Instructables

The Clinic

Welcome to the clinic, a place to get help and constructive criticism on your projects. Here's a brief intro on what it is, written by AngryRedhead:

"Some Instructables don't get the attention that they deserve. Many times the reason boils down to presentation, and if the presentation is off in one way or another, an Instructable might flop no matter how wonderful the project is. The presentation of an Instructable requires a certain set of skills which involve story telling, technical writing, planning, and photography. Even the most experienced technical writers and photographers still benefit from an edit or an outside opinion. As an author, it's difficult to see the flaws and errors because your thoughts and experience fill the gaps that might leave readers puzzled. It happens to every author.

If you feel you have an Instructable that isn't getting the attention that it deserves and you would like some ideas on how to improve its presentation, please post a link to it! We're not here to tear it apart or to tell you that you're the most horrible, stupidester person in the whole wide world. We're here to give you ideas for improvement and hopefully get you more attention and recognition for your project ideas. Think of this like editing or proofreading which is something everyone needs regardless of experience, intellect, and knowledge.

If you would like ideas on taking your idea to the next level and making it bigger and more awesomer, please say that you would like this extra advice. You can even post a link to an unpublished instructable if you like, but just remember, please check out the featuring checklist first since this will tell you all of the things that the best instructables have."

So... that's what this forum topic's for. There's a team of seasoned Instructables authors watching this topic, waiting to give you help!



1-100 of 633Next »
Kiteman2 years ago

Starting your first Instructable?

Then you need to read this how-to guide.
Kiteman Kiteman9 months ago
(Please remember that comments here are the opinions of those making the comments, and do not guarantee that your work will be Featured or win a contest.)
Raphango9 days ago

Hello!

Please, could you take a look at my Instructable? I don't know what I did wrong so I didn't have it featured.... =(

http://www.instructables.com/id/Animated-Sonic-Rul...

Thank you very much in advance!

Hi! Photo instructables (that basically have one step) are much less likely to get a feature, because they are much more of an explanation of the project, instead of a complete step-by-step instruction. This can sometimes work out really well, for a recipe for example, but for a project like this people would rather read a step-by-step on how you made it and how you programmed it, with pictures during these steps. The fact that you already have 10 subscribers after your first instruct able, does show that people are really interested in what you do :)

Ok... thank you so much for your help! =D
Have a nice sunday! n.n

is there something wrong with the presentation...The idea seems great...executed it in a good way..!!!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Touch-Flashlight-cheap-no-adruino/

Background is very cluttered in nearly all photos - try a piece of well-lit curved white card as a backdrop. Arduino, not adruino.

is it possible to get featured using a 3-5 megapixel smartphone camera? or do we have to use a digital slr? or can a regular human priced pocket digital camera do the job like a nikon or smtg?

I have used a $10 tracfone to take all my pictures ok so now its 5

http://www.tracfone-orders.com/bpdirect/tracfone/PhoneDetails.do?action=view&productVariantExtensionId=30409559

I have 2 featured lighting and background helps

very good to know, thank you. i'm definitely getting featured with my next post..! it's my only goal in life at the moment :)

Hello -

My instructable is a thought experiment so photos would be almost exclusively decorative. I was thinking of diagrams and/or equations ...

I guess what I'm asking is - my instructable makes sense to me, how can I make better sense of it to others? What would help me communicate my idea more effectively to you?

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Construct-Y...

Thank you!

your Instructable will only make sence to the right type of person , most people get turned off by equations add lots of cool pictures including the cover best I can suggest

FabricateIO23 days ago

Thoughts on improvements for this 'ible? http://www.instructables.com/id/Multi-Mic-Speech-T...
We thought we did pretty well, but our last one had a much better reception.

Hard to say. It is a really good instructable and a very cool idea. The title, though descriptive, isn't very catchy. For example live and simultaneous are basically saying the same thing so it's redundant. I would also capitalize more on what you will use it for and not what it does. Building a smart home that's voice control from scratch and for $30 bucks I'd check that out! Anyways its a great guide.

Some suggestions and advices about my first instructable?

I tried to make it the most detailed i would.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-and-NRF24L...

Very good for a first time! Maybe change the title a bit(less technical) or possibly a better cover photo. Other than that it was great you are very skilled at reverse engineering!

Presentation and language is good, as are the pictures. Only issue is there are many instructables already on the subject. You need something to catch people that noone has done before, something unique specifically to your project. Other than that it looks great and you are on the right track!

Any suggestions to improve this one??
http://www.instructables.com/id/Rechargeable-LED-Jar-Night-Light/
Is there any problem with the idea, the pics or the matter??

Thanks!

I would say that there is too many pictures in the cover image I would keep it to one jar , even might want to limit the amount of images per step you have to open the window to see them all stretch them out in more steps so your images are all visible with out clicking ,

One point of advice would be to expand your title to be more descriptive. While I enjoy your humor, others may not get it.

Whoops, I seem to have posted to the wrong post. My apologies, your title is perfect.

Thanks for the reply! :)

'Expand' the title?? I thought it was already long enough..
Any suggestions for the title?

Triclaw11 days ago

what can I do to make this Instructable better towards getting featured?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Getting-Stoned/

M3G Triclaw4 days ago

It's a cool instructable, and the title's great; it'll definately catch people's attention! My only suggestion would be to use a different title image, since the people who feature the instructables might get the wrong idea if they came across it while browsing :)

Triclaw M3G4 days ago

I had thought about doing that as well I was trying for some shock value got a lot of views with it who knows might have detured some people from looking at it ,. I changed the cover image and see where it goes from there

Porda1 month ago

I just posted an ible, Touch Lamp, for the Lamps and Lighting contest. I know it's too late to revise it for the contest, but I'd like to make it shine nevertheless. I'd appreciate any advice you can give.

You can revise your Instructable at any time.

Nikus7 days ago

Hi!

Please, can you look at my project. Why is not featured :(

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-bike-tachometer/

Hello,

This is a great Instructable with good detail. There are so many projects uploaded everyday that all of them can not be featured, I should know. Haha.

AmateurHour14 days ago

Anyway I can improve this Instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Wood-ShelfC...

It seemed pretty clear and turned out pretty nice. Was it too simple?

I'm not a woodworking expert - but I think you wrote a very nice and well explained ible. The pictures showing the process of making are very nice and crisp but the titel picture doesn't have that quality.

You could make a new title picture to show the beauty of your shelf. I recommend taking the picture in a setting with daylight. Take a look at this ible:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-take-pictur... There are lots of advices about taking pictures.

You may consider decorating the shelf a bit. Placing some nice objects on your shelf not only "explains" it's purpose :), objects also give the spectator hints about the dimensions of your piece.

This ible shows a nice decorated shelf: http://www.instructables.com/id/Rope-Shelves/

I hope this helps...

nodcah23 days ago

I worked pretty hard on this one: DIY Fingerprint Scanning Garage Door Opener.

Thanks in advance!

-Nodcah =D

ThisIsSteve1 month ago

Need help with this, I'm not sure why this did not get featured.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Arduino-1/

It looks like you posted two very similar versions of this, one from a few days ago and this one. Was that intentional, or was this supposed to be an update that replaced the first one?

May 30th:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-O...

May 26th:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-O...

It looks like you did something similar with your "Smart Distance Measuring Tape" (further down in the comments) - posting two similar Instructables just a couple days apart. The editorial staff would know better but my hunch is that it's better to consolidate your efforts into a single Instructable, and not try to increase your odds of getting featured with near-duplicate entries.

Anyway, let me know which one it's supposed to be, and I can take a more detailed look.

Hey Ben,

First of all thanks for reviewing my instructable,the 30th one is supposed to be the one which should be published. I unpublished the 26th instructable, but its still on the site. It must be a bug or something. Take at the look at the pic to see what I mean.

Don't know why it did not get featured on the other hand.

view.JPG

Honestly this one looks pretty good - I'd just give it some time, since you just published it yesterday and the staff probably isn't working over the weekend. A breadboard diagram for the complete layout would be a nice addition. I also don't think you show what the header pins (which appear in the photos in Step 8) are connected to

No luck, it didn't get featured. Anyways thanks for the advice.

ThisIsSteve1 month ago

Any suggestions to improve this one...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Voice-Controlled-D...

Thanks

advice for this instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-Arduino-pins-to-24-output-pins/

It looks like you did a pretty good job with many of the things that make for a good electronics Instructable - clear pictures with white backgrounds, circuit diagrams, a parts list with links, and lots of detailed steps with pictures.

One thing I would suggest working on is making your writing a little more formal. Spell out "you" instead of "u", and capitalize "I" instead of "i". Also try to use punctuation to help break up long run-on sentences. That will help improve the Instructable's readability.

ok I'll correct it thanks for the advice

FabricateIO1 month ago

Thoughts on this Instructables? We'd love to hear suggestions on how to improve!
http://www.instructables.com/id/Hack-a-30-WiFi-Pan-Tilt-Camera-Video-Audio-and-Mot/

Nothing....Its amazing.

amorarun1 month ago

I would like to improve on my presentations so any suggestions are welcome

http://www.instructables.com/id/Integrating-Laptop... this is my very first and I'm working on an improved one so need guidance..

http://www.instructables.com/id/Salvage-Lithium-Io...

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Mini-Saw-Blade...

Ok, some longer comments:

Laptop cooling stand:

- Detailed materials list is good. Whenever possible, provide exact part numbers or a link to where you got the part. Some things, like "small switch", are too broad - there are thousands of different kinds of switches. A new user trying to follow your directions exactly might have trouble picking the right switch.

- Writing style: avoid long run-on sentences. The very first paragraph of the first step is mostly one really long sentence, so try to break that up into shorter sentences.

- I think you need to more explicitly describe what the goal of the Instructable is. I figured it out after re-reading the first two steps a couple times and looking at the pictures. It looks like your goal is to take apart an existing laptop cooling stand and 4-port USB hub, fit the USB hub's electronics inside the cooling stand's case, and then put it all back together so you have a laptop cooling stand with 4 USB ports. I know that's exactly what your title says, but I was confused by the "planning" step because it looked like you just started taking things apart.

- The same goes for other steps. Never worry about re-explaining things to the user, even if it seems obvious or redundant to you. For example, Step 2 starts with "First mark the size of the holes to be made". My first response in my head was "What holes?". Instead, you could start out with something like "In the previous step, you should have planned out where you want to add holes for the USB ports, power jack, switch, and LEDs to your cooling stand's case. Now, you will mark the exact location and size of the holes so you can drill or cut them out." That reminds the reader where they're supposed to be in the process.

- Steps 3-4 - you did a great job taking a TON of pictures and labeling them well. If you want to go the extra mile (and again, I think it's worth the effort to help get featured), a nicely-drawn circuit diagram always helps. At a bare minimum you can draw it by hand and take a picture, but it's even better if you use a computer. You can do it Microsoft Paint, Powerpoint, or a free vector graphics program like Inkscape.

- Thumbnail photo - I like the last photo in Step 5 better than the one you have at the beginning of the project. The lighting is better and they show the final product more clearly. Remember that you REALLY want that thumbnail photo to be an attention-grabber since it's a big part of what will drive views to the project. If possible I'd try to shoot the photo from an angle that shows both the USB ports and the cooling fan, without putting the laptop on top.

Thanks for taking time to read everything and pointing out the mistakes I made. This information is very useful for me and I will use it in my future instructables to make it better, I might probably edit this one to make it more clear. Once again thanks...!!

Happy to help!

I don't have time to give a detailed read-through to the batteries and saw blade ones at the moment, but hopefully some of the advice on the laptop stand one will be useful there as well. Good luck!

One quick comment after glancing through all three (I don't have time to read all the text tonight, but might be able to this weekend) - always try to use a white background for your photos. It looks like you did this for some, but not all of them. The lighting in your photos also seems a little harsh (not sure if you were shooting directly under a bright light, or using a flash). I think the "Siimple Bots" series of Instructables by randofo provide an excellent example of clear, well-lit photos with solid white backgrounds for tech projects. For example, see this recent solar powered robot.

There are several Instructables out there on how to make a cheap home photo box if you want to take really nice pictures, and if you want to go the extra mile you can use free software like GIMP to touch up the photos. A really nice thumbnail image can be a big part of getting featured so I think it's worth the extra effort.

ThisIsSteve1 month ago

I need help with this instructable.

Thanks

Don't know why the link is not working, anyways here is the link

http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-Mobile-Charger-Solar-from-Scrap/

It's awesome how you show how to do this by salvaging old components instead of buying new ones. Most of your photos also have the nice white background, which is good. Some possible improvements:

- In Step 3, it isn't entirely clear how you got the "voltage regulator" part out of the phone charger. To an untrained eye, the last photo looks like you just kind of broke the circuit board in half. A novice would need much more direction on how to extract only the voltage regulator part from an entire mobile phone charger.

- Step 4 is a little clearer, since it looks like you don't have to actually take the PCB apart. However, rather than just saying "You should attach the battery pack, to where the car battery power goes on the charger PCB," you should show this very clearly with a close-up labeled picture (remember that Instructables lets you add little labels to images you upload), and/or a diagram that you draw yourself.

- There needs to be a step that shows a circuit diagram and how to wire together the voltage regulator, battery pack, and USB port (speaking of which, did you salvage the USB port from somewhere? I didn't see that mentioned in a step, unless I missed it). Right now you just jump from salvaging the voltage regulator, straight to putting it all in a case.

- You skip some information about the case - i.e. it looks like you cut holes in the sides for the USB port and LED. You should describe that in the written directions.

- The biggest overall issue - if you're going to advertise this as a solar charger, you need to show that it actually works with a solar panel. At a minimum you need to show how you would connect a solar panel to the existing circuit (right now that isn't clear). Ideally you should show that a solar panel, when connected properly, is capable of recharging the batteries (which can then charge a phone or something) after they've been discharged.

ThisIsSteve1 month ago
Porda2 months ago

I'm working on my first instructable and I'm hoping to get some feedback. I'm heading towards actively making instructables, so please let me know of any practices or standard features I missed. I'd really like to start on the right foot with this.

http://www.instructables.com/id/EMVNKR0HUYLTC8J/

Ben Finio Porda1 month ago

Your writing is pretty good...one general bit of advice is to use a solid-color background for photos. There are several "DIY photo booth" Instructables that show how to do this, although most of them use white backgrounds, which might not work too well with white 3D printed parts. I think I linked to some of them further down in this thread, but you can also just search for them.

A few more photos of assembly and painting couldn't hurt either, maybe some "halfway through" shots as you're working on it.

Porda Ben Finio1 month ago

Thanks for the advice Ben, the pictures were my biggest concern so it's great to hear that you think the same. I've been researching photo booths and actually just found some great techniques in Make magazine. I'll probably be printing a second one soon, so I'll be able to take better, and more, photos the second time around.

14bwenger2 months ago

This is my first instructable, I'll take any advice I can get

http://www.instructables.com/id/Natural-Cordage/

makendo 14bwenger2 months ago

Good start! Couple of things: explain how you handle stinging and prickly plants - I assume you do something to make them easier to deal with; and illustrate more clearly how strong it is (i.e. hang something heavy from it, and snap a picture of that).

Jan_Henrik2 months ago

Created yesterday!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Lens-flare-filter-...

critic please! Thank you!

altaybilgin2 months ago

Background is way better, yeah.

nodcah2 months ago

This was created for the science fair contest. It the idea just too cliche? I haven't seen it done often in a measured experiment, so I thought I'd give it a try. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-Does-the-Number-of-Mentos-Affect-the-AmountRat/

Thanks in advance!

-Nodcah:-)

M3G2 months ago

Any suggestions on how to improve this?: http://www.instructables.com/id/Turn-a-Tarp-Into-a-Rugged-Survival-Pack/

Thanks!

makendo M3G2 months ago

You've done a great job overall - very clear. However, the main image is not especially interesting, and if you set up a dynamic Les Stroud-style photo in a survival setting I think it would add a lot (doesn't actually have to be wilderness - Stanley Park would be fine!). Also, for your animated gif - try to tripod it (or otherwise immobilize the camera) so the background doesn't move.

M3G makendo2 months ago

I uploaded a new main image, any better?

makendo M3G2 months ago

Background is way better, yeah.

M3G makendo2 months ago
Thank you very much for your input! I'll try to find time to make it out to a more outdoor setting, in the meantime would the 3rd image of the first step be better for the title image?
makendo M3G2 months ago

Not much better, no... :)

M3G makendo2 months ago

Regarding the gif, i posted the individual photos used to make it instead, would that be better?

toasteroven472 months ago

Hi any feedback on how to make this better would be great. I have already entered it in some competitions. Cheers http://www.instructables.com/id/Robotic-Mechanical-Spider/

gsyme132 months ago

Would you mind critiquing this

http://www.instructables.com/id/Develop-a-Photographic-Memory/

My first. Critiques and brushups please.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Vertial-Axis-Wind-Turbine-from-30-Of-Scrap-Materia/

I think it's a great project! What would make it easier to follow, would be more pictures. Especially in your step 2, since you explain a lot here, with more pictures you could also break it up in smaller steps. The video is quite clear, but seeing a long text afterwards could prevent people from actually reading it all, where pictures (screenshots) with the text split up in different steps could be a lot clearer.

Ok cheers, I'll have a re-look at it.

ThisIsSteve2 months ago

Any suggestions for this instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Robot-V2-F...

Thanks

ThisIsSteve2 months ago

Any suggestions for this instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Robot-V2-F...

Jan_Henrik3 months ago

My new Instructable, critic please! :)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Attiny254585-PWM-generator-and-Servo-tester/

Teisha3 months ago

Any suggestions for this one? I'm just not sure why it hasn't been featured. Thanks in advance! http://www.instructables.com/id/Egg-Lamp-Projector/

It's a great ible but could use a better title along the lines of "Etched Eggshell Votive Shadow Lamps". I think the crowd here gets the name confused with something like an iphone movie projector. You want to emphasize the technique you show. You can go back to re-edit the title to your liking. Good luck.

Thank you so much, caitlinsdad! Changed the title to what you recommend -- that describes it a lot better! Here's hoping!

I also wasn't sure what category it should go in - I put it in Living -> Crafts originally, then changed to Workshop -> Lamps after two days, and just put it back to Living -> Crafts. Guess I'll see how it does. Thanks again!!

I think if you were trying to document an experiment on determining luck, you might want to know what luck is basically from a probability and statistics standpoint and then see how that is used to set up your experiment.

Sadi7893 months ago

Any advice on these two I'bles would be greatly appreciated:

Washer Pendants

DIY Foam Weaponry

nodcah3 months ago

I'm just curious about this one for future 'ibles, I posted it about three months ago and just found out about this page. So, what does it lack? Or is the subject matter the problem?

Link: here

Thanks, Nodcah:-)

any suggestions?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Modular-Workstation/

Actually, no. No suggestions at all.

It got featured! Thanks a lot! :)

AmateurHour3 months ago

My instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Day-Of-The-Dead-Mask/?ALLSTEPS has been up for a while now and hasn't had many visitors, any suggestions to make it better?

In my opinion, the mask needs more glam and someone to model it for the intro shots. It just looks like it's missing something to make it "wow" and, more importantly, a reason to make the mask rather than use makeup. If I had to choose between a mask and makeup, I'd probably do makeup, but if it became obnoxiously complicated (e.g., body jewels/rhinestones), I'd opt for the mask. If you wanted to make it even more special, you could have a glamorous mask and terrifying makeup underneath for even more "wow".

Constructed3 months ago

Any Advice? http://www.instructables.com/id/Sundial-From-Scrap-Wood/

I would like to see the steps a little more detailed, possibly with links to a latitude calculator and an equatorial sundial guide. I would also like to know how to find "true north" and what a gnomon is. By adding these, you eliminate the need for the reader to go searching the web for those things, which could lead to more favorites.

I'd also really like to see a picture of it in use in a yard or somewhere.

You've got a great start going, but these little things could take it to the next level.

THank You!

dalegribble3 months ago

I was expecting a higher traffic on this instructable. Would you look at it and give me some pointers on it. Thanks

http://www.instructables.com/id/swingset-with-slide-and-monkeybars/

I would put a better title like"Homemade mega outdoor playset" or "scratchbuilt giant outdoor jungle gym". You can go back in to re-edit. From the outset it just looks like you just assembled a kit in your yard. You might want to write a little in the intro on why you wanted to build the set. I would be interested in learning any tips you have as the need to pour proper foundations and maybe the skills needed to weld the pipes. Good luck.

Thanks for the advise. It all made a lot of sense and was very helpful. I've made the updates, hopefully it will get a little more views

diamondmine4 months ago

Here is my instructable.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Lip-Gloss-Containers/

Constructed4 months ago
(removed by author or community request)

A couple things:

- There are a BUNCH of Instructables on how to make a cheap home "photo studio". All you really need is a piece of white posterboard to make a nice background, and some decent lighting. No need to spend extra money on fancy lights - just move a lamp near your photo area, or try to take the pictures during the day in a room with good natural light. In general you'll want to do this for each step of your build. Photos where you are working on a table and can see a bunch of other stuff in the background (chairs, plants etc) are distracting. Here are some examples:

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Home-Photo-Set...

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Photo-Studio/

- Going along with what caitlinsdad said - being funny or witty can help make an Instructable a little more fun to read if it's done well, but it won't necessarily get you featured or guarantee a lot of views. View count depends heavily on how many people click on your Instructable after looking at the thumbnail (so the first picture is really important). Getting featured depends on the Featuring Checklist, which doesn't really include writing style - just "spelling and grammar don't distract." Asking for specific comments at every single step might risk being seen as cheesy by some. It certainly IS ok to ask for feedback - for example, something like "I hope you enjoyed my project - please let me know if you see any typos or have any suggestions!" will sound better than "If you have read this far, Tell me if there are any typos. I suk at writing gud." (speaking of typos, note that the T in Tell should not be capitalized in that sentence).

Thank You!

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