How To Build A Paper Airplane Written Instructions

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Self-reflection, evaluation, and breaking the “rules” lead to the most beautifully designed parts of life.

I’m still surprised at how many teams create directions for a paper airplane without testing if the plane even flies, or how well. Why spend ten minutes creating detailed instructions for a paper airplane that doesn’t fly? Unfortunately, this mindset is adopted in more than just paper airplane origami. At the very least, they should stand the test of a simple question: Why?

Who benefits from the creation and use of the “it”? Creative teams, groups of people who are responsible for making things (services, experiences, products) in the world need to grapple with the What, the How and the Who of design.

Ask each group to “make a set of instructions on how to make a paper airplane.”3. Talk about what you made: What ways of explaining your work did you use? Design the conversation around making sure everyone is heard before decisions are made. Did you pause to ask what modifications might need to be made if the audience was blind or a child?

This will hold those flaps in the proper position during flight.

Fold the right side of the page back along the center fold so the the flaps and point are exposed on the outside.

When I ask them why they didn’t try out their design first, they complain about the time. This method is still used in some cases but problematic when words are so often misconstrued (Like UX requirements docs! )Some teams use symbols and diagrams to go along with the written directions, making the communication two-dimensional and removing potential ambiguity with the words.

And yet…there will always be one or two groups who somehow managed to *each* fold a plane they know, try them both out, and then make diagrams for the best one. Occasionally teams will take another approach by creating a series of three-dimensional planes. The assumption that directions must be one dimensional and that thinking outside the box would be breaking the rules is devastating to the world of design.

Flip the page over, left to right so that the fold created in step 12 is down against the work surface and the angled edge is at the top and left and the square end (now possibly with the protuding tail of the wing created in step 12, depending upon the length-to-width proportions of the original sheet of paper) is to the right. This fold is a mirror image of the one just completed in step 12.

The angled edge is folded down so that it is parellel to and even with the original center fold.


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