Year-to-Data, March 2014

tl;dr: Check out this pie chart that shows the distribution of projects published in 2014 by category. The outer ring shows the channel within the category that had the highest volume of entries, along with the year to date project count.

Pie Chart

Do you ever wonder how the projects on Instructables are distributed across categories? I did, too. In a tenuous-at-best connection to the Pi Day Pie Contest, we made a pie chart showing where all the newly-published projects have been categorized since the start of 2014. That outside ring shows the most popular channels within the category, along with a project count for each.

Some quick observations:

(1) There isn’t as much food as I would have thought. It seems like people are posting food ALL THE TIME, but apparently the overall project volume is coming in via other channels. I guess we’re just getting a lot of good food entries that are being featured more often. The quality of authors’ food photography is getting very good, and the featuring team may be featuring projects under the influence of hunger.

(2) Contests drive some (but not all) project builds. Since the start of the year, we’ve run paracord, organization, electronics, and crafting contests. And, wouldn’t you know it, those are the channels receiving the bulk of new projects. Even without a special contest, the Toys channel received an outsized number of projects, so we’ll see what happens later this year when we run a few contests around toys. (Pro-tip: Start stockpiling LEGO and KNEX pieces.)

(3) Technology and Living make up just over half of the site’s new content. Sure, the robot has a strong preference for electronics projects, but we’re seeing a lot of great craft projects coming in as well. Either way, an army of hot-tool wielding* makers are creating some really cool stuff.

(4) This community may be a little paranoid, but we’re prepared. Paracord and survival projects account for almost all of the outdoor projects we’ve seen so far this year. If I’m stuck in a rural farmhouse surrounded by zombies, I want some of you all right there with me. If you’re worried about the imminent collapse of civilization and are concerned that Instructables won't be around to help with the power out, you can buy a book of some of our best homesteading projects. You’ll be sitting pretty with a chicken coop and some rain barrels while everyone else gets punched over a can of soup. (Don't get punched over a can of soup.)

(5) Did you notice anything interesting? Sound off in the comments. I've got some 3 month pro memberships to give away to insightful commenters. :D

*or hot, tool-wielding authors.

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mh76dk2 years ago

This is a really nice breakdown. I am not sure there is much to say on the numbers (i had not given it any thought till now, to be honest).

It is nice to know that you can in some way steer the site by carefully planning contests. something that could be used to increase interrest in (or at the very least, more exposure of) less popular crafts. Things like LEGO and Knex will never really lack users/exposure but there are many skills or crafts most of us have never heard of, i love seeing those "obscure" posts. I hope instructables will try to steer the community into more varied areas (because despite loving bacon, there is not all that much in it to see the 10th "how to cook bacon" ible. - though i did enjoy the one recently about water/oven cooking bacon - "scientifically")

I dont want any pro membership in case some looney at instructibles actually consider this insightfull :-)

wilgubeast (author)  mh76dk2 years ago

This loony is hooking you up regardless. Enjoy.

I assume I can pass the code on? because i do not use the PRO features. (and if so, can I just private message the code i got to another user and it will work?)
wilgubeast (author)  mh76dk2 years ago

Absolutely. That code will tack a 3-month pro membership onto the account of the person who redeems it.

And is there an expiry date?

wilgubeast (author)  mh76dk2 years ago

Nope. Use it whenever.

Kiteman2 years ago

("hot, tool-wielding authors"? Are there plans for a 2015 calendar??)

wilgubeast (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

There weren't any until just now. Got any high-res photos of you making something and looking hot? We've got a few months to make this happen for 2015...

Does being on fire count?

wilgubeast (author)  thematthatter2 years ago

I was leaning more towards that so-sweaty-it-ruins-sandpaper kind of hot. Soldering indoors without AC in the Sahara hot. Fire definitely counts, though I'd prefer that no authors immolate themselves for a goofy vaporware calendar.

Ever seen "Calendar Girls"?

I just happen to have this new apron...

Are you sure not "The Full Monty"?

I'd much rather the former...

jwbasham2 years ago

Well, according to the chart people simply don't have outdoor projects anymore. That is a shame because that could include gardening etc, of course, it could also be the fact that 2014 has had such a rough Winter so far. Maybe when the spring and summer come on, the number of those projects will change.

wilgubeast (author)  jwbasham2 years ago

I think it's a winter problem. This summer should feature two reasonably large and outdoorsy contests, and the numbers ought to bounce back.

I don't know, even the winter could feature an outdoorsy project. There's always survival, camping, hiking, hunting, etc, that could be done in the wintertime that would be good for DIY. I know growing up camping was always a fun family activity, and learning how to setup our own camp ground, start the fire, and do camp fire cooking was pretty fun. Plus canning, and preparing various types of jerky were always big during the winter time. So even with the rough winter, outdoor projects could still be big, you just simply have to choose what types of projects to choose from.

wilgubeast (author)  jwbasham2 years ago

If you can help us configure a theme that captures that type of content, jump onto the contest-suggestion thread and let us know.


Snow was kind of a miss this year (88 entries, 300K total views for all projects), but we'll try again next winter.

I'd be willing to bet that none of the snow entries came from the UK...

Does it make a difference if they did or not? The same issues effect all people and all people will have to go through the same issues at some time in their lives. It never hurts to have a fun forum such as this to get ideas to help them through.

You misunderstand - we've had no snow this winter, just an awful lot of rain.

Actually I live in California, so we have had very little of anything, in fact we are in a state of drought right now. How the irony keeps going.

Alright, I put a post with several ideas on there... I hope it gives some ideas.

Kiteman2 years ago

I also thought we had more food projects than that. Maybe that's because the members I have most direct contact with tend to post food & drink, and talk about posting food and drink.

At the Pier, the projects most likely to be shared with the whole office are (I would assume) out of the test kitchen, so that might be why recipes loomed large in your view.

mh76dk Kiteman2 years ago

How much of the food is spam though... (a number missing from the pie chart, but I guess it could be added ontop by pouring melted cheese on the pie? :)

In my more active periods (and i doubt im one of the most active around here) I will mark on guestimated average 5 or so posts as spam/day. and thats just what i catch in an RSS feed.

(This counts as my non-religious themed joke and i am now free! FREE!!!)

Kiteman2 years ago

How automated was this?

The pie chart is nice for a summary of a year, but if a "live" time-based analysis was also available, it could help folk spot trends, maybe match trends in views on site to off-site events, memes etc. That would need something like this Googled-and-scribbled-on example:

wilgubeast (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

Someone thought that perhaps there were too few Technology projects being posted, so I did a quick and dirty survey to see what's been published this year. Decidedly not-automated.

It might be worth automating, or somehow making the raw data available for members to analyse for themselves.

In another strand of curiosity, I wonder how the entries break down by demographics and geography? Are most birding projects posted by middle-aged Brits, jewellery by Dutch teens?

I would have thought to use this chart...


Those dang creationists, always trying to make something out of nothing!


The I made it button has defenitly made a difference, especially with I made it label. It seems to me like that button has motivated people to show off their work :), which is very nice.

wilgubeast (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya2 years ago

Agreed. I'll try to run some "I made it" numbers later this year to see what people are re-making.

That would be awesome :), something like Achievement's tab in the profile, showing how many people tried my projects:)

mikeasaurus2 years ago



Very nice breakdown ...this is one of my favorite sites for Arduino project s. Many of the other headings do capture my interest as well , so I do like to look through the projects. Even if I don't post a comment I do appreciate all the time and effort all authors put into making this such an amazing site !

Thanks to you all and keep up the great work! Funny , for some reason I have a craving for pie just now ?!?


Agreed. Food definitely seems to pops up more often than shown in the figure.