Small improvements to think about

Hi there,

Having just published my longest 'ible so far I generated enough thoughts to write some feedback which may or may not be reasonable.

Embedding content: I see that .stl files appear nicely with ability to preview and interact with them in 3D, that's great. It's also fully possible to embed Youtube videos and they work just fine. What I'm missing however is ability to embed a circuit from 123D circuits - one of the reasons I used the tool for my last 'ible was because I thought it would sure be possible to embed something made with an Autodesk service. Nope. Adding the iframe makes the view appear while I'm writing the step, yet disappears in preview/publish.
Another service I tried to embed was gfycat - they pretty much solve the issue of huge gifs and therefore long load times by some html5 sorcery (I'm not familiar with that). This could save space/traffic of your servers and decrease page load times.
It would also be awesome if uploading an .ino, .txt or any other raw text file would automatically generate a scroll box with the code there maybe even already having the formatting and all. Similarly like .stl generates 3D preview. This would save instructables from another possible wall of text, especially on mobile, because now, when I manually add a scroll box with code in it it still appears like regular text on mobile. As an extra - it would make the work of authors easier as well.

Instructable layout: First of all - I understand and support the idea of having a standardized format of instructables, if this undermines that - forget and forgive me. What I propose is a way to add pictures mid-step to avoid walls of text, since somehow making a new step doesn't always feel appropriate or maybe it's just a personal issue I need to get over? Just say if it is so. At least having a way to remove the "Step #:" when making a new step allowing to have pictures mid-step would help.
Before you mention it - I know that it is possible to add pictures mid-step using html, but that compromises visibility on mobile, so I try to avoid that.

Statistics: After hitting over 50k views in just a few days with my bottle upcycling 'ible I wanted to at least try and replicate that with my other ones. However, when I click the statistics button I have these empty lines next to the visitor count, often the lines with the biggest numbers. While I can guess where most of the views came from it's still massive guesswork and I'm probably wrong in the end anyway. i.e. in that particular case I got over 30k views on my imgur album, my blog post got featured under DIY tag in tumblr and then got some upvotes on reddit as well. I know that your SEO is pretty good from the amount of 'ibles I get as first google results, but fixing statistics has a potential to drive even more traffic for you.

I probably forgot something else along the way, but that's it for now. I hope someone bothers to read this and says what she or he thinks.

Disclaimer: This is meant as feedback and some ideas for improvement as seen from my point of view, not complaints, not even real critique. Read, think and move forward.

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You can now embed the HTTP code from 123d circuits.io now.

A "redo" button in the editor would be quite helpful for when you accidentally press "Ctrl+Z" trying to undo a typo and accidentally erase the paragraph you were finishing instead.

Raitis (author)  OrigamiAirEnforcer2 years ago

Ctrl+Shift+Z works as redo for me just fine, have you tried that?

I never have tried the operation suggested; given success had in this comment box however, I will definitely note it. :)

Sparticles2 years ago

About Layout,
Have a look at this instructable:

You can add photos and subtitles wherever you want.

And I fully agree about the statitstics. Both the general statistics (the graph) and the individual instructable statistics. (the one you mention)
You can also type your instructable title in google which gives a good Idea too.

Raitis (author)  Sparticles2 years ago

I know that it's possible and mentioned that in the original post around the end of the paragraph about layout.

As of now I'd actually say that there's no real issue with that and it's almost always possible to just split the 'ible into more steps instead.

Getting a proper layout is really not that easy here.

Having to use HTML to do certain changes that simply vinish in the preview is complicated.

The embedding of links for pics and vids only works if you press ENTER after pasting the link, but only too often in the final the embedded things are not where and how it was during the editing.

I did and still do forum work too and there we learned fast that a simple and working editor, plus an advanced one in switchable form works best.

You want to list some code - press the code button and paste your code into the box.

You need an image? Simply click the image button, upload from your PC or choose a hosting link and again it will be where you want it - without all the fuzz and HTML.

KISS - Keep it simple, stupid!

What I mean is the Instructables lives from the users and for the viewers.

The first priority to make this as easy and comfortable as possible would be to provide the tools to publish without hassles.

Sure, a lot of people know basic HTML these days, I and many other don't...

The need to upload all images to hosting sites is as mentioned a problem too if the links go down, fixing them is often hard as you need to edit the text, check for the link names, search your PC for the correct images, re-upload....

Most images don't require a massive resolution, so images could be hosted internally after running them through a standard JPEG compression with color reduction - 5mb pics go down to a few kb.

If that is too much server load, Instructables could create an account with a good image hoster and offer the upload directly over the editor.

Again: KISS ;)

Maybe I am not alone but for me the image system in the current form is simply confusing.

Repeating functions that all do the same but not what you would think.

Click embed should mean the image is embedded within the text where the couros is, instead all go into the top bar.

Drag and drop can be tried but does not work either for them.

We have instructable to show how to make an Instructable as the current system does not allow the basics - that should make someone think that there is the need for improovement ;)

Kiteman2 years ago


Most of that is a foreign language to me, but it sounded impressive, so I'll agree.


Either: It's you, get over it.

Or: Creative naming of steps can get over it if you're really bothered ("The first cutting step", "the second cutting step" etc).


Absolutely agree - those mysterious sources of hits are really niggly.

Raitis (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

I just thought of a possible issue with embedding however - if a service goes down, the embedded content from there on an instructable goes down as well. To lower the chance of that it's probably a good idea to use some known and reliable service. I think imgur has some gif/video compression magic in place as well, so maybe that's a better alternative to gfycat.

One more thing I forgot: I was recently showing an instructable to my friend on her iPad and really liked that the top bar of 'ible with the title, favorite, share, vote and other buttons is still visible while scrolling on the mobile site (not app). I think it's really something to implement for all platforms and may make it easier for users. Also, if the bar on the side with author info, suggested 'ibles and other stuff would remain in place as well (that side is empty when you scroll down anyway) it might be very beneficial to you for retention of new visitors (lower bounce rate) since they would have more tempting content to click on when they've scrolled to the end of the current 'ible.

Oh, and is it possible to see your private messages on mobile devices? Either on app or mobile site.