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 You can even post a link to an unpublished instructable if you like, but just remember, please check out the featuring checklist first since this will tell you all of the things that the best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



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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.)
rjkorn15 hours ago

Hi All,

I have an instructable I'd appreciate your comments on.

It is a headlight polishing one at http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Headlight-Ref... . It got a almost a thousand views in the first week so I thought it might be featured. Then it kinda died out. Maybe the taillight picture in the last step would have been a better cover image? The red is more catchy.

I have so many problems getting videos to play right I shy away from them but would a video of the actual polishing motion help?

JM1999 rjkorn8 hours ago

You really should add a video or more text and better photos to clearly explain the whole thing.

You should also get family members to read it and give you their opinion on it because sometimes your mind will fill in a gap in the information and you won't realize there is an error there.

Popularity hardly ever gets something featured, you need to check out these two opposite ends of the scale here:

www.instructables.com/id/The-vinegar-and-baking-so...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Hand-Sewn-Lego-Pix...

The first one got featured but it only has 756 views

The second one has over 3K views and hasn't gotten featured.

So better photos, maybe a video and lots more description and I think it should be good to go!

Hey guys!

I recently posted this Instructable - http://www.instructables.com/id/Mini-Sword-1/

It got featured for a few seconds and now it's not =( Any suggestions why it could happen?

I'm not sure about the possible featuring bug. You may want to send an email to service@instructables.com.

I happen to love the video, and it cleared up the questions I had when looking at the pictures. However, if you are going to put the images into steps, a small amount of explanatory text would be helpful to those who don't want to commit to watching the video. A materials list would be helpful as well. I'm wondering what kind of nails and torch you used.

Are you sure you received the email to say it was featured?

If not I would suggest (as tough as it sounds) to type at least 2 paragraphs in each step explaining what you are doing in the photos.

Some people (like me) HATE videos in 'ibles because of download restrictions.

BillT36 days ago

I have created a new Instructable (unpublished) for using GE Color Effects christmas light bulbs in a homemade holiday lighting display. Any concerns about using a specific commercial product? What sharing license is appropriate?...I am not expecting any profit from this.

Many people used purchased items in their 'ibles, this is what the site is about! Create something new/different from an item that already exists (and sometimse from next to nothing!)

Hey guys!

I recently posted this Instructable - http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Powered-Hear...

I worked quite hard to make this stuff, and ive tried my best at presentation, but it ain't getting featured.... Please Help!!!

I would use a pic of the finger over the sensor board as your first image. It's more important to see it is a heartbeat sensor because solar powered arduinos are solar powered arduinos. If the thumbnail doesn't change you might need to use the publish button and republish to switch out the image. You should also embed your video in your intro. More interest comes from seeing it in action than to read through the theory and build process and trying to figure out what it does. I don't know who that personal pic is in the last step but kinda irrelevant to the build and more facebooky. No need to have a separate step to beg for votes. The ible will get votes if it stands on its own. Good luck.

oh, you did have the video in the intro. I did scroll past it on an ipad because you had too many shots of the cluttered arduino wiring setup. Closeup image of finger on sensor. Closeup of LCD readout or graph and a wide shot of the setup should be all you need. I guess the angle shot of the setup looks more complicated for people who like things laid out schematic wise.

Is it better now? have changed and edited the pics completely....

Look at the other pics you have from your previous featured ibles. They are simple and to the point. This photo doesn't catch the eye, and when it does, you have to really think about it, what is the arrow pointing too, the text is hard to read. Try to get a closeup shot of the finger on the sensor centered in the shot. In contrasting text you can have a full title solar heartbeat monitor below or above everything. There is just too much going on and you want to distinguish it all from a quick look from the thumbnail.

So do you think I don't need to show the panel in the intro PIC? Or just a thumbnail? And what about the LCD readout?

try to simplify the composition into this, that embedded second image in an image was too busy.

solarheartrate.jpg

i edited it now... With a new intro PIC,.... Is it good?

I think if you crop out some of the white space on the right...the photo is a bit washed out, taking a good shot of an LCD and the reflections are hard. You seem fixated on collage pictures. In the ible, change the order so that the your edited simple shot is the first one.

Let's see if you can get that BPM up over 100. LOL.

now?

ah, much better, now you can just chill and relax.

Is there any way I can bring the ible to the attention of the editors? Cos its already 1 week old.... H

No one dares to look the Great Robot in the eye. Patience is a virtue, my friend.

besides, they are out partying for the weekend.

Hey there! Thanks to your extremely helpful advice my BPM is well over 120..:-D it was Featured! Yay! Thanks a bunch!!

Haha OK :D :-)

Thanks! If you think there's anything else to improve , do tell me.... I'm sure my BPM will go over 120 when it gets featured! ;-) :P

Thanks :p will do it.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-3d-Art-Of-The-Eleventh-doctor-or-ANYTHING-Y/ I just recently posted this instructable: its my first one. I would greatly apreciate it if you looked at it a provided constructive criticisms. Thank you in advanced.

And yes I looked at the how-to guide... I just want to make sure to maintain good form when I work on more instructables

JR Tyner10 days ago

How is this?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Spark-Core-iPhoneAndroid-controlled-R2-D2/#

ThisIsSteve11 days ago

Hi

Need some feedback with this one


http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Fridge-Ma...

Thanks

Both of the photos where the device is on the fridge could be re-done, the first one has quite a bit of glare and the last photo, the magnet kinda gets lost on the empty fridge.

Also the first diagram of connecting the UNO to the LCD screen is a little bit unclear, maybe expand it a little bit or change some of the colours.

Other than that I reckon it is a great 'ible!

Nikus17 days ago

Hi!

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

http://www.instructables.com/id/Smart-home-with-arduino/

What can I do to improve this Instructable?

Ben Finio Nikus13 days ago

It looks like you have a lot of what's required for a good electronics Instructable, including a detailed parts list, circuit diagrams, and clear photos with white backgrounds. One thing I'd recommend changing is your cover photo. In general, I think the cover photo for an Instructable should always show the actual final product. You have a graphic with the Arduino and Android logos, which could apply to a number of projects. Maybe try taking a picture of the final Arduino assembly and/or include a screenshot of the app, like what you have in Step 5.

Nikus Ben Finio13 days ago

Yes, I know, but when I wanted to make a video with my smart home my Arduino has failed and does not work. I do not have pictures of the whole system, so I added screenshots to the main photo.

Is it enough to get featured?

Ben Finio Nikus13 days ago

I think this is coming down to personal opinion - I think the graphic is still featured more prominently, and the screenshot inserts are too small. I would redo it completely just using the screenshot on the right, make it as large as possible (while still fitting in the thumbnail), and then shrink down the text and Arduino/Android logos. BUT that is getting really nitpicky and just my personal opinion of what would look good for a thumbnail. I think your bigger problem is that you need to actually show that the project works - what do you mean by your Arduino "failed"? Did you burn something out? Does the circuit just not work as intended?

Nikus Ben Finio12 days ago

My arduino probably be burned or something happened with bootloader. Unfortunately I have no programmer so I do not have to upload it. Thanks for your help but I can't do anything to improve my Instructable.

Ben Finio Nikus11 days ago

FYI in case you aren't signed up for the newsletter, your project was actually included in today's email! So, your improvements were certainly enough to impress someone on the staff.

Just a heads up, since I didn't know about the newsletter for a long time, until someone told me one of my projects was in it. You can sign up in the little "join our newsletter" box waaaayyyy at the bottom of the page.

robodude9516 days ago

Hey folks,

Would love some feedback on making my instructable better (maybe get it featured).

Thanks in advance :)

It looks like your writing is good, you did a good job taking a ton of photos, and you certainly made a cool robot. A few suggestions for improvement:

- Buy a piece of white posterboard and use it as the background for your photos. This is a little extra work, but it eliminates background clutter and makes your pictures look much nicer. I recommend looking at some of Randofo's robotics Instructables as a good standard.

- Use a computer program to make your circuit diagrams instead of drawing them by hand. Again, it's extra work but worth it if you really want to get featured or stand a good chance in a contest, it's worth the effort. Fritzing is a really nice free program that will also give you "breadboard view" diagrams. Also, the hand-drawn diagrams you do have in there need to be rotated by 90 degrees, right now they're sideways.

- Provide links to where you got your parts. I don't think this is strictly necessary for being featured, but it helps out beginners who might not be comfortable browsing electronics websites for parts.

I wrote a guide on How to Write a Good Electronics Instructable that goes over some of these things in more detail, if you find that helpful.

Thanks a lot for the pointers and links...especially your guide!!

I've updated the instructable with the Fritzing ckts though I won't be able to get my hands on posterboard so resorted to a couple of A4s instead..hope it doesn't look too shabby. :p

Cheers :)

Nice improvements! The white paper certainly looks better. For future projects if you can ever pick up posterboard or a white sheet or something, that will help even more.

Thanks Ben Finio for helping so many folks with their electronics ibles! I had wanted to provide some feedback to several, but I am simply not experienced enough with these types of tech projects.

No problem! I am completely useless for craft and cooking Instructables, so it's good that collectively we have all our bases covered :-).

Definitely will!Thanks for the help. :)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Powered-Heart-Rate-Monitor/

Please help me make this i'ble feature worthy!

ok how do I embed my collections on my blog

This specific forum thread is for help writing Instructables. You might want to create a new thread to ask this question in the Authors topic area:

http://www.instructables.com/community?categoryGro...

(It looks like you aren't the first person to get this confused, it's kind of ambiguous since this thread gets linked to as "Author Help" from the homepage)

Could someone please help me?

I bought these DC 4.5v motors:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LUTFU8C/ref=pe_385040_30332200_TE_item

that run at 24,000 RPM. I want to slow these motors down to 10 to 50RPM using Arduino Uno. Could someone please help me with the circuit and parts list?

Thanks,

Anwar

Hey, sorry you never got a reply on this. This forum thread is for help writing Instructables, not technical help with a project (this is a little misleading if you just saw the "Author Help" link from the home page, but it will make sense if you read the original post). If you go to the main forum page, there are a bunch of different topics:

http://www.instructables.com/community/

This question is probably good for Tech:

http://www.instructables.com/community?categoryGro...

For the record though, you should be able to just follow this tutorial:

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-arduino-lesson-13-dc-motors/overview

KRA5H18 days ago

Any suggestions to improve my Instructable to make it a featured Instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Flash-an-LED-with-Scratch-on-the-Kano-Computer/

Ben Finio KRA5H13 days ago

While I don't completely agree with JM1999 that this "isn't really an 'ible", I do think you have one problem - in Step 5 you explicitly tell users not to try this at home. The point of an Instructable is that people should be able to reproduce your work, so you should explain how they would go about properly hooking up a current-limiting resistor and an LED. There are some other tools that could improve the general presentation of the Instructable:

- Fritzing for making a breadboard diagram of how to connect the LED and resistor

- scrot is a command that lets you take screenshots of the Pi's desktop, these look much nicer than photos of a monitor. This would be especially nice to show the Scratch program. Directions here.

- If you want to be really fancy, you can use VNC to remotely control your Raspberry Pi's desktop from another computer, and then use screen-recording software like CamStudio to make a video tutorial. Some of the popular Raspberry Pi YouTube channels like Geek Gurl Diaries and RaspberryPiIVBeginners do this.

JM1999 KRA5H18 days ago

It isn't really an 'ible, you are basically telling people what happens in the setup process of a Kano computer.

If you wanted to change something, I would make the photos clearer and in better lighting.

Hope this helps!

So I spent two hours typing up my instructible last night to have everything be really clear. However, today when I went to look at it, over half of what I typed is missing. I made sure I saved it multiple times during the process to prevent that from happening. Is there any way of recovering all that information?

FYI there is a separate forum for bug reports so you might wan to report this there as well:

http://www.instructables.com/community?categoryGro...

Technically this one is supposed to be for help writing Instructables and not technical support, but I guess it's a little ambiguous since it's linked to as "Author Help" from the homepage. Hope you can get your work back!

Maybe click the little drop-down box that displays the options:

"view all steps"

"go to step one"

---------------------

"private"

"collaborate"

"HISTORY"

"delete"

Click "HISTORY" and there should be an option to revert to original, if not you will have to contact Instructables direct via this email: service (at) instructables.com

(at) ahouls be replaced with the "@" symbol.

Hope this helps :)

OK I made this Instructable,

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Rechargeable-E...

I just feel something's wrong... ¶

Can anyone offer help on how to make it better? I know the pics "may" be a weak point, but other than that anything else? Even *if* it gets featured, I'd still want to make this Instructable as good as possible.

Like JM1999 said, your writing is pretty good, and you already got featured, so it doesn't look like you have a ton to worry about. If you want to make it even better, here are some suggestions:

- Include individual links to the Radio Shack parts on your materials list

- Use a computer-generated schematic for the circuit in step 6 instead of a hand-drawn one. It looks like you already used Fritzing for the breadboard diagram in step 3 - Fritzing also has a "schematic" mode.

- Do try to get better lighting for your photos. You're off to the right start with the white background for your cover image. Try fiddling with your camera settings to increase the exposure, or post-processing in a program like Photoshop or GIMP to brighten up the images a bit. You can try to get more artificial lighting (by bringing another lamp nearby), or more natural lighting by taking photos in a room with lots of windows during the day.

It is awesome, readable and well done.

If I made this 'ible I couldn't find anything to change in it either.

After browsing through the text I couldn't find anything that prohibited or distracted me from viewing the displayed content.

It is very well written and congrats on the feature!

Really? Cool!

144095515 days ago

I'm doing a project for my science class. I need to interview a robotics expert. Please Help!!!

Hi - I don't think you're quite in the right place, this forum thread is for asking for feedback on an Instructable you've written. Have you posted this question anywhere else?

JR Tyner20 days ago

How is this:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Smore-Zombie-Chese...

Any constructive feedback?

What a fun idea! Something I would recommend is to separate the two different cakes into two instructables. It seems a bit confusing having them both together. Something you can do to make your next food ible better is to concentrate more on the photos. Photographing food so that it looks delicious is tricky. While I believe that your party goers loved the cake, it doesn't look as appetizing as it could in many of your pictures.

siemenc27 days ago

Hi Clinic,

What do you think I can do to improve this Instructable? I'm not sure if there are some things missing or not clear.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fixing-the-stuff-a...

Thanks!

It looks pretty good to me with a glance. Did you enter it in a contest? I can see it hasn't been accepted into one yet, so If you did, I wouldn't worry about it not being featured until it has been reviewed by the contest moderator. Often this is when good instructables get featured.

Yes, I entered it in 3 contests and got accepted & featured right after your reply. Thank you!

I thought you would. Good luck!

JM199929 days ago

http://www.instructables.com/id/Leather-Key-Fob-An...

How can I improve this one to get featured?

I *think* it *may* be the intro photo, I don't know how to change it to make it better so any suggestions will help.

Thanks in advance.

The icon image is definitely a problem as it gets cut off in the square format and it doesn't seem to make any sense. Leave the image as your intro in the instructable but use a different image when creating the icon during publishing. The craftsmanship on the project is also not fantastic. You may want to burnish the edges, mark a straight line for your stitches, and use a lighter marker since the marks can be seen in the finished project. Here's an ible about burnishing.

http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-burnish-lea...

You can also hit the edges gently with a lighter.

OK, thanks.
I won't be able to do anything different now, a friend owns it :)

Thanks for the tips, the intro image was a bit of a fail, I modded it in Adobe and when I uploaded it the image sort of messed up.

I think I will have to let it slide and focus on my papercraft 'ible I have mentioned several times - it should be awesome!

Hello,

I'm quickly becoming an Instructables addict. Posted this late last night, just wondering how it might be improved.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Garage-Genie-Parki...

It's already featured. Congrats!

RJM200128 days ago

Hi, does anyone know how I can improve my instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-reuse-old-leather-belts-or-make-one-from-sc/

It has already been featured. If it's featured, it's quite good already if not great.

hello again guys!

I need your help... Any thing you can tell me for improving my Instructable http://www.instructables.com/id/Super-Simple-Indu...

Yes of course it isn't anything big or anything different or unique, but I've tried to make it as elaborate and easy to understand for beginners as possible. I've also included my own video, which I think for an amateur youtuber, quite good.

Hopefully with your ideas I can make my Instructable much much better...

Regards,

DT

Looks like this was already featured! Congratulations!

I really like the videos, your hand-drawn circuit diagram is helpful, and most of the room for improvement is in photo quality. A tripod is your friend. Or a friend with a tripod is your friend. :D

Im sorry I made a mistake... I wanted to know your opinions of this Instructable m...http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Book-Reading-Lamp-and-Torch/

here

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Book-Reading-Lamp-and-Torch/

It's well-documented aside from two important questions: "how does it attach to the book?" and "what are my Mechanix-alternatives?"

I suspect that's what stood in the way of a feature. Otherwise, your words and pictures are good.

Jazzmyn1 month ago

http://www.instructables.com/id/My-meArm-Bigger-Stronger-Longer/

What can I do to improve this instructable to make it feature worthy? I put a lot and I mean a lot of work into this project and was surprised it was not featured. Did I not put enough effort into the instructable itself? Dose it being a remix hurt its chances? Maybe switch out cover photo? Any suggestions are welcome.

I see that you did put a lot of work into it. A couple of things; you might want to edit the title to be "Giant Robot arm remix" or "Supersized MeArm Mechanical Arm", something like that. There are a lot of people that do not know what the MeArm is. The first image, which becomes the thumbnail for the ible, is cluttered with two mechanical arms and the 3d printer. You should have just your mechanical arm in the shot, maybe with better lighting with a solid white or contrasting background. You can play around with pixlr to edit the uploaded image in the editor. From your intro and a quick read, I really couldn't tell if your meArm was the kit that was purchased since you drew the comparison so quickly. I think just a better narrative as your opening would help frame your project. And as for me, a set of googly eyes on the arm would personalize it and show it was a fun project. Good luck.

I made some changes to the intro and cover photo. Any idea how long before the image will update? I am nervous about changing the title because it is linked on other web sights. Thanks for your suggestions. After rereading my origional intro you were right.

I think the first image you have now is much better. Go ahead and change the title. I've got old ibles with typos in the url because it is system generated when you create the instructable. When they link to it or see it in the listings, it will have the edited title. By the way, you might have to hit the publish button again to select the new thumbnail image. The system will still retain your original publish date for contests and it should retain the two contests it was entered in. Yeah, it's quirky but you came to the right place to ask.

We did it! Just got my "Your Instructable was Featured email"! Thanks for all the help.

You did it! Hope to see more ibles from you in the future.

I made the changes now I will sit back and hope they will be noticed. Thanks for taking the time to help me and to explain some of the odd bits of the Instructables system. I did not even know about pixlr. This will be my new favorite tool.

JM1999 Jazzmyn1 month ago

Even if you change the title, the URL will stay the same.

You can see that on my mini fitness park.

Jazzmyn JM19991 month ago

This is good to know. I always debate on what to call a project.

I am back to the clinic. Can you please help me on this instructables of mine, so that I can improve on it and make it feature worthy. Thanks in advance.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Pumpkin-Challah-Br...

You can't mod it to get featured - it already is featured!

Good job!!

Happy it got featured. It was not when I had posted here.
JM19991 month ago

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Easily-Peel-Any-Citrus-HACK/
Any help with this one?
What are the requirements for something to be classed as 'popular'?

I don't know the exact numbers, but to be popular, an ible needs to get a certain number of views within a certain period of time. See this thread http://www.instructables.com/community/What-Does-the-Popular-Sort-Method-Do/

OK, I think it (may) be around the 1,000 mark judging y my previous 'ibles.

What do you think about the 'ible?

The ible is a good idea (though likely more simple than the average featured ible) and the pictures are reasonably good. I would change the first image with the over exposure on the right side. Improvements could be made in grammar. For example, there are a few sentences in Step 2 that have commas where there should be a period. It's also an ible that is very visual. The pictures are all most people will need, so you may have more text than necessary. Great job!

What do you think about it now?

I have edited it a lot and changed the cover photo.

The photo is much better and the text is much more concise. There are still some punctuation errors though. I sent you a PM with details. Good luck!

It is changed now!

HELP!!

Should I enter any contests, do I have a winning chance with the instructable given below:-

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

It is my first instructable and let me be honest I had no intentions of doing an instructable for my project untill I saw the prizes of tech and microcontroler contests. So please review my instructable and give appropriate advice.

THANX A TON IN ADVANCE!!!!

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