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Monthly Archives: April 2014

How Tefal #Failed the Accessibility Test

As a copywriter, I have to say Tefal’s disregard of accessibility is a disgrace! If all their instruction leaflets are like this, I won’t be buying another Tefal product in a hurry.

I know using an iron isn’t rocket science and I’ve been ironing for more years than I’d care to remember. I don’t do creased and crumpled, so when my old and trusty iron gave up the ghost, I had to buy a new one. After much deliberation, I settled on a Tefal iron. I liked the feel and the weight – both important factors when it comes to making light work of a very tedious job.

Tefal Iron instructions
What the ‘Tefal’ does this mean?

I soon worked out where the water had to go, but how exactly did I lift the flap?  Perhaps there was a cunningly concealed button lurking somewhere.  No problem – there was a cunningly concealed ‘instruction book’ in the box. I use this term with caution, because it was totally beyond comprehension.

The Tefal iron instruction booklet didn’t contain any instructions. Instead it was nothing more than a series of incomprehensible pictures, which are too small and too vague to help anyone. It looked more like a comic strip … without the benefit of artistic skill or humour.

After two fairly intelligent adults failed to make any sense of it, we resorted to brute force and finally managed to prise open the flap so the iron could be filled with water. Frankly, I wish we’d broken it at this stage. It would have given me a good excuse to return it to the shop.

But what else does this iron (priced at around £25) do? Who knows? I certainly don’t, and I imagine I’m not alone. Some of the poor quality pictures suggest I might be able to steam my clothes to remove creases, but perhaps I can’t.

Tefal iron self-cleaning instructions
Look! Top the page – real words!

Reading the words (yay – real words!) at the top of the pages tells me this amazing Tefal iron has a self-cleaning function. How about that? But how come something the iron is meant to do itself takes so much user-intervention that it needs two pages and 22 drawings to describe it? I won’t be doing that then, because I can’t make sense of it. ‘Self-cleaning’ it says, followed by (once a month). How about I just take it back to the shop when it needs a clean and exchange it for a new one?

Some pictures are emblazoned with the word ‘NO’.  Except the lines through the picture mean you can’t actually see what you can do and what you’re not meant to do. That’s not just unhelpful, it’s plain dangerous!

I appreciate copywriters cost money. Why bother shelling out a few quid when you can employ a second rate graphic artist to sketch a few diagrams instead? You can save on translation costs too, so you can sell it overseas! Great!

But what about your customers’ convenience? Tiny images that measure just 15 mm each are not accessible. Does everyone in Tefal’s world have 20:20 vision? What about your customers who need reading glasses? Or what about elderly people who might not understand your gobbledegook drawings and want to read good old-fashioned plain English instructions?

Accessibility is important. To disregard it is arrogant, unfeeling and damaging to a company’s reputation.