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 You can even post a link to an unpublished instructable if you like, but just remember, please check out the featuring checklist first since this will tell you all of the things that the best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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Kiteman2 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.)

Hello,

So after reading through the advice about photos, I went through my instructable this weekend and re-did a lot of the photos. Would appreciate some feedback on what other things I might be missing...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Uber-Home-Automati...

I'm kind of worried that some of the steps are too long...but I tried to break up the steps in a logical manner. For the longer steps, I used headers to split it up so it's obvious you're doing something different, but still related.

Yes, the steps are long but when you start reading the content they don't matter.

I saw a nice complete 'ible, good photos.

Maybe on the electrical circuits you have to do that diagram stuff in pencil to get it right (you can find plenty of that stuff in other electronic 'ibles).

I would be asking the same question if I had posted it.

I think you have done a good job.

Thanks for the input. I think my videos maybe aren't very polished. It's much harder to improve on videos than photos. I was hoping the thoroughness of my videos would help make up for the lack of polish in that area. I tried to show videos of everything to show how it actually works.

I'm hoping to get some attention for it, and maybe get featured.

It got featured!

Good job, changing out those photos definitely made a difference!

JM19993 days ago

What happened to this Instructable?

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-do-dishes-on-your-own/

I was confused when this didn't get featured.

Any help is appreciated.

Can you people review these two projects of mine and give your valuable feedback:

1.http://www.instructables.com/id/Heart-rate-monitor...

2.http://www.instructables.com/id/Smart-home-energy-management-system-SHEMMS/

xxlauraxx8 days ago

Hey guys! I just posted my first Instructable, and I'd love to hear any feedback so I can improve my process/presentation next time. http://www.instructables.com/id/Dont-Let-the-Tomat...

Thanks for your time!

At first glance:

Great title! Very eye catching. And using up food before it goes bad is something we all need to know how to do. Nice pictures, and very clear instructions....

I will have to think about it for awhile and see if I can come up with anything that you need to improve. But for a first attempt, I would say you did a great job.

Wow!

People on this site don't normally have their first 'ible featured, that is so cool, I took a quick look through and the presentation is so neat!

Keep up the good work and I don't think you could have changed anything to make that one better - nice job!

Thanks, JM1999!

You're welcome!

Ok I made this 'Tutorial' instructable, which has lots of pics, information and is simple enough for at least beginners in Arduino to understand - http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Use-Touch-...

Yes maybe it doesn't show many unique projects, but its easy for beginners and is the only 'Touch sensor' tutorial on Instructables, if you may.

How can I make it good enough to get featured and have more views???

Well, it might as well be written in an alien language for all I was able to understand. So I guess I can't help you. My suggestion would be to simplify it a bit, but for all I know it might already be extremely simple.

If I had posted that 'ible I would be asking the same question, I can't think of anything except break up the steps because some of them are long.

Again, I don't know how to improve on something like this.

Thanks! Who do you think can help me then?

Maybe try Ben finio or ewilhelm or even Jayefuu might have some tips for you.

Danke! Do they have separate "clinics" or do I send either of them a private message?

Ya I know this is Jayefuu's page...

I think Jayefuu was the starter of most cool things on this site.

You would have to send them a private message.

While thinking about it you probably could send Jessyratfink a message, she would have some tips for you.

The Freak6 days ago

Hi everyone! I made an instructable and
it would be nice if I could get some feedback on it. I already changed
the first picture to a more clear in focus picture, but perhaps some
other changes are needed.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-high-voltage-fly-swatter-mod/

Maybe it didn't get featured because it sort of is a dangerous thing?

I thought it was funny you left the batteries in, you probably should re-take those photos without batteries.

That's my opinion anyways, hope to see more stuff from you!

Haha yeah, I also laughed when I noticed that in the pictures but it was a bit irresponsible of me. But thank you for your comment, it might be a good point.

Hello!

I was wondering if anybody had any feedback on my Instructable: The Ultimate DIY Guide for Quadcopters?! It got a lot of popularity at first, but now its slowed down quite a bit, and also not many views!!

That's just normal behavior I think. When featured, it gets on the front page many people see the thumbnail and click on it. Maybe they share a bit.
But as your instructable gets pushed back by newer featured instructables, people will have to scroll and go further to see it which they will do less and less likely with increasing "distance" from the front page.
In the end, you'll only get views from people who searched google or the occasional link on an other website. (instructables aren't very viral like youtube videos)
The view statistics pattern for all my instructables look like this image.


statistics.png

Hey,

Thanks! I guess i'll just have to wait for views!

Any suggestions on how to improve the actual content?

Okay, so I made an Instructable that I believe could use improvement, but I am not 100% sure what else I can add to make it the best. I would love some help! Here it is:

How To Neutralize Spiciness In Your Mouth

I think you have done well, it is going to always be awkward with these type of instructables but you absolutely nailed it!

JM199913 days ago

Can someone please tell me where I went wrong with this one?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Origami-octahedron...

makendo JM19998 days ago

Low res pictures.

Statements like "If you are confused google it" are not really what this site is about. Provide the link, or better, do a clearer job of explaining and/or add a video or animated gif.

JM1999 makendo8 days ago

What do you think about it now?

I so hope it is feature worthy, I posted it and then realized the papercraft contest was coming up :(

Hmm.. Maybe show how to make the water bomb bases? You have really great photos and I think the 'ible is definitely "feature worthy" though. I voted for you in the teach it contest :)

OK, I will get some photos on the bases up and see what happens from there!

Thanks for the vote!

It looks good and I agree with Thederpyninja, but I would also add more images in the last step. Some of what you're saying seems confusing. Perhaps if I was actually making one it might make more sense, but a couple more pics of what you're describing might be nice.

Ok, I will hopefully have it changed within the week.

Thanks again for the reliable source of information.

No problem JM1999, and good luck!

Thanks!

JM1999 JM199910 days ago
Is this what you were thinking when you said to add how to make a waterbomb base? I think it is totally finished now thanks for the help!
nwalt3111 days ago

hey i worked really hard on this instructable and i was wondering what more i could do to make it featured?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Army-Of-Two-Paintball-Mask/

JM1999 nwalt319 days ago

You have a few grammar mistakes in there, for example in step 10 you have put; "back pack and I sowed it" it should be sewed.

I also wouldn't want fiberglass on my face or even near it like you have shown, mabye put another layer there.

Nice job though, I like it!

nwalt31 JM19999 days ago

thank you so much for the advice

JM1999 nwalt318 days ago

It got featured!

Nice job, I still haven't mastered the "fix up and feature" process as you can tell by my origami octahedron.

Did you get the 3 month PRO membership for getting featured?

JM1999 nwalt319 days ago

That is totally fine!

I hope the information has helped you and I hope to see it featured soon!

(removed by author or community request)

That looks like a very nice 'ible, I think it is feature worthy but unfortunately I can't feature stuff :(

I voted for you too.

Thank you so much :)

That is totally fine !

M3G15 days ago
M3G M3G12 days ago

Any suggestions?

JM1999 M3G15 days ago

That looks really neat, I voted for you in all 3 contests.

If I had posted that I would have been wondering what I could do to make it better.

There aren't any other Instructables on the topic you have posted so that is even more puzzling.

I would just let it slide and focus on another Instructable in the hopes of getting it featured.

M3G JM199915 days ago

Thanks for the reply!

JM1999 M3G15 days ago

That's totally fine!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-your-own-Micromite-Companion-Minicomputer/

I'd love any constructive criticisms toward getting this featured.

Wow.. Nothing? I was told if I changed my images to originals, the Instructable would be featured (Was done immediately), but I can't bring any attention to it now. Help?

I have never found diagram insturctions very interesting, look at my profile, your 1 instructable is more than any 1 of my non-featured instructables.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-PiCade-B...

Howdy Y'all Any suggestions on how to improve my write up would be appreciated. I am getting a lot of views and want to ensure that it is the best it can be. My writing is my weak side.

Thank you

Carl

Looks like you're already doing a decent job since it got featured. One potential area for improvement - the lighting is a little harsh in some of your photos. Not sure if it's from a camera flash, or a nearby bright light aimed directly at what you were working on, but there's a lot of glare on some of the parts. Don't get me wrong - the photos certainly aren't bad, they're in focus and were good enough to get you featured. It might still be worth looking into some of the "how to take good photos" Instructables to make them even better:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Take-Great-...

As for writing - I didn't have time to read the whole thing, but it couldn't hurt to go through and proofread. Here are a couple random examples:

- Step 7, second paragraph: "It is maid with a strip of Tyvek" should be "made" not "maid"

- Bottom of the Introduction: "If you drill into your leg (, table, hand, arm, etc...)" shouldn't have a comma right after the opening parenthesis

- Beginning of step 1: "I used a 19” 4:3 planar monitor specifically because about 10 years ago the company i work for bought several hundred", the lowercase "i" after "company" should be capitalized

You get the idea.

Ben, Thank you for the constructive criticism. I will revisit my directions to ensure that it is properly formatted.
Nikus1 month ago

Hi!

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

http://www.instructables.com/id/RC-FPV-tank/

Ben Finio Nikus18 days ago

Looks like you got featured, nice job! Sometimes it just takes the staff a few days to notice and feature something, so don't panic if a project doesn't get featured right away.

Hi friends! I have made this 'ibles. Tried to write and gather materials clearly. Basically it was fr the Hunter-Gatherer Contest. Can you suggest what else is lacking. This was my dream project but did not get featured. I would like your feedback. Thank you!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Tropical-Fruit-Ver...

I've just sent you a PM : )

Thank you so much for the suggestions you had given and for the help in the editing part. It got featured now after editing. :) It is so kind of you to help me out.
Passion

Thank you so much :)

benet06711 month ago

Is it possible to change the license for my instructable, after i have published it?

Yes it is, you have to go to the edit section an you should see it there.

What do you guys think of this i'ble? I have worked hard on making the tutorial clean and presentable, but it wasn't featured. I believe many members would enjoy this project. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate any help, tips, or comments.

Thanks for your help,

-KTC

http://www.instructables.com/id/4x4x4-LED-Cube-Arduino-Uno/

Looks like it got featured now. Nice job!

Yes, it did! Thanks!

nodcah3 months ago

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

Thanks in advance!

-Nodcah =D

Teisha nodcah1 month ago

Nice job getting featured and winning the sensors contest!

nwalt312 months ago

Hello I spent a lot of time on this build and would really like to see it finally get featured, can someone help me out? Here is the link. http://m.instructables.com/id/Creating-Costume-Armor-With-Pepakura/

Teisha nwalt311 month ago

Looks like it's been featured now. Nice job!

yoda3331 month ago

Hello instructables,

I recently entered the lego contest with my arduino controled automated lighthouse. I worked really hard on this one hoping to get it featured. However it was not featured, I believe many members would enjoy my project. Does anyone have any suggestions on getting featured? I would greatly appreciate any help, tips, or comments.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Controlled...

Ben has given some great advice, but I also noticed that 5 of the finalists in the LEGO contest were not featured. That seems very unusual to me. It is possible that there aren't a lot of authors that are confident in what makes a good LEGO ible or the ones that do know are more picky than in other categories because I thought your ible looked pretty good. I'm definitely not an expert in LEGO or arduino though.

You're right that is weird, thanks for pointing it out! We've had some changes over in staff recently and it looks like legos were part of what slipped through doing this time. We are taking actions to fix this, and to make sure it won't happen again.

To be honest I'm kind of surprised this didn't get featured. I'm not very familiar with reviewing LEGO projects, but it looks like it has everything you'd want in a good Arduino project: pictures with clear backgrounds, a parts list, nice circuit diagrams made with Fritzing, downloadable code. Even though you didn't provide literal LEGO-instruction-manual style build instructions, I don't think anyone really does that.

That being said, here are some suggestions I think could help make it better:

- The blue-green text on the cover image is a little hard to read. I'd make sure the text stands out clearly from the lighthouse and the background.

- The cover image also seems a little grainier and lower-resolution than your other photos. You want the cover photo to be your prettiest, shiniest one.

- Part numbers, or even better, links to the exact parts you used for your materials list can make it more newbie-friendly (since there are a bazillion kinds of transistors, diodes etc. with different specs that beginners won't understand)

- It doesn't look like the LED is on in any of the photos. I'd definitely take some shots of that, including some in low light so the LED really stands out.

- Along those lines, a video or at least a GIF of the whole thing in action with the motor spinning would be good.

Those last two points MIGHT be why it didn't get featured - technically there is nothing in the Instructable proving that it "works." That's just a guess on my part though.

Thank you for your advice. I greatly appreciate your prompt help. I will definitely be using your input to improve my ible when I get free time. I did attach a video though. It is in the last section of my instructable.

Ah - I didn't notice the video since it was attached all the way at the bottom of the last step. I'd recommend uploading the video to YouTube or Vimeo and embedding it on the first step, so it's much more prominent. People are way more likely to watch it that way since they don't have to download and open an attachment.

JM1999 yoda3331 month ago

That looks cool.

JM19991 month ago
makendo JM19991 month ago

I suspect you already know your photos aren't really up to feature-standard. However, you can get great results even from a cheap camera - get a big piece of white card and curve it up against a wall outside (but not in direct sunlight). Place your project on there for your photos. And check out Ben Finio's comments below - he has lots of good feedback on similar projects to yours.

JM1999 makendo1 month ago

I don't have the money (or the allowance) for a camera at this point in time, I only have my dads HTC desire smartphone and I don't even have a piece of card to use.

So, I am just lacking in photos? If so would it be possible that if I added better photos it could still get featured or is it too late?

Thanks for replying.

Jayefuu (author)  JM19991 month ago

It's never too late! I had one Instructable featured two years after I wrote it.

makendo Jayefuu1 month ago

Jayefuu is right, but I'd recommend you just treat the older ones as good practice and put your efforts into making your new projects better.

And your smartphone camera probably has more MP than the cheap 2001 3 MP point-and-shoot I used for most of my early instructables - the main thing is to get the lighting right. Jessyratfink recently published a good instructable on how to get the most out of your smartphone camera.

JM1999 makendo1 month ago

Yeah, the smartphone is 8mp but it is getting old (4 years old) and the camera lens is getting stuff on it that I can't clean off, I will definitely take your advice though thanks.

nevets_mcd1 month ago

I've had decent luck at getting my Instructables featured before in the past , but my latest one doesn't seem to be getting any views. It was created for the Toy Building blocks contest. As Lego building is my number one hobby it is disappointing that no one is looking at what I think is one of the best projects I've done in my lifetime. Is creating giant Lego displays really not interesting to others? What am i missing?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Large-Collaborative-Lego-Displays/

I think your biggest hurdle to getting hits in this case is having a really great image that makes people want to click. The cover image for that ible is a bit hard to read. It was likely really impressive in person, but a closer image that makes someone curious might be better.

wilgubeast2 months ago

This is now in the homepage community menu.

Great! Much easier to find now.

I just saw that, and the other changes. Good call.

Hello, could you please go through and review my instructable? I'd appreciate it if you could give me some tips on making my instructable worthy of being featured.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Aergia-The-Android-controlled-TV-Remote/

So, this looks like it has everything that a tech Instructable would normally need to get featured - good photos with white backgrounds, a complete parts list, circuit diagrams, code, etc - very thorough and well done. It looks like there's one big problem though - the title is "Voice controlled TV remote", but unless I'm really missing something, it isn't actually voice controlled. The final step of your project says "You can now use the app and 'Aergia'. Click on any button in the app
and your TV will respond to it just like it would after
receiving a signal from the Remote Control." but there's never anything about voice commands.

I'm not sure if that was just a mistake on your part when you created the title, or if you were planning on adding voice commands later, but published the Instructable early? Either way, making sure the title matches the project is important.

Finally, there are some typos - not bad enough to make it unreadable, but it couldn't hurt to proofread. For example in the first step, there's a "your" that should be "you're", you alternate whether or not Android is capitalized, and "bear" should be "bare". I don't think minor typos like that will prevent a project from being featured, but it still can't hurt to fix them.

Thank you for reviewing my instructable. I have just updated it with info about the voice recognition feature. I am now working on a video to showcase this feature.

Ok - I'm not sure if you published it prematurely so you could make the deadline for the Battery Contest, but FYI that can be a little risky and/or frowned upon. In general it's best to make sure the major content of an Instructable is complete before publishing - then you can go back and make minor fixes to things like grammar or slightly better pictures, etc. From this contest FAQ:

Can I edit my Instructable after it's entered in a contest?



Short answer: YES!



Long answer:

You can make any modifications you want to an Instructable that's
already entered! We get so many entries that there's absolutely no way
we'd be able to police it even if we wanted to - but it's never
something we want to discourage.



Improvement is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned. :)



However, I must caution you: it's best to get those changes done before
voting closes. The voting period matters the most because that's the
time that we start looking into picking finalists.



Another slightly related caveat: don't publish a mostly empty
instructable and try to fill it after the contest ends. We're starting
to see this happen more often, always with a promise that updates are
coming. You can never tell when we'll be reviewing it as a possible
finalist, so chances are you'll get overlooked going about it that way.
We are currently looking at 50-300 entries per contest, so anything
incomplete doesn't stand a chance these days!

Thanks a lot Ben for your insightful review. Your comments have been very useful for me.

I just hope that my instructable can be a finalist in the Battery Contest as I have put in a lot of hours and efforts in my project.

Wow - featured AND a finalist in the battery contest. Looks like those improvements were worth it! Well done - I must say that I'm jealous, I really wanted that DSLR...good luck in the judging phase!

Hahaha, the clinic really helped me improve my instructable. Now I just can't wait for the decisions to be announced!

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