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Post what features, functions or changes you would like to see when using Instructables.com Answered

The recent upgrades to this website caused some confusion as well frustration for those who though long requested features would be included.
It seems that neither our code monkeys, nor those suggestiong changes and improvements are aware of the many requests and suggestions we made over the years.

So let's help them out by posting what we think is bad, needs improvement or simply what we need to properly make use of this great website.
Maybe within the next 3 to 10 years some might get implemented ;)

I go first, shall I?

1. Design
The recent changes seemed to be solely target on people with little skills and using tablets / mobile phones.
As common practise in standard forums all over the web the user should have the option to change a different layout based on the device he uses.
Preferably with an automatic detection that can be overruled in the settings on the YOU pages.
Someone on a small tablet will certainly welcome huge fonts and massive buttons.
Maybe even the many "hidden" functions that only appear when scrolling or doing other weird things.
But if you are like me and use a proper PC on a 4K screen this layout is not really usable at all.
Nothing fits, nothing can be made to fit - all is fixed and pre-defined.
If you really try to improve the user experience than don't block those out who started all this and still use a PC for most of their online needs!
Adding different layouts is not really a hard thing unless you insist on custom made software to run all this here - than it takes efford to show you care about basic desing features!

2. Forums and questions
Up until recently we had different sections for our forum topics.
By far not enough but at least for most things there was a right place.
Now it all one big mix of everything and still no proper sorting is possible.
Topics/Questions that are a few days old wander down the list to be never seen again unless you love to scroll or follow only your Email notifications.
Worst of all we now can't even see who made the last reply.
The sorting inside is much better but still we lack custom sorting options or at least highlighting post/replies made after the last check of the topic.
Not userfriendly at all, just much more complicated to find what you need - unless of course it was only done to get more topics and questions without caring what happens to them.

3. Embedding
Adding Links to other website is mostly fine but when it comes to pictures or videos I feel reverted back into the 90's.
Everything must be done the way the developers here think is best.
You want to explain something in detail with a lot of pics within your text to make it easy to follow and understand?
Good luck as it will only work if you are fluent in basic HTML.
A different font to really highlight something or even colored text? No way....
Prefer to host your images offsite at a proper hoster?
Again hope you know your HTML and that your hoster offers direct image links that are permanent...
Time has moved on and user might not like to be treated as child and being constraint in the worst possible way.
If someone want an image within the text then let him do so by drag and drop, better even to allow the text to flow around the image - really nice to explain an image with text on the side instead of at the top or bottom ;)
The library is quite nice - if you like obscured filenames and no chance of sorting images by Instructables/topics/questions.
Just the easiest way for the programming: by date with autogenerated filenames - back to the future ROFL

4. Editing
Made a spelling mistake in a reply or topic/question? Bad luck...
Need to add some vital info to something you just posted? Why would you want to do that?
Want to simply paste something you wrote up in Notepadd++ or some other editor? Great, if you like it all messed up...
Even expecting to have editing options while writing is downgraded to less than what you Email client would allow for a funny bday greeting....
Again: We are no longer in the 90's!
You want users to be active and enjoy this website than give than what they started asking for many years ago!

5. Sorting
As mentioned before we need proper sorting options for replies, questions, topics...
What is the point of having an active topic that runs down to page 4 or 5 of the list?
Where is the most basic info in this list? Like who did last action, when did it happen?
Why is it still impossible to quickly see the last replies/postings?
With sometimes over 30 postings and even more replies it is next to impossible to find the stuff.
If sorting options are above paygrade then at least iclude highlighting everything done after the last visit of this topic/question.
And while at it, please give us back the forum sections and add some more ;)

6. Feedback
As said too many times: The developers/code monkeys need to find a way to communicated with each other and the users here!
Can't even count how many times I heard things like:
"We are working on it", "I will forward this to the developers", "We might include this in a future upgrade"....
Seriously: What is the point of having (had) a bugs and feedback section if everyone now claims this all totally new and that nothing was ignored?
Again to me it looks like "Let's do some majoy changes as my kid struggles to use this website on the tablet, while at it let's also hide some features and functions without announcing any changes we make!"
It is confusing to say the least and I fail to understand why this website should be only optimised for people who can barely use a mobile device.
Some of the users here might actually want to be able to have modern features that do beyong big buttons and oversized text.

7. Featuring and contests
When I started here a featured Instructable was something that was standing out from the rest.
Only in a few cases external links or certain providers of parts where present.
Now even totally incomplete and impossible to follow Ibles find a way to get featured.
Same for stuff that was done (better) at least 20 times before.
Some spelling mistakes might be fine but if I struggle to understand what the user was writing I wonder how whoever featured it figured it all out.
It often seems all that counts is a catchy header and some nice pics on the first two or three steps is enough :(
But lately far too many "Instructables" are popping that not only get featured almost instantly but also only exist to advertise for a product or service - usually even indicated by the "username" behind it and the "homepage" linking to shop...
Desperate much for money and not even honest enough to clearly indicate the advertisements or to push them into an advertising section?
Similar story for contests :(
Every now and then I get an invitaton to help judging a contest.
Considering I only get to see the runners for the finals I often wonder how they got there.
Some entries that (at least in my opinion) really stand out are not even in the list, instead I get some crappy ones with little efford for the workmanship or presentation - just a catching title and some nice pics.
And when going for counters I see another problem:
Some of the entries get featured and of course attract much more attention this way.
I think it would be only fair to leave all contest entries untouched until a contest is over.
It is hard enough to understand how the selection of winners made it into my ballot but copies, bad stuff and so on should not make it.
And the fair go with featuring would mean the hits for an entry are not faked by being featured - feature it when the contest is over1 ;)


And no, I don't try to insult or offend anyone here, just being honest and direct.
Angry? Sure.
Disappointed? Of course.
Why? Because it could have been all soooo much better if someone would have cared to listen....

18 Replies

user
makendo (author)2018-01-31

My inability to reply to "tips" is bugging me. Some clown has added a tip that makes it look like I didn't do something that I actually did. And someone else gave a tip that I found pretty interesting and would like to reply to. I understand the desire to provide retrospective support to abandoned instructables, but for the minority of us that try really hard to maintain them it feels kind of odd. They've given random people the right to pin a comment in a prominent position and have it go unquestioned forever. Yuck.

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user

I found a reply button for tips but no report button.

I've already had some spam posted via "tips."

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user
makendo (author)2018-01-31

I try to include hyperlinks to other projects (nearly all mine, admittedly!) and I think that is a practice that should be encouraged, not least from a traffic-to-instructables-rather-than-elsewhere basis. Maybe internal hyperlinks could be highlighted? E.g. maybe make them a different color, make a preview activate on hovering, or mark them with a robot icon (like the way pdfs are often indicated).

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iceng (author)iceng2018-01-28
user
Downunder35m (author)2018-01-28

Are we now already using censorship or should we call it dictatorship?
Unwanted comments are deleted so other users can't see the problems we face!?
Too scared that if people find out noone here listens to complaints and feedback that you loose user?

If you act like little kids and think deleting all unwanted comments is the right way then this site won't see too much action in the future.
Some guys keeping the ansers section filled with good replies are already going or considering to leave.
Seriously, what are you guys doing here?

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seandogue (author)2018-01-28
I'd like the ability to edit my posts. Even with a time limitation for edits it'd be preferable to having to delete and re-post when I find I've inserted a typo or ten, or I've had a temporary cognitive disconnect and posted the opposite of what I intended to post.

Some limited ability to directly add

emphasizers

would be nice, using a menu paradigm (rather than forced right click behavior). I see the newest site iteration has done away with the forced rightlcik bold/italic/etc thing, which I am glad for (for instance if one wants to

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seandogue (author)seandogue2018-01-28

edit or having to resort to what I did above using a p tag and inline css...

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user
seandogue (author)seandogue2018-01-28

edit: And apparently, now I can't delete my posts anymore either, which is extraordinarily annoying and very Googlesquely big-brotherish...

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Downunder35m (author)seandogue2018-01-28

We don't need features, we don't need functions, we only need to do as told and do it the only way allowed ;)
Keep in mind that it all to make things easier but all that is missing are uniforms now to be all equal and obedient ;)

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iceng (author)2018-01-28

After posting that "this site format is replacing good looks for user education"
My comment disappeared, as my good will, if it does not reappear...

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steveastrouk (author)2018-01-28

You have more patience than I have. I'm giving up.

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user

That single reply of yours sould tell the developers more than they need :(

Did some more digging and asking around with my old friends from the forum.
Took them only a few minutes here to come with a very solid reason why we got all this dumped on us.
To put it short and simple: Server speed, database speed and size and ease of maintenance.
Funny sidenote from them: If we would want to close our forum quickly we would do the same to scare the users off ROFL

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magkopian (author)2018-01-28

I completely agree, the new layout is just horrible and completely unusable on the desktop. And I'm pretty sure that the majority of the users who actually create content are doing it on a desktop computer. Everything looks so huge and out of place. Now I even have a hard time reading my own instructables, let alone something that someone else wrote. I honestly have no problem with a responsive layout, but only as long as it is done properly and it is usable on the desktop.

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magkopian (author)magkopian2018-01-28

And again I'm not trying to offend anybody and I'm really sorry if I made someone feel that way, this is just my honest opinion about the new layout. Currently the images are just appearing too big on a standard desktop monitor and as a result I can't read the text while looking at the picture the same time. Instead, what I have to do is contentiously scroll up an down. The images don't have to be that big by default, if I want to see something better I can simply click on it. The font is also very large and I have to scroll quite a bit just to read a single paragraph which is rather annoying.

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steveastrouk (author)magkopian2018-01-28

You are their customer and source of revenue. Its for them to listen to you.

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random_builder (author)2018-01-28

Yes, I too have been disappointed by the new changes recently. The way the new instructables are looks more finished, but it would be a mess to actually make what is in the ible cause you have to scroll (and scroll...and scroll..) to get the next part of the instructions.
And the comments are set up weird. It is harder to see what others posted, and harder to post a comment yourself. Also the no deleting/editing is very very annoying.
The featuring I have noticed too. It used to be fairly hard to get a featured ible, now almost anything passes. My most recent ible shouldn't be featured, and even I think so. (cause my setup for taking pictures isn't that great) There are some ibles that should be featured and aren't (https://www.instructables.com/id/Excalibur-the-Dual-Shot-Four-Ranged-Cannon/) and many that are featured and shouldn't be.
The 'forums' are a wreck right now, they are just piled on top of each other and it is hard to find anything in it.

I am grateful to the ibles staff for trying to make our experience better, but I think their updates should add more what the users want, than just stuff that nobody really cares about.

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lingib (author)2018-01-27

Some nice to have features:

(1) Add "Edit" and/or "Delete" buttons for all comments ... at the very least a "Delete" button so that you can re-post the comment.

(2) A sidebar, or button, with "Other Instructables by this Author" ... or simply place all/some of the other instructables by the author in the list of "recommendations" preceding the comments.

(3) Full-width images and a narrow column of text is ugly.

The column width and image width should be the same when viewed on your PC allowing users to adjust the page width using CTRL-Scroll-wheel.

The following book, "Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3", Beb Frain, ISBN 978-1-8-4969-318-9, has some good ideas that would solve a lot of the issues with smaller screens.

(4)Anchor the floating "Author [ Edit Instructable] " pop-up to the top of the screen and make it a pull-down menu ... it gets in the way of text even when it's closed.

(5) I'm not certain that I agree with a "Tips/Comment" section at EVERY step ... no problem with them at the end of the instructable. Having a tip near the section makes sense BUT too many comments in each step could interrupt the flow of the article ... better to collate all of the tips, questions, answers, and comments at the end.


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