Visual Work Instructions

“With written work instructions, we never really knew if we were finished or if we had done it right.”
— Assembly Supervisor



Project Manager, Researcher and Designer


Company Description:

Explainers™ creates visual solutions that explain complicated processes. These solutions have increased productivity, reduced error and minimized waste for manufacturing, government and healthcare clients.


What are Visual Work Instructions?

They are knowledge transfer of standard work practices via a visual aid. Their graphic nature allow users to see what the end product looks like and what steps they need to get started.



Explainers has experience working with Fortune 500 companies in the aerospace, automotive and pharmaceutical industries, including:


General Motors
Honeywell Analytics
Johnson Controls
Kraft Foods
Parker Hydraulic
Pilkington North America
Stryker Corporation


Besser Company
Bronson Hospital
Cisco Systems
Copeland Corporation
Delphi Automotive
Eaton Corporation



Explainers: Process

Explainers: Process





Workers in an automotive parts manufacturing facility were making packaging errors that resulted in charge-backs from the OEM, additional mandatory inspections and rework.


Explainers: Work Instructions: Client's Procedure


Poster-sized operation instructions that clearly documented standard best practices were hung in each work cell. Waste was greatly reduced. Secondary inspections were eliminated.

Explainers: Work Instructions: Final Deliverable

Explainers: Work Instructions: Final Deliverable


“For work instructions to be credible, workers must believe that they define the one, single, proper way to perform a task. When work instructions are credible, workers accept and trust them.”
— Pat Sweeney, Explainers CEO

Explainers: Work Instructions


A food processing facility had a large number of English as a second language (ESL) employees, who were having trouble comprehending text-heavy standardized work instructions.


With illustrations explaining the process, ESL operators could understand and perform the work correctly. In addition, Performance improved for workers of all languages. Translation costs were reduced (fewer words, lower costs).


Workers were required to remember maintenance procedures for equipment they didn’t work on regularly.


We created visual quick-reference guides that were easily accessible. These allowed workers to accurately perform the procedures, which extended the life of our client’s capital investment.

Explainers: Maintenance Procedure

Explainers: Quick Guide


Stryker, a global company, needed the setup guides they include with their products available in sixteen languages, making translation costs high.


We eliminated the need for translating steps by creating a quick-start assembly guide that uses illustrations to clearly explain. Stryker drastically reduced translation costs and the associated costs related to managing, printing and updating the multiple files.

Explainers: Nursing Procedures

EXPLAINIT® Nursing Procedures

The format used shows a series of steps that appear similar but are different. The use of arrows, numbered steps, and the general layout are all designed to alert the nurse to a sequence of steps that must be performed exactly as instructed.





Explainers was the kind of job that you never forget. I joined the team as an illustrator shortly after graduating from Western Michigan University. Each project brought a continued sense of curiosity and a hunger for discovery in the design business.

When a major client contacted us for a project in Puerto Rico, the management was open to give me an opportunity and become more involved. This project was highly successful both in revenue and in the surpassing of our clients expectations, it was this project when I experienced how crucial all participants were to meeting those expectations. I learned that communication needs to be open, meetings need to end with a goal in mind, designers and customers need to meet so that information is not being lost in transition, finally, trust and understand that each member of the team has a role as a subject matter expert.



Decisions, decisions.