Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂
Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be talking about a tool I’ve actually been aware of for a long time. My husband really enjoyed this site when he first found it a few years ago, and though I found some kinks I wasn’t too happy with, over all I enjoyed the site. Let’s take a look at Instructables.
Find them on Twitter.
From the site: “Despite the catchy title, this Instructable is more personal story than authoritative how-to: It chronicles how and why Squid Labs, Instructables, and our sister companies were started, and what we’ve learned along the way. Squid Labs is a research and design firm that did innovation consulting, and built prototypes for services and products, many of which have since spun-off into separate companies: Instructables, this project-sharing website; Potenco, which is making a hand-held generator for cell phones and laptops; Howtoons, comics showing kids of all ages how to do things; Makani, an energy company seeking to harness high-altitude wind; OptiOpia, a vision-correction business developing low-cost portable vision-testing and lens-fabricating devices; and MonkeyLectric, which makes LED lighting systems for bicycles.”
The site has a few levels, depending on what you want to pay for. A free account is pretty basic, but here are your options:
I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t “favorite” an Instructable without having a paid account.
The site is easy to navigate, but I definitely got the feeling that there is a lot there. The main navigation is fairly easy:
Instructables also supplements the main navigation links with sub categories that help the user narrow down the item they would like to build or make.
I really did enjoy the browsing option under explore. The pictures are often interesting, and draw you in and make browsing fun.
I really do think that’s one of the most interesting things about this site- you can literally find anything to make or create. If you are creative, you can upload directions and pictures of your own projects. The projects range from practical to wildly impractical, but are fun and interesting to sift through. We won’t be talking today about how to upload your projects, but it is an option to keep in mind if you find this site interesting.
If you’re browsing under one of the main topic categories, for instance art, you’ll find the most popular, recent, zeitgeist, and recent.
Once you have found something you’re interested in creating, click on the picture or title to get to the actual instructions.
Often the main page is an overview of the item. I chose bubble tea, since I tried this for the first time the other week. A very interesting experience, by the way.
The main page will also give you a good idea as to how many steps the item will take to create.
From there you click on each step to follow the directions, almost exactly as if you were following a recipe.
The page which you are looking at will also give you related items and ratings of other users that have tried to create the item.
The feature of Instructables we won’t be going into depths on tonight is uploading your own set of directions. Briefly, however, the first thing you’ll do is click on the submit link.
First time users will get an overview:
And then a template to upload:
In closing, I found this site both fun and completely useless. It’s interesting insofar as there are a lot of interesting things that people create, but when I searched for something practical (e.g. book shelves and cabinets) I came back with few results that satisfied my need. That said, there are a lot of interesting projects that I would consider trying that I probably didn’t even know existed before stumbling upon them on this site.
I do realize that this site has been around for awhile, but I figured it was time for a little bit of a fun, if mildly educational, diversion.