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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 You can even post a link to an unpublished instructable if you like, but just remember, please check out the featuring checklist first since this will tell you all of the things that the best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!



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Kiteman3 years ago

Starting your first Instructable?

Then you need to read this how-to guide.
(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.)
DangerousTim22 hours ago

here is an Instructable i recently finished... http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Piano-Recordin...

As usual I can't decide well on the thumbnail image. Also can anyone tell me how to improve this Ible to make it feature worthy? Thanks in advance...

I like the thumbnail image that you've picked and I think it's the best of those in your Instructable. However, there's a lot going on in the background of your images that might serve to distract from the foreground (your project). Maybe make a DIY lightbox. That's going to be a project for me this weekend. Overall, I think it's a great Instructable and I think if you can figure out how to up the ante on pictures it ought to definitely get featured.

+1

Keep a nice clean background to Showcase your I`ble

Well, thanks, i did that. What about now?

That does look pretty cool ! :D

Maybe lose the wires, and some Color in the Background would be my only Critique !

Just do something similar with your next one and you should fair well :)

Well, thanks, i followed your suggestion. How about now?

dcq32yesterday

Hi! What ought I do to improve this Intractable and get it feature-worthy?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Le-Ultimate-Sandwi...

Thanks!

it's a very good (and yummy) Instructable! I think the last image could work better for the thumbnail. Also add a caption in the image itself. In the "ingredients" step, try adding a list, like a bullet list or a numbered one, along with the very detailed explanation. Thats all I can say.... I do hope it gets featured!

Thanks for the feedback. I changed the thumbnail image and added a numbered ingredients list. I also added notes to each of the images (although I'm having a hard time getting them to show up on the desktop version of Instructables).

There is ALOT of white in you're Tumb-Nail... Between the Egg white and the Background I had to take a second and try to see what it was. Maybe a colored plate? Possibly some parsley or some sliced Veg to munch on? Tiny bit of pepper wouldn`t hurt Either :)

Can anyone give me some advice on this 'ible. How can I get it featured??

http://www.instructables.com/id/Musical-Robot/

It looks pretty decent but the main thing you should try is to improve your images by decluttering your backgrounds - as is they're distracting. Also perhaps try some slower music so the robot looks like it is moving less randomly (there is enough lag that its hard to see that the movements correspond to the beat).

Thanx for the advice. One more quick thing do I have a chance in the DIY music competition ???

You always have a chance, but it's probably fair to say that the majority of winning projects are featured (and often in the newsletter as well).

KRA5Hyesterday

Howdy folks! Please review my Instructable "The Tyndall Effect" http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Tyndall-Effec... and let me know what I need to do to improve it to get it featured. It was a feature article on Science 2.0 (you can find it in the list featured articles here http://www.science20.com/featured). Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have that will help get my article featured here on Instructables.

Maybe a point of criticism is that you don't necessarily demonstrate Tyndall Scattering. Just scattering.

The entire point of the Tyndall effect is that shorter wavelengths are scattered more than longer wavelengths.
You can't illustrate that with a laser pointer which has only one frequency (or at least a very narrow band).

You should light with more colours such as a beam of sunlight or white LEDs.
You will see that the blue component of the light is scattered more which makes your emulsion look blue and your longer wavelengths should reach the end of your container.

Or for example take a red, green and blue laser.
Then you will see that blue light is scattered more than green which in turn is scattered more than red light.

Also, the muddy particles in your dirt step are much bit too big to clearly see the Tyndall effect. (You can even see that all your red light scatters away)

You must keep your particles <1µm


http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Invisi...
I really think that this is worth a feature.
35 favs!

I think it's a great instructable, nice work! My only suggestion would be to take a picture of all of the stuff needed and use that instead of the stock photo you have now.

Can anyone give me some advice on this 'ible and how can I get it featured.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Musical-Robot/

JM19996 days ago

Can anyone please give me some advice on this Instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/The-vinegar-and-ba...

It is consistently getting between 30 and 50 views a day and it never got featured?

makendo JM19996 days ago

You've picked a much-searched for title/keywords, especially around science fair time. To make it feature-worthy, I think you'd have to redo the photos, perhaps add video and tighten up the text.

JM1999 makendo6 days ago

Right, so basically another 'ible :(

I'll think about re-doing it but at this point I don't have any materials for it.

makendo JM19995 days ago

On the bright side, you've already done some good SEO :)

Hey, I was wondering about this ible that I posted a while back. I was wondering for future reference what I could do to make article like this feature ready? Is it a bit niche in your opinion? Was it too long? Do you think the instructions were overly complicated? Is it too targeted? Would love some constructive feedback :) Thanks!

The Ultimate guide to creating a headless Minecraft server

It's well written (save for the odd your/you're, bare/bear), but the main problems are the density of jargon and that you don't really explain your motivation for what looks like an expensive and complicated build. Why would anyone want a minecraft server? Why is a headless one desirable? The main photo says "The Ultimate Guide" but it's not clear to what.

Thanks, so I should work on:

  • Make sure you correct things like your/you’re, bare, bear.
  • Make sure you explain why you are doing the ible
  • Possibly explain why say a Headless server is desirable
  • Make sure not to use Jargon, make it easy to understand

Awesome! The help is really appreciated. I noticed that on the one ible of mine that was featured I had a good reason for doing it and a story to back it up.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Pen-Pencil-Stand-W...
Really need help... i never get any attention over here.... :(

I'd start with a Different Background. I Usually go with White too, but there is soooo much white + clear plastic in your Piece that it fades into the Background

Try some colored poster board from the Dollar store !

Also, perhaps use some clear tape next time ? ( Least on the outside)

Otherwise the content is nice and clearly written :) I like the caption on your Thumbnail !

Anything else that could help me?

I agree about the tape. It doesn't look high quality with tape all over the outside. I also don't have any confidence that the sharpener would be held firmly enough by the tape to allow sharpening. I suggest you redo the project with a strong glue like E-6000.

I changed the tape!
BTW, I have done this and I can really assure you that it does really hold the sharpener PRETTY tight, so as to allow sharpening.

Your cover shot looks Nice !

I was just browsing through the Diy Music contest and saw your I`Ble ! Good Luck !

(Sorry for the late response, The Robot up there miss-filed that Email :P )

Make the Thumbnail for your Next I`Ble that Nice, and you should do well :)

+1

ThisIsSteve16 days ago

I personally would be much more interested in actually seeing you create something with the Makey Makey as oppose to just showing us how to program it. Your article, because of the aforementioned reasons, seems very targeted at beginners and people who actually need to use a Makey Makey.

However, I hope you don't mind if I bookmark your project for future reference :P

Most readers probably don't know what a makeymakey is or does, so your project is very niche (i.e. only for those that have or want one of these things). You could make it more broadly interesting by providing some background, and providing an example of programming it to do something.

This instructable got a category feature, but I'd love to get some advice on how to make it homepage-worthy.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Wirework-Time-Turn...

I was literally just marveling over your project on the homepage, Being a avid harry potter fan It just caught my eye instally!

It's on the homepage!

I'm wondering the same thing about my Classy Warrior Trophy Jewelry.

Nevermind, it's on the homepage.

NEED HELP TO MAKE IT FEATURE WORTHY

The writing is pretty solid but has a couple small typo-like errors. You may want to read over it carefully again. Primarily, I think your issue is the images. They're all back-lit with the window in the background. This makes for a dark subject. You may be able to lighten up the foreground a bit with a photo editor. Also, there's no need to list what each image is. If you feel there's some specification needed, I would suggest tagging the image with the "add note" button instead.

dashinggurl10 days ago

How an instructables become featured?

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-play-Mancal...

Any help for this instructable?

I thought it was pretty good but I don't know for sure

There was another instructable with the same name and same type of content entered in the How to play contest. Both the instructables are also posted on the same date. you can see the other one here

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-play-mancala-1/

Wow! I did not know that.

yea, that may be one of the reasons your instructable did not get much attention

I simply don't understand how to play based on your rules. Perhaps some images with drawings or diagrams to explain how the stones move would be helpful.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-and-Feel-Virt...

Can someone help me improve this 'ible!!

how do i get it feature worthy?

You need to document more than just applying purple primer. A photo of all the parts and the final assembled product would be useful. Avoid using stock photographs. Stating "---------------------------------lowes or local hardware store" over and over is redundant.

ok thanks!!!

i will do that!

Well new i'ble - http://www.instructables.com/id/Absolute-Beginner...

Any comments or suggestions to make it feature worthy?

It did get featured, good job!

Silly me, I didn't mean that one... It was this http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Powered-Ard...

Soooo sorry for the mistake :(

Totally fine!

Umm, on the solar powered one, I went to your page to check the recent and straight away I saw it, it stood out but not quite in a good way - I mean, all your other 'ibles have amazing thumbnail images - the first thing I would do is change it out to a different one (if possible).

Apart from that I didn't really see any other inconsistencies in it :)

I'm so bad in choosing thumbnail images... Like... Why doesn't it stand out in a good way? I've got another worthy image in the intro and the last step... will that work?

Compared to your other intro images, this is a little below.

I would start by making a kind of electronics background - it's hard to explain.

What I saw in the thumbnail was the following:

An interesting window, a holey tablecloth (lots of holes).

And then I see a round device that I have no idea what it is so I do either of the following:

Click it and satisfy my curiosity

Or I would check the view count (1.4K) and bypass it

Or I would check the view/favourites rate (1 per 51 people) and bypass it again.

It would only be curiosity that would bring me in but I am different.

Maybe take a photo of it on your bedroom window with the solar panel visible pointing out the window and maybe a few cords but not too much, the clock needs to be the main focus.

I just reached the last step of your 'ible and realised your "window" is actually a solar panel XD I totally thought it was a window until like 10 seconds ago...

Otherwise, your photos of the wiring and diagrams are clear, the finished product photos could do with a little improvement imho.

Don't take all of what I say as total straight speaking, I only have an 8% feature rate myself (mind you, I have 105 'ibles!).

Hope you get featured again,

JM1999

Yes I now changed the cover image... Wonder if its any better.... Like more interesting and understandable than the earlier one... Your opinions do help a lot, thank you!

Much better!

I really hope it gets featured for you :D

Oh and on the images in the intro and the last step - I personally would re-do them or at least take a new one for the thumbnail.

But that is me - you are different and so is everyone else.

Any suggestions on how to get my projects featured? http://www.instructables.com/id/Knex-Rifle-Aggression-Instructions/

They're good quality, but it's tough to get featured with builds that use a special type of proprietary building block. Lego is marginally easier because it is a little less niche.

Thanks, but I do know that some folks can get their knex guns featured simply for good, clear photos.

shazni25 days ago

Hi,

I would like to know how a featured instructable get's to be in the homepage.

I'm
kind of confused about this as some of my instructables has made it to
the homepage and some has not. I actually thought that my http://www.instructables.com/id/Tire-To-Round-Sof...

was
homepage material. But as it did not make it I was really wondering
what makes homepage. Is it possible to give me some pointers in what
makes homepage and what does not?

Thanks.

P3020133 (640x480) (2).jpg
anouskadg1 month ago
(removed by author or community request)
Honus anouskadg25 days ago

I think it's a well done project with good photos and clear instructions. The only thing I'd maybe recommend is to list sources for all of the parts you used.

anouskadg Honus25 days ago

Thank you!

I'll add sources to the list :)

Yes... This Instructables - http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Powered-Ard...

Definitely needs some improveimprovement, though I dunno how :/ any help is appreciated :)

Hey, would be great to have some feedback on my first Ible to make my next one better.

http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Backlit-Sign-1/

It is awesome and the editors think so too - it got featured!

I don't know what you could do to improve, the qualities are there - keep building :)

Wow! It just made it to the Instructables Homepage!

I guess I don't need to improve anything major then.

Thanks for your time, I'm working on another Ible at the moment! ^_^

JM199929 days ago

Any suggestions on one of my latest 'ibles please?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Anti-Gravity-Eddy-...

mgandm51 month ago

Could someone please tell me which of these cover photos would be better. If you can think of a better idea for a photo, please let me know. The instructable I want to use is here: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-SnowboardSnows...

image.jpgimage.jpg

My personal preferance would be the one with the person. But I think the one with just the red board and the snow is more clear, since the other one doesn't have the board on the picture. If you have a picture with a person on the board, I'd go for that one ;)

I like the one with just the red board and the snow :) just my personal preferance

Do any of you have some advice for why these were not featured

Homemade Snow Cones

Delicious Heart Shaped French Toast

Whenever I post here I almost never get a response.

Your written instructions are very well done--clear, well organized and easy to follow. Good work!

Your images are the weak point in both of those, in my opinion, as images are for many food-type instructables. To get peoples' attention, images of food need to be well-lit with vivid colors, and in perfect focus (not blurry at all). As they say, we eat first with our eyes! If you snap a photo of a food item, and it looks anything other than mouth-watering and delectable, you should keep adjusting lighting, angle, and so forth. As far as editing photos, adjusting brightness and contrast alone will do wonders, especially with food items.

Also, for familiar and common types of foods, the importance of nailing the image quality is even greater. Just a couple thoughts! :)

Thanks. I am not the best at taking pictures of food

dashinggurl1 month ago

Any ideas on this why this was not featured?

wall hanging wood vase and mason jar tissue box.

There's two things I would suggest you work on when looking at both ibles. First, the image quality is not great. Be sure you have good lighting. I know how difficult it can be to get good indoor lighting, but play around with different settings on your camera and different types of bulbs in your light source. Better yet, work near an open window with natural light.

The second issue I see is the overall craftsmanship. There are several moments when something could have been done more precisely to make the project look more appealing at first glance. For example, the metal you glued to the lid of the mason jar could be cut more carefully and glued on more evenly.

Don't give up. They're cool ideas. They just need a bit more polish.

Thank you..so what will u suggest me what will i do more to get better feedback?

I'm sorry, but I don't understand your question.

I asked u that what will i do more to improve my instructables in future?

Thanks in advance..

mgandm51 month ago

Could someone please give me some feedback/opinions about this 'ible: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-SnowboardSnowskate-from-a-Skateboard-Deck/. I would really appreciate it.

makendo mgandm51 month ago

Nicely documented, but I'm mildly skeptical that duct tape could possibly be (a) slippery enough and (b) hard wearing enough to work well in this context, and tbh your video doesn't fill me with confidence. Also, your main picture doesn't actually show any of the modifications you made.

mgandm5 makendo1 month ago

The duct tape is durable and the wax helps with the slipperiness. It is very smooth. I will point that out more. I guess I really need to wait until it snows again (fingers crossed) and get a better video.

Thank you so much for the constructive feedback!

Raitis1 month ago

Hi there!

I need some unbiased (meaning not mine) opinion about this one. Or does it appeal to a too small audience to be noteworthy at all?

Also, maybe I should use a POV video still as a main image instead (not sure about quality here, so avoided it)?

makendo Raitis1 month ago

Oh, I think this will get featured all right, it is pretty cool. A little niche perhaps but most of the ideas are presumably transferable to other small cameras. However, your second picture is way more interesting than the first, so think about making it the main picture (though it does have a *really* busy background).

Raitis makendo1 month ago

Thanks for the answer. Image was one of my concerns as well so it's already changed, the busy background is out of focus, so shouldn't be an issue I guess. Did change the title not too long after publishing too, so it doesn't sound like a completely niche thing either. :)

This isn't quite the usual post for the clinic, but I'm vexed. I recently published one of my favorite projects that I'm quite proud of, a hat box converted into storage on my scooter. About an hour later I published an ible detailing how I used leftover wood to build a workbench in my garage. The hat box was featured to the homepage almost immediately and didn't get bumped off for at least two days. The hatbox only had 100 or so more views than the workbench for those two days despite the workbench not being featured. So, at this point, the hat box had around 500 views and the workbench had around 400. Around the third day, the workbench got featured to the channel and now it has almost 2200 views while the hat box only has a bit over 700. They're both in 2 or 3 contests, so they are most likely receiving traffic from those pages as well, but they are not receiving any significant traffic from outside Instructables.

So, why do you think the hat box isn't getting as many views. Does it not interest the instructables member base as much as the workbench? Does no one have a scooter? I know there are lots of bike riders here, and it's easily converted to a bicycle. In my experience, a day on the homepage is good for around 2000 views. Of course it will vary, but this is one of the least popular homepage featured ibles I've ever made and I'm not sure why.

Perhaps it comes across as having relevance only to those that possess both a scooter and a hatbox, which I suspect is a pretty small constituency. On the other hand, lots of people want a workbench and often have little space for one.

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