Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words

Photo of a page in an IKEA instruction manual that uses no words--only drawings--for how to assemble a bookshelf.
IKEA picture instructions.

I love IKEA.  Do you know one of the things I love most about IKEA? Their instructions. They are universal and easy to understand. This $10 billion dollar company has nailed one of the factors that I think contributes to their success: Simplicity. This Scandinavian company located in 38 countries primarily uses pictures in their instructions, and these pictures rival the artwork of most ten-year-olds. The instructions are surprisingly straightforward and universal, so everyone from the astrophysicist to the 18-year-old college freshman can follow them with little-to-no trouble.

How important is simplicity in communication? Very. Taking a page out of IKEA’s book, the short and direct approach, which in their case includes pictures, is key.  (On a side note, I find this approach key when it comes to explaining to my husband how to properly separate clothes before he washes them, but I digress.)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, learn from IKEA and make sure you can communicate a comprehensible message to the widest-possible audience.

Recording of Similar David Pogue Keynote Found

David Pogue, the Keynote speaker at the STC conference, gave one of the funniest keynotes we’ve ever had. It was a shame that it wasn’t recorded. However, I found a recording of a similar keynote address he gave to TED last year. The first half is similar to the one he gave to us and the second half contains two more songs. The recording is at Talks David Pogue: “When it comes to tech, simplicity sells” :

There is also a video on YouTube of his closing song, iPhone: The Music Video:

New York Times columnist David Pogue takes aim at technology’s worst interface-design offenders, and provides encouraging examples of products that get it right. To funny things up, he bursts into song.

David has a brief bio on his site at

David Pogue is the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times. Each week, he contributes a print column, an online column, an online video and a popular daily blog, "Pogue’s Posts."

David is also an Emmy award-winning tech correspondent for CBS News, and he appears each week on CNBC with his trademark comic tech videos.

With over 3 million books in print, David is one of the world’s bestselling how-to authors. He wrote or co-wrote seven books in the "for Dummies" series (including Macs, Magic, Opera, and Classical Music); in 1999, he launched his own series of complete, funny computer books called the Missing Manual series, which now includes over 100 titles.

David graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1985, with distinction in Music, and he spent ten years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals in New York. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Shenandoah Conservatory.

He’s been profiled on both "48 Hours" and "60 Minutes." He lives with his wife and three young children in Connecticut. His web site is