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New Instructables Categories and Channels are Live! Answered

Our new categories and channels are now live!   Check out the previous forum topic for more information about why we made the changes, and how it will improve your experience on Instructables. 

We now have five top-level categories, each with lots of new channels.  Here's a brief rundown of the new categories:

Living has all things related to crafting, decorating, cooking, parenting, and organizing.
Play has all things related to fun and games.
Workshop is everything one might do in a workshop or shed: home improvement, woodworking, and working on cars or bikes.
Technology and Outside are very similar to the existing Outdoors and Tech channels.

Roam around the site and give the new categories and channels a test-drive. I bet the new scheme will make it easier to find neat old projects from our archives - with over 35,000 Instructables, there's bound to be something awesome you've missed!

As always, we're learning as we go and expect to do some tweaking to get our categories and channels exactly right.    One of the things you can do to help is make sure we've sorted your Instructables to the right place - check out the end of this post to learn how to recategorize your Instructables! 


Nice new look, but the google custom search is impossible to use. I don't know who you hired to do a usability test but they really messed up on this one

Yikes these changes are confusing. I have no Idea whether what I want is "Living", "Play" (couldn't every instructable be considered play?), "Outdoors", or "Workshop". It could conceivably be any of those things.

Super vague.

The "Channels" are only slightly less vague and I don't know where to find a comprehensive list of all channels.

Usability fail.

What was wrong with the old layout?

I'm really bummed about this whole new layout for Instructables... Where did the hand go? Why is there black at the bottom? To top it all, the Custom Google Search ruins everything. Sorry for being so negative, but the I'bles site I joined three years ago is slowly getting more and more hard and confusing to use...

Once again, sorry for being so negative, but I think the best way to go is with the layout from 6 months ago... I guess this new layout is best for people who are new to the site...

The five categories makes it hard to find things, and the search engine isn't very good at finding results that I want.  Five categories is way to broad, and it makes it harder to narrow things down. Sure the search engine will find things that contain keywords, but instructables users don't always put in the correct keywords, and what if I want to just browse? The previous version of instructables was perfect. Why did it get changed? Pretty much,

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Ah, but now we have TONS of very specific channels!  For example, you may be interested in the Robots channel - it's one of the many channels under Tech.   Nose around a bit.  I'm finding the channels make it a lot easier to find fun projects.

I'm glad to hear the previous version was perfect, though. ;)

Maybe if pop-down menus (like the "see more" menu on an ible) were attached to the channel titles?

exactly, all this link-clicking just to see more is annoying.

Mot only that, but the search engine doesn't give graphical results. This means we must click on each link to see if it is what we are looking for. Coupled with loading time of each page, It makes me not want to use it.

We're trying out Google's site search tool, since while our internal search had pictures it wasn't so good at returning relevant projects!  Thanks for the feedback.

Hi there,
Over in Answers there have been quite a few people who are confused by the "Google Custom Search" text in the Search box. It doesn't clearly indicate that the search is of Instructables.com only and not just a regular Google search. So people panic and assume that they can't search the site anymore and the discussion devolves from there.
I assume that the "GCS" text is contractually required to be there, but I wonder whether the Search button text could be more descriptive, or maybe the box text could say "Search Instructables with Google Custom Search", or something similar that would help folks figure out that the new search is still site-specific.
Just a thought....

Hey, Canida.  Several people have been surprised (and, I think, bummed out) by the new multi-level featuring system.  They get the usual e-mail about being awesome, and then don't see the I'ble they put so much effort into on the home page.  I think it would be beneficial to the community to put out a clear discussion of the new system, what it means and where to find featured I'bles. 

As it is (like the Google search) it seems like something "snuck in" as part of a grand conspiracy to attack the I'bles Community :-/  (Oh, sorry, is my sarcasm showing?).

I don't really like the new categories, especially the hiding everything. For example: when I click on technology, I get Apple Clocks Computers Electronics Gadgets Laptops and See More. I'd rather have them all in one list to the left (just like the good ol' days) insteaf half hidden at the top. I also get the feeling a lot of instructables are being left out. When I look at the Laptops section, I see only 2 pages. I remember with all the notebookcasing/bags and stands it was more like 100 pages


8 years ago

The over-all design is pretty good. But its completely changed! its kin of hard to navigate and find stuff you like with only 5 main categories. And like MichelMoermans said, the google search is kind of ridiculous. I would like to see it changed back. Out of 10? A four.

We may have only 5 main categories, but that enables us to go MUCH more specific for individual channels!

I agree with you that the lack of pictures is a problem with the google search, but it does return relevant results - our internal search couldn't do nearly as well.  We're testing this out, so thanks for the feedback.  In the meantime, you can opt for the old-style search - after you get the google result, you'll see an option for "Graphical search" right next to the search box.  Go to town!

Oh, ok. I guess I was kind of harsh. I just really don't like the "improvements".

Would you consider (temporarily) making that option available before doing the Goolge search?  Maybe call it "Old Search" or "Internal Search" or something?

When I saw it, I thought "Graphical Search" was a link to Google's beta version of "upload an image and find related ones."


8 years ago

 What happened to the hand? It added the personal touch, and exemplified the human ingenuity aspect of our great website! 

Huh, I expected it to be, different... I liked the old top bar size, but I can ge tused to this...

The hand and the robot had a battle to the death for rights to the spot in the header!  Robot won, as he has lasers. ;)

 Wait, the robot has lasers!? That just amplifies his coolness 3600002131024823-957 times! 


(Anticipates Uproar over Inadequacy/Ratings....)

Robot cool factor.jpg

Ummm...why isn't Chuck Norris on your diagram?

 Well Chuck Norris is only half robot, and half Neptune, and Half Jesus....

And 400% bad---

I don't like having fewer categories from the top of the page.  I liked the specificity of having more categories.  I was able to navigate to topics that interested me faster, rather than having to go to a category's page and select a sub-category from there.  Perhaps if there was a drop down menu when you moused over each category that would be a best-of-both-worlds situation.

I also wish the search results still had a picture.  And the date and URL showing up in the search results in completely unnecessary.  I think having rating, author and tags showing up would be much more helpful.

Also, from an aesthetic standpoint, I don't like the lack of yellow and orange on the new homepage.  It feels far too clean and modern, like I'm on an Apple website or something.  In fact, scratch that, it just feels plain and boring it has no style.

1) Thanks for the suggestion - we're still trying to work out the best way to display our new sub-categories.  Since we've got so many of them, doing so in an interesting/meaningful way can be a challenge!  Keep an eye out for more improvements.

2) Sorry about the lack of pictures in the google search - it's a question of working within their API.  Google provides a much better search algorithm, but I agree the pictures add much to the experience.  We're still figuring out how to deal with this.

In the meantime, you can still use the classic search!  After you've tried a google search, just hit the "graphical search" option to the right of the search bar.

3) The homepage headers are a temporary thing - we've used Photoshop from the new CS5 to make a different header image for each day this week, but will be back to a nice soothing orange on Saturday.  More info here.

Wow.  Thanks for the individual response.  I honestly wasn't expecting that.  Glad to know you guys care what your users have to say.

Read through some of the other comments.  You were clear, you were specific, and you didn't make personal attacks.  The Staff really do care about what the user community has to say (they might not always take our suggestions :-), but they also, like all of us, prefer that it be said respectfully.  Thank you!

As stated in my previous post I really like the new design of the site.

The only thing that is bothering me is the google search. You're browsing this lovely designed site and then you try searching for something and you get a text only result page which looks like it was designed by a teenager in an hour.

So I think that needs to be changed back but other then that great job :)

 I agree 100%.  The site is awesome but the squares with the titles are much more helpful in the search.  I like how they divided the categories.

Sorry about the lack of pictures in the google search - it's a question of working within their API.  Google provides a much better search algorithm, but I agree the pictures add much to the experience.  We're still figuring out how to deal with this.

In the meantime, you can still use the classic search!  After you've tried a google search, just hit the "graphical search" option to the right of the search bar.

Thank you very much.

If in the end there shouldn't be a solution I advice going back to the old grapphical search. Because although the google search does have better search results. It's not really user friendly and handy because of the lack of pictures. When you see a picture of the ible you immediatly know if that is what your looking for. Something you can't always tell by the title since some instructables have an intruiging title but not a good explenation/pictures.

But thank you anyway :)

Hey, would you all consider creating an inverse list with all of the channels first, then the catetgories, maybe sorted alphabetically?  It would help us find topics, I think.

i wish the graphical search was the main search over the google one! is i possible to change this in preferences ?

We're still working out this whole search thing, so stay tuned.  Right now we don't have a way for you to set a preference, you'll just have to choose the "graphical search" option after the google search.  Thanks for sharing your preference!

 Please return to the old search format. This one is klunky and unpleasant to use.

The last format was wonderful because of it's ease of use:

* It displayed the results graphically, side-by side.
* having the descriptions beneath the picture made it easier to absorb at a glance.

There are some specific things that I don't like about the current search:
* The default search is text only
* The list-style display is far less compact than the old grid display
* The presence of the Google logo and adverts removes the feeling of self-sufficiency and unique design.

All in all, this makes the site far less enjoyable and smooth to use. I sincerely hope that you return to the old (or at least a new, unique) version of the search function.

Sorry about the lack of pictures in the google search - it's a question of working within their API.  Google provides a much better search algorithm, but I agree the pictures add much to the experience.  We're still figuring out how best to deal with this.

In the meantime, you can still use the classic search!  After you've tried a google search, just hit the "graphical search" option to the right of the search bar.

The funny thing there is that I never actually noticed any short-fallings in the previous search algorithm. There was never a time where I found that I failed to find what I was looking for if it was on the site.

No matter what my search was, the most relevant items where invariably in the front one or two pages (depending on the volume of relevant results).

And while yes, people can still use the 'graphical search' option, it requires a multi-step process each time I visit the site. First they choose 'graphical', and then filter results to 'instructables'.

Even then, the layout display is inferior to the previous one, and the searcher is beset with google adverts.

I urge you to reconsider your choice of search engine.

P.S. It's good to see that you're quite active in engaging the community over this matter.

I like the new header, but I think it might look a little better if it were slightly taller, so there is more orange.

I like the clean new header and more prominent robot. The navigation could use some work as it's a bit disorienting at first.

Cool!  Thanks for the feedback. 
After you've had a chance to test out the navigation a bit more, let us know what you think.

 I love the new format.  Like hard love.  Very hard love.


8 years ago

Is Google custom search is here to stay? I liked the graphical search better. Is there going to be a way to set that as a default? Maybe make it a pro only feature?

You might post this as a separate Feedback request. 

However, I would note that the "graphical search" is a home-brew interface that I'bles itself wrote, and has a lot of problems (no booleans, no username search, misses a lot of known stuff, etc.).  They don't have staff to design and maintain a fully functional search system, and several of use have been advocating for Google-search as an alternative without the problems.

I don't like the Google ads, but it seems a small price to pay for results that are complete.

We're still working on this whole search thing - hopefully we'll have updates soon.  Thanks for sharing your preferences!