Designing Effective Step-By-Step Assembly Instructions

Maneesh Agrawala, Doantam Phan, Julie Heiser, John Haymaker, Jeff Klingner, Pat Hanrahan, Barbara Tversky


We present design principles for creating effective assembly instructions and a system that is based on these principles. The principles are drawn from cognitive psychology research which investigated a person's conceptual models of assembly and effective methods to visually communicate assembly information. Our system is inspired by earlier work in robotics on assembly planning and in visualization on automated presentation design. Although other systems have considered presentation and planning independently, we believe it is necessary to address the two problems simultaneously in order to create effective assembly instructions. We describe the algorithmic techniques used to produce assembly instructions given object geometry, orientation, and optional grouping and ordering constraints on the object's parts. Our results demonstrate that it is possible to produce aesthetically pleasing instructions for everyday objects that are easy to follow.

Assembly instructions for a TV Stand generated by our system.

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Designing Effective Step-By-Step Assembly Instructions
SIGGRAPH 2003, July 2003. pp. 828-837.