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May 2019 site changes: my observations and thoughts Answered

In early May 2019, Instructables' website has been radically reworked with a revamp.

Changes I have observed include:

Navigation:

  • Many categories and subcategories have been eliminated and instead reworked under other folders as part of the changes (there is no "Play" category and subcategories such as "NERF" and "Paper Airplanes" no longer exist)
  • "Recent" filtering is not directly available to people browsing the site--you must sift through the categories and get through at least two pages to find a way to filter the selected category for "recent" (i.e. Homepage -> Circuits -> Projects -> (Page at which you may select "recent"))
  • There are no filters for searches
  • On the front page and in the categories' main pages, featured projects are emphasized

The Forum/"Community":

  • Without manually typing in the URL, there is no direct way to access the "community" page
  • Buttons to access the forum among in the category pages are tied to the community pages for that category (as a result. They do not allow you to see the general forum posts of the community without viewers manually deleting the category from the URL and going from there

The way people navigate about sites controls what they can see and how they see if, so all of these things will change the flow and behavior of Instructables' viewers versus how it was before.

Versus before, it is more cumbersome for viewers to get to recent content while featured content is more readily available. This will influence where people go and what they see.

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

What do I believe this means for the future?

Drawing on my decade of experience on this site, I suspect viewership of non-featured Instructables will drop. Thus, the viewership gap--between those projects that have been featured and those that have not--will then widen.

Of these changes I think people will say you either "get featured or get buried."

Discussions

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bekathwia

2 months ago

Hi, thanks for your honest feedback. You can see a view of all recent projects in your feed, just make sure you're subscribed to the channels and authors you're interested in: https://www.instructables.com/feed/ Once there, you can also select the "Editor's Picks" option to see recently featured projects across all categories. We will be keeping a close eye on how these changes affect the community and tweaking the new design as appropriate. During this process we always consider member suggestions.

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Guydonbekathwia

Reply 2 months ago

So I have to individually subscribe to 150 channels in order to see "all" recent posts?

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jeromekGuydon

Reply 2 months ago

and if Instructables creates a new channel, you never see this new projects

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OrngrimmGuydon

Reply 2 months ago

It will be neir impossible to discover new autors without sifting thru all the channels individually via "Featured" and change to "recent" in that one channel. Nobody will do that more than 3 days... Ad ergo: New autors are doomed to be non-discovered by the readers if they arent featured. And featuring needs experience one will not get by being buried in the not viewed channels without featuring.

So
- featuring needs experience / high Q ibles
- Experience comes with many ibles and good feedback from users
- many ibles and thus feedback needs motivation
- Motivation comes from being noticed
- Thus: No featuring --> no views --> no feedback --> not many ibles --> Dimishing autors --> decline of broad content --> only already well established autors will continue as they get to be noticed via featuring or already being followed.

Instructables was once a great page where one was able to post a single ible and people saw it. People could find weird and cool, strange and interesting topics simply because we were able to browse the shole stream and not only those we already follow or are already interested in a topic.
Heck, i even once made soap because i saw a funny written ible on here. Never did anything like this in my life! I would have seen and done it without /recent.

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OrigamiAirEnforcerOrngrimm

Reply 2 months ago

Sadly, I think you’re painting a bleak but accurate forecast of things to come if problems are not addressed.

The fate of the common maker here probably hinges on what happens from here on.

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VajkFGuydon

Reply 2 months ago

Are you serious?

If I only see channels and authors that I am subscribed to, how do I discover new channels and authors???

This approach is not really thought thru.
One of the major values of the site is that it is not like facebook. I understand you can bring in more users if you convert it to be more like facebook, but then you loose a good portion of the current ones.

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OrngrimmGuydon

Reply 2 months ago

205 channels to be correct... <sigh>
But yes. Thats the only (idiotic) way...

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OrigamiAirEnforcerbekathwia

Reply 2 months ago

How are we supposed to do this with new authors? people who have never posted before?

We cannot subscribe to those we've never run across and these changes make it vastly more difficult to find such newcomers.

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AndrewHoover

7 weeks ago

"get featured or get buried."
I was saying this exact statement the other day. I'm not fond of the changes either.

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Though they just released a "fix" the other day in the form of a recent feed, I am skeptical of its effectiveness. The recent feed they have put forward only works for logged in users--it is not accessible to random viewers (who may be fresh in from some Google search) to find all recent projects in one place, as was once possible.

I have inquired about what the plan is to address that shortcoming, but I have not received a reply yet.

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NTT

2 months ago

Here here!
I couldn't agree more.

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kamelkamelkamelNTT

Reply 2 months ago

I also have to agree. I always went straight to the recent.

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KushagraK7

2 months ago

Your last line is so true.

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russ_hensel

2 months ago

Who would be interested in a Python Program that scrapes the whole site and then builds a new page with all the post in order like the old "recent". If we put it together we could post how to do it on .......... instructables and some other site where people could actually find it ( think it would be featured ? ). It might really help push their page views up!!

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russ_henselruss_hensel

Reply 2 months ago

About half way done, a first version should be available in a day or two.

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Orngrimmruss_hensel

Reply 2 months ago

If you can write such a tool, maybe even on a website, count me in for paying!

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russ_henselOrngrimm

Reply 2 months ago

Working on it now. No payment will be necessary. Stay Tuned.

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M-ParksOrngrimm

Reply 2 months ago

I now use the old android app, now discontinued (thanks instructables) but because it is never updated I can still see the recent and featured pages. If someone can find the apk file then the app version might be a good starting point.

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sixsmithruss_hensel

Reply 2 months ago

It looks like Feedly still allows getting an RSS of recent Instructables.

I haven't followed recent instructables in a long time because of that massive spamming issue that occured a while ago.
I've just now reactivated it so I'll see if it keeps working, I used to love it!.

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spankthejester

2 months ago

I logged on to write almost the exact same thing.
The removal of the recent was annoying, because I don't want to have to follow and subscribe to 20328383 channels just to see the mix of everything I want to see.
The to try and get to the community?! That was insane. There isn't just a link to it, and just being there. I had to search and dig until I found this one.
It's not a good experience, is very clunky, and bad User Experience.

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MikBspankthejester

Reply 2 months ago

You're right, the community link used to be prominent somewhere on the site. Now it's as if they are embarrassed to have anywhere that users could feedback. I only got here via a Bing search after finding my bookmark to "all the recent good stuff" has been disabled ... we are no longer expected to find new items of interest. Well, that's worked well, as I can't. Oh well.

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VajkF

2 months ago

This redesign did take away the single most useful feature for regular visitors:

There is no way to simply check all new posts. I guess I am not alone checking every other day "what's new". Now I cannot.

We are people who do not need suggestions, we can decide what we are interested in and what not. Please give back the choice.

Vajk

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MikBVajkF

Reply 2 months ago

Absolutely, I check in once a week via the "recent" filter at https://www. instructables.com/ recent?type=id and skim down the 8-10 or so pages of new projects to see what catches my eye.

I am not going to go through each category, pick off each author, add it to my "feed" whatever that is, and then wonder which new things I'm missing because someone's added a new category/a new author has posted something interesting, which I know nothing about.

Sorry -- this is a pretty backward step, please bring back an obvious "recent" button, or a way to set my feed to "ALL OF IT" and I'll be using it again. Otherwise, unusable, and a long term subscriber lost. Very disappointed.

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Phil B

2 months ago

I have long felt editors’ choices for what Instructsbles are featured and what Instructables are not often have very little to do with the quality of the Instructable or how beneficial the key idea in the Instructable is for viewers, but instead pertains to some factor of “cool” that can be just silly. The new changes do not help that situation. Previously someone with a need could still find a helpful Instructable, even if it did not get featured.

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acheide

2 months ago

I have been a visitor to Instructables approximately 6000 times in the past 11.5 years. My channels of interest were - Technology, Workshop, Outside and Home. Every day I noticed between 10 - 30 new Instructables posted. I have followed bekathwia's advice and I have now seen less than five new posts in the last two days. It could well be that I don't understand the instructions. If so it may very well be that others may also misunderstand them.
I have enjoyed the many efforts put toward making this site what it has been and hope I can continue to do so.
When television first came on the scene, there was an abundance of quality content. As advertising became the driving force, the quality fell. I see that the same is happening to much of the internet. It seems to be the natural evolvement or devolvement of technological discoveries.
If this site continues to be difficult to navigate, I will by nature, find other pursuits. I must say though, that I can only appreciate the information I have gleaned from this site and the many posts from people proud of the projects they are contributing. I will continue to try learning the new setup, but if not successful, I will simply check back from time to time.
Remember the saying - "The optimist says, ""the glass is half full." The pessimist says, "The glass is half empty." I consider this addition to be important to me - "The realist says, "The glass is always full."
Abraham

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lingib

2 months ago

There should be a "RECENT" tab on the opening page.

Currently you have to drill down into a category before you you encounter a "recent" tab.

Visitors to this site are unlikely to drill down into each category which means that authors will get less views.

Even if you are not interested in a particular topic, ideas spawn ideas ... please add a RECENT tab to the front page.

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PaulT123

2 months ago

As much as I love a bit of creativity and like change this totally eliminates my use case. I want to see all the recent projects and set up my url bookmark to do this.
It seems that whoever has the job of curating the front page becomes the arbiter of my taste.
Also this redesign has made the site less usable on mobile.
Please show me the incredible range of projects and stay out of the way.

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acheidebekathwia

Reply 2 months ago

bekathwia This is the same response you have posted previously. The point being made by the posts is that this is not an adequate answer.
I have been involved in several website creation projects, several of which are very successful. The work that it takes to maintain the Instructables site is likely extensive and I applaud all those involved.
I noticed, and you may also have noticed that many of the posts on this page, are by regular site users. The recurring theme has to do with the lack of access to new posts as an option on a page that can be readily accessed, possibly by using a bookmark.
Having a "Featured" option is a nice touch, but for regular users it might not be high on the desired list. Having accessed this site on a twice daily basis for more than 10 years, I now find myself at a loss as to the purpose of my visit. The site has necessarily gone through some changes over the years, but this change is truly baffling.
I hope the users that have taken the time to post feedback about this change will be noticed.
Abraham

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Orngrimmbekathwia

Reply 2 months ago

Again: One cannot subscribe to an auto one doesnt already know. How you immagine new autors are discovered?
By subscribing to all 205 channels?

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M-Parks

2 months ago

I agree, I dislike the new site, it is annoying to navigate and I want to see all the recent\featured instructables without having to look in every category. People will be discouraged as their instructable gets few views and see being front page featured as the only way to get views, surely this defeats what instructables is about. sharing what you make, not sharing what you make and hoping it gets featured so someone will look and learn from it.

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OrngrimmM-Parks

Reply 2 months ago

People will be discouraged as their instructable gets few views and
see being front page featured as the only way to get views, surely this
defeats what instructables is about. sharing what you make, not sharing
what you make and hoping it gets featured so someone will look and learn
from it.

--> THANK YOU!

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OrigamiAirEnforcerM-Parks

Reply 2 months ago

"People will be discouraged as their instructable gets few views and
see being front page featured as the only way to get views
, surely this
defeats what instructables is about. sharing what you make, not sharing
what you make and hoping it gets featured so someone will look and learn
from it.
"

Yes, I agree.

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Downunder35m

2 months ago

Is it just me or are replies deleted or lost as well?
I leave my tabs open, hibernate the computer and when I come back after work or so then something is messed up big time.
Some topic have, lets say 6 replies when I hibernate.
I come back and find only 4 or 5.
Or I saw a certain amount of replies and the next time it is the same amount but the last reply is only a few hours old - much newer than my hibernation start.
Something is fishy here....

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russ_hensel

2 months ago

This may be bad enough to make me leave off both looking and publishing. What are you thinking?

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Downunder35mruss_hensel

Reply 2 months ago

We had quite a few good people active in the community section, most left due to the total ignorance of the support to actually listen to the users.
IMHO the quality of Instructables went downhill as well.
We get tons more than before but the majority is average at best and it seems that a lot are just copies from things you find on the web or remakes of already existing Ibles.
And I mean: Do you really need an Instructable to grow cat grass???
The standards went down the drain in all areas, old bugs are being ignored as much as feature request or just a properly working editor.
Improvements are reduced to suit someone with no connections to the users and no clue what is really required to get this site back to what it once was.
Without the flood of contests it would have been dead a long time ago.
From what I see with a lot of the latest "improvements":
The user is used to be tracked, istead of letting the user decide his activities are linked and referenced.
Working functions disappear or end up in places that no one can find with ease anymore.
Feedback for all this is limited to more or meaningless replies to what users complain about once they feel lost enough.
Basically in the way "We did it, we like, you have to adjust to it."
Ever considered that users might value their own opnions more that what is dictated to them? ;)

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OrigamiAirEnforcerruss_hensel

Reply 2 months ago

Speaking for myself, I believe the changes will greatly discourage makers.

My time to work on projects is limited. If my project ends up mostly hidden and unseen solely because it wasn't featured, then it simply isn't worth my time to bother with them.

At this point, being featured could be tremendously important to deciding whether or not a project is worth making. (As for contests--well, I think people can only imagine what this will do...)

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Guydon

2 months ago

Come on, we need the "Recent/All" ability back. That is where I find things that I would have never thought of looking at.

I use to look only under electronics since that is my number one interest. Once I figured out the way to get to RECENT-ALL, I started seeing cool ideas in cooking, workshop and others that I would have never had thought of.

PLEASE bring it back?????

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dhaykus0418Guydon

Reply 2 months ago

SO even more complication? We didn't need to do it before and it was fine!

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dhaykus0418

2 months ago

Terrible, awful, unusable, top heavy, bloated, POORLY THOUGHT OUT!

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azsolarstuff

2 months ago

Add me to the list.
Removing the Recent feed was a mistake.

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equipoisebob

2 months ago

Part of the brilliance of Instructables was the ability to easily see all the recent instrucables irrespective of the category they fell in. I made many superb serendipitous discoveries that way and it seems now that this is no longer available through the new site.

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strigoix51

2 months ago

This stinks, I checked the "Recent" on the daily [don't tell the boss but maybe more than once a day]. Now there's no easy way to see whats been updated. Not a fan of the removal of the Recent page.

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danielr460

2 months ago

I also have to agree. I always went straight to the recent.