vary in their facility with different forms of representation - both linguistic and non-linguistic. A graph that illustrates the relationship between two variables may be informative to one student and inaccessible or puzzling to another. A picture or image that carries meaning for some students may carry very different meanings for students from differing cultural or familial backgrounds. An important instructional strategy is to ensure that alternative representations are provided not only for accessibility, but for clarity and comprehensibility across all students." <<More>>

Construction Language: IKEA deciphered
     "So I decided to try to decipher IKEA. As far as I can tell, there are eight components to an IKEA instruction booklet. The first is the illustration, the picture that identifies the two pieces you’re working with...." <<

I'll add more as I discover good examples. In the meantime, if you come across examples you'd like me to post, please send me the urls.

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