Introduction: How to Create an Instructable for Your Technical Writing Class!
So you've been given an assignment to create an instructable on something that you know how to do, and will be simple to teach to another person. Don't worry! Instructables can seem daunting to begin with, but following these steps, you'll come to find that they're really fun to make!
- A positive attitude
- A pen and paper
- A computer with internet access
- A valid email address
- (Optional) Your partner!
Step 1: Think of an Idea!
The best part about an instructable is that it's only limited by your creativity! Go ahead and brainstorm some fun things you know how to do that you feel like you could teach someone else to do. This can be something you make, like arts and crafts, a recipe, or it can be something you do, like changing a tire, or crocheting a dishcloth. Write down all of your ideas so you can share them with your partner later, or you can even brainstorm with your partner.
Step 2: Discuss This Idea With Your Partner
Once you feel like you've settled on an idea, talk to your partner about it. Ask them if they have the supplies necessary if they'll need supplies, as well as if they feel comfortable doing the task you want to create an instructable for. Building a little rapport and hearing their concerns about the project will help you in creating an instructable that effectively communicates your thoughts to them.
Step 3: Create an Empathy Map
Once you've settled on an idea and are free to pursue your instructable, start creating an empathy map. Empathy maps are effective communication tools that help you as the teacher empathize with your audience, which in this case will be your partner. Creating an empathy map helps you understand how your partner feels about the project, what they may be anxious about, what they're excited about, what they hope to get out of the experience, etc. The whole point of this empathy map is to allow you to put yourself into their shoes when writing your instructable. This is one of the most fun steps, because you can just talk and get to know your partner, so have fun with it!
Step 4: Visit the Instructables Website
Now you're ready to get started creating your instructable. Start by heading to www.instructables.com
Step 5: Create an Instructables Account (and Confirm Your Email)
To publish instructables, you'll need to create an account on instructables.com. Click on the "Sign Up" button found in the top right of the website. It will ask you to create a username and password, enter your email, your date of birth, your country of origin, and a little about yourself (whether you're a student, teacher, hobbyist, etc.). Once you've entered all of your information, you'll need to confirm your email address before creating your first instructable. To do this, sign in to the email you entered when signing up, and follow the directions in the email from instructables.
Step 6: Create an Instructable
Once you've confirmed your email address, you'll be able to go to the "Publish" page, and create a new instructable! This will ask you first to add a title to your instructable. Once you've added something descriptive as your title, you can click "Start Instructable"
Step 7: (Optional) Add Media to Your Instructable
If you've already taken all of the pictures and videos you'll be using for your instructable, you can upload them right at the start. This can be done by clicking "Add Images from Library" or "Browse". In case you have the images you want to use already selected, you can simply drag and drop them into this box! If you haven't taken any of your pictures or video yet, don't worry! You can easily add media later on in the instructables creation process.
Step 8: Create Steps in Your Instructable
All of the preliminary steps are out of the way now, you can get into writing the steps for your instructable. Be sure to think through each step that your process will need before you start, as this will eliminate headaches further along if you forget a step. It's easier to write many smaller steps than to write a few very complicated steps, so try and break down the process as much as you can! Once you're done creating a step. you can add a new step by clicking the "Add" drop-down box, and selecting "Step"
Step 9: Preview Your Instructable to Make Sure Everything Looks Nice
After creating a few steps, you can preview what your instructable will look like on the website once it's finished by clicking on the "Full Preview" button. If you notice something doesn't look quite right, it's simple to go back to the correct step and fix it while still in the initial editing phase!
Step 10: Add Final Touches and Ensure You Meet All Criteria for Your Assignment
This is one of the easier steps, as it's going back over what you've written, and making small grammar and spelling corrections, as well as sprucing up your steps to read a little better. If you notice that you've put some steps in the wrong order, you can click on the "View all" button, and rearrange your steps by clicking and dragging on the three horizontal lines on the step cards. Try reading your steps out loud to see if they sound natural. As well, take this time to go over what your assignment is asking for, just to ensure you're meeting all of the set criteria!
Step 11: Publish Your Instructable
You're almost done! You've created all of your steps, and you're ready to share your instructable with the world! (And your partner). To publish your instructable, you'll need to click on the orange "Publish" button. This will then take you to a page where you can select your cover photo, change the title, select which categories it will be posted under, and you can even add tags!
Step 12: Share Your Instructable With Your Partner
Now that your instructable is published, other people can see it. To share your instructable with your partner, you can copy the link directly from the address bar, or you can click on the share option and select one of the options they recommend. Once you send them the link, all that's left to do is wait for them to follow your steps! (You'll also have to follow the steps they've written for you)